Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in Review

Around this time last year, I posted a review of 2009.

2009 was a crazy year. We got married, we bought a house, and we took an amazing honeymoon. 2010 was a little low key, but we did fit in some fun events.

Our favorite do it yourself project in 2010 was definitely our design on a dime bathroom overhaul. We posted our bathroom before pictures here. The after pictures can be found here.

We took a lot of fabulous trips in 2010. We spent a weekend on Solomons Island; a weekend in Staunton, Virginia; a weekend in Williamsburg, Virginia; a weekend in Kent, Connecticut; a week on Bethenny Beach, DE; and a glorious 9 NIGHT cruise to the caribbean- part 1 and part 2.

I fell back in love with working out. Although I frequent the gym most often, I fell in love with this work out video.

I celebrated 29 years on this earth on August 13, 2010.

I also celebrated my one year married anniversary with a lovely trip to Pittsburgh, PA.

We celebrated Thanksgiving on the beach for the first time ever.

My favorite recipe of 2010 was/is definitely Taco Soup. I made it once a week for about two months!

My fashion icon continues to be Blair Waldorf. Ha.

I read a lot of books this year. My favorite series was certainly the Hunger Games series and my favorite author of 2010 is definitely Elin Hildebrand.





I can't wait for 2011!

I wonder what 2011 will bring.

December Goals Update

So my December goals project was a success. It was so successful, that I think that I may need to develop some goals for January as well.

How do I gauge sucess?

Well, I did NOT want to go to the gym today-- but I went because my exact thought was-- I can't let my blog down. I must accomplish this goal.

Success!!!

So here's how I did in December:

Goal 1. Take zumba and/or step aerobics class 15 times this month.
I did it! I was able to to go the gym three times per week most weeks, two times on Christmas week and four times this week. All in all, it adds up to 15, one hour gym visits. Now, I usually do make it to the gym 2-3 times per week anyways, but I knew that it would be difficult in December. December is an easy month to get lazy. Here's to not gaining a pound in December!

Goal 2. Strength train at least 2x per week.
I did that too. I do all of my strength training at home in front of the TV. It's much more convenient that way.

3. Read two more novels so that I can finish my 25 books in 6 months challenge
I did it! Thankfully, I fell in love with the Hunger Games series and read four books in December. Just today I set up a GoodReads account and I've already added 28 new books to my must read list (not including the entire Sookie Stackhouse series-- question: should I read Sookie?).

Goal 4. I may not buy myself ONE piece of clothing until December 26, 2010.
I failed at this-- I bought the sweats and the forever 21 dresses. If it helps, I just sent ALL of the forever 21 stuff back but I'm SO keeping the sweats.

Goal 5. Develop a "I wish, I want to do" life list and learn how to add a page to my blog to actually post it.
It's done and it's posted as a separate page beneath my blog header. Thanks to my husband's mom, I was able to check one thing off the list already. YAY cool camera. Thanks to my friend Laurie for teaching me how to add a page (Laurie, you better not stop blogging- you are a technical expert).

Thursday, December 30, 2010

16 and Pregnant Reunion



Yes, I'm like 12 and I watch (and love) 16 and pregnant and Teen Mom. I can't wait for Teen Mom 2.

But lets be honest, even the Pioneer Woman is obsessed with 16 and Pregnant so I don't think that I'm a minority.

Anyways, Tuesdays reunion show really ticked me off.

First of all-- to the couple that can barely afford the baby they have but who continues to have sex without protection-- you are both idiots. Have you learned nothing??!!?? The government should really be able to revoke their rights to another child. I'm telling you.

Secondly-- Did you hear that the African American girl with the wanna be African American white boy just found out that they are pregnant again-- less than a year after their first-- and at 17?!? She claims that she didn't know that if you miss a depo provera shot that you can get pregnant. Seriously, their right to children should be cut off as well.

Lastly-- Dr. Drew made it a point (TWO TIMES) that it is the schools responsibility to teach children about safe sex. He asked several of the girls if they would have been pregnant if the school taught them about birth control. They both claimed that if the school had taught them about more than a condom, that they would have never become pregnant. I'm sorry but why should this be the responsibility of a school? School is where you learn math and science. You should learn about condoms and the pill and what not from your parents. Shame on you Dr. Drew.

Book Challenge

I love to read.

In June 2010, I bet myself that I could finish 25 books before the end of 2010.

Guess who met that goal!!??!!

ME ME ME.

I've posted about each book (if you want to check through the archives) but if not- I'll rate them by using the star method altogether in this one post.

***** Excellent
**** Good
*** Decent but nothing to write home about
** Eh
* Don't put yourself through the torture


June 3, 2010 Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin Rating: ***

June 15, 2010 Every Last One by Anna Quindlen Rating: ****

June 27, 2010 Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky Rating: **

July 1, 2010 But Inside I'm Screaming by Elizabeth Flock Rating: ****

July 8, 2010 Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok Rating: ***1/2

July 13, 2010 America's Cheapest Family by Steve Economedes Rating: ****

July 19, 2010 Promises to Keep by Jane Green Rating: ***

July 26, 2010 Testimony by Anita Shreve Rating: ****

August 2, 2010 Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella Rating: ****

August 8, 2010 The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf Rating: *****

August 19, 2010 WinterGirls by Laurie Halse Anderson Rating: ****

August 29, 2010 The Castaways by Elin Hildebrand Rating: *****

September 7, 2010 The One that I Want by Allison Winn Scotch Rating: ***

September 14, 2010 Uncharted Territori by Tori Spelling Rating: ***

September 30, 2010 The Skinnygirl Dish by Bethenny Frankel Rating: ***

September 30, 2010 Skinny Italian by Teresa Guidice Rating: ***

September 30, 2010 Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner Rating: ***

October 19, 2010 The Island by Elin Hildebrand Rating: *****

October 25, 2010 Still Missing by Chevy Stevens Rating: *****

November 15, 2010 Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher Rating: **

November 15, 2010 After You by Julie Buxbaum Rating: *****

December 3, 2010 The Opposite of You by Sarah Pekkanen Rating: *****

December 13, 2010 The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins Rating: *****

December 19, 2010 Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins Rating: *****

December 28, 2010 Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins Rating: *****




Okay, I'm open to new suggestions. I want to read at least 40-50 books by 2012. What should I add to my list? Dish, please!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hmm

Hmmmmmm......


Hmmm...


Hmmmmmmmmmm....

These two pictures were taken on the same day. One at 8am. One at 5pm.

I think my cats are trying to tell me something.

It sounds a little like, "Lady, turn up the damn heat."


Too bad my cats can't help pay the bills.




*yes, that is my cat chilling in a towel on the stairs. Don't ask. Okay fine, I'll tell you. My sometimes lazy husband left his towel in the kitchen so I put it on the stairs as a reminder to bring it up. Why he was half naked- in a towel- in our kitchen is beyond me.

** yes, I think Sage is giving me the stank eye in that picture. Her eyes are usually perfectly symmetrical.

What I Wore Wednesday Lame Sauce Edition

My routine is to take a picture of my outfit on my way out the door on the way to work.

Well, I'm on vacation so you're not gonna get much this week.....

Last Thursday: Shopping Trip


Blue Hoodie: Anthro or South Moon Under (mom bought it/can't remember)
Khaki Cords: Marshalls
Mocs: American Eagle


Monday



Infinity Scarf- AT Loft
Cream Cardigan- AT Loft
Khaki Cords- AT Loft
Mocs- American Eagle

Wednesday


Black Dress- Macys
Purple Cardigan- Anthropologie or South Moon Under (can't remember/another mom gift)
Black Leggings- Target
Sweater Boots- Old Navy

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Book 25



I love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love loved this series. Seriously, I'm talking pink puffy heart love.

I hate Lord of the Rings type crap so I was totally skeptical. A world called Panem- fighting- war?!? That is so not my style. However, (did I mentioned that) I loved this series.

I preferred the first two books as a whole, but I really loved the ending of Mockingjay. This last book was a bit too gory for my taste and I wasn't as enthused by all the fighting and war, but the over all story just melted my heart.

The worst part about falling in love with this series-- the fact that it's over.


Amazon.com Review

Product Description
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what's worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss's family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins's groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Shares well with Others

Ashley: I'm so excited about our new camera. We can share it! I fully intend on using it often.

John: No chance

Ashley: Yes chance. We are married. We share everything.

......................

Ashley: You can borrow my new purses.

John: No way! I don't share purses or tampons.

Ashley: But you do share cameras.

My Life List

This isn't necessarily a traditional bucket list, rather it is a list of events, accomplishments and ideas that I would like to take advantage of throughout my lifetime.

I will add to it as ideas come to me.

Items that are in BOLD are completed
Items that are in ITALICS are in progress

Enrichment/General

  • Take a cake decorating class
  • Read at least 3 work related books during a summer (0/3)
  • Hand sew and advent calendar
  • Learn how to use a DSLR camera
  • Become a wine connoisseur
  • Take a wine tasting class (completed 2/19/2011 & 3/12/2011)
  • Buy an embroidery machine
  • Learn how to monogram with my new machine and sell my wares
  • Learn how to quilt from my mom
  • Learn how to design a blog header
  • Grow and eat my own veggies
  • Teach someone to read
  • Join a women's bible study group
  • Ride in a gondola
  • Read 101 books
  • Build my own headboard from scratch
  • Reupholster a chair
  • Refinish furniture
  • Read five nonfiction books that will teach me something that I didn't know (0/5)
  • Take ballroom dancing lessons
  • Buy a fixer upper and make it my own
  • Write a story
  • Sew a quilt
  • Take a jewelry making class
  • Host and cook thanksgiving dinner
  • Complete my wedding scrapbook
  • Spend a week without TV
  • Make a bridal shower/bachelorette party scrapbook
  • Sit in the first 50 rows at a Steelers game
  • Get a massage
  • Pay it forward at a toll or restaurant
  • Live in a house with a huge front porch
  • Host a murder mystery party dinner
  • Write a letter to myself to open when I'm 40
  • Plan a wedding for a friend
  • Decorate "hard core" for Halloween
  • Own a single family house
  • Host Christmas Eve
  • Eat a vegetarian meal once a week for 3 months (3/12)
  • Acquire a DSLR camera (12/2010)
  • Start a new annual tradition
  • Help someone decorate their home
  • Own a chihuahua and a king charles cavalier spaniel
  • Become a licensed aerobics instructor
  • Coach a kid's sports time

Adventure

  • Swim with dolphins
  • Camp at Shenandoah National Park
  • Horseback ride on the beach
  • Take a zipline canopy tour
  • Take an impromptu road trip
  • Eat seafood on the beach in St. Lucia
  • Take a day trip to St. Michaels
  • Take another helicopter ride through the grand canyon
  • Ride in a sailboat
  • Watch a sunset on a sailboat
  • Hike a part of the Appalachian Trail

Money

  • Pay off all credit card debt
  • Pay off student loans
  • Buy a car with cash
  • Spend one month without buying a single piece of clothing
  • Complete Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University
  • Own my own house outright
  • Save over 5,000 dollars
  • Save over 10,000 dollars
  • Save over 15,0000 dollars

Health/Fitness

  • Do Cardio 3x per week and strength train 3x per week for 100 months (32/100)
  • Run at least 1 mile without walking or stopping
  • Run two miles without walking or stopping
  • Eat at home- every meal- for 1 month straight
  • Complete the Couch to 5K Program
  • Religiously track what I eat for one month

Travel

  • Visit St. Lucia
  • Visit Hawaii
  • Take (another) Caribbean cruise
  • Visit New Orleans with my husband
  • Take an Alaskan Cruise
  • Visit at least one country in Central America
  • Show my husband Marthas Vineyard
  • Visit Texas
  • Stay at a dude ranch
  • Go to Disney World
  • Take a Mediterranean cruise
  • Visit Greece
  • Visit Italy
  • Visit Spain
  • Take a weekend beach trip with the girls
  • Visit Las Vegas again as an adult
  • Spend a weekend exploring Savannah, Georgia
  • Spend a weekend exploring Charleston, South Carolina

Relationships


  • Make and devote one month to a "Thanks Jar" (Completed February 2011)
  • Get Pregnant (Completed February 2011)
  • Have a baby
  • Eat at the table at least 3 nights per week for a year (8/52)
  • Write three things I'm thankful for every day for one month
  • Forgive someone
  • Adopt a rescue dog (February 25, 2011)
  • Raise a dog
  • Learn not to take what others do or say personally
  • Learn to act within my sphere of influence and stop worrying about that which is not within my control
  • Learn to say No
  • Raise a daughter
  • Raise a son
  • Keep a gratitude journal or one line a day journal
  • Find one positive thing about every negative situation that I find myself in
  • Tell my husband that I love him every day
  • Take time to cuddle my kitties
  • Never go to bed angry
  • Spend at least one day a month with our parents
  • Get to know my siblings better
  • Spend a wedding anniversary at the place where we celebrated our wedding night
  • Smile at strangers

Sunday, December 26, 2010

What a Blessed Christmas

I'm currently suffering from a slight case of the post Christmas blues. You know, the ones most people get every year when the realize Christmas comes and goes in a blink of the eye. Add that to a sore throat/cold and I'm enjoying my day snuggled up on the couch.

Anyways, I had THE BEST Christmas.

We are so blessed to live within driving distance of both of our families and we had a great time celebrating. On Christmas Eve we went to my parents were we had a fabulous dinner, some drinks and played a few games with my parents and siblings. On Christmas Day, we woke up at my parent's house and had breakfast and opened some presents. As we were lounging on the couch, drinking coffee and opening gifts I looked out of their huge picture window to see snow flakes. It was the most perfect Christmas morning scene and it reminded me of just how special my life is.

At about 10:00 am we left my parent's house and drove over to my husband's parent's house for Christmas day/evening. At their house we opened presents, played with our niece and nephew, and hung out with his extended family.

We were planning on sleeping over at their house, but I wasn't feeling great and we were promised to wake up to significant snow accumulations so we drove home at about 11pm last night. Well we woke up to NO snow (I hate meteorologists) but we did get to sleep in in our own comfy bed.

On top of having a near perfect holiday, we were also spoiled by both sets of parents and siblings! Some highlights include (I'll post pictures eventually)

- a Canon Rebel fancy pants Xs camera (wahoo)
- not 1 but 2 fancy pants coach purses
- Cute little crab shaped drawer pulls from Anthropologie
- 2 sets of our wedding china (for some reason we only got 5 but registered for 12-- now we can have 7 people over for dinner)
- a Steelers Snuggie and Steelers tupperware
- a monogrammed Lands End tote bag
- 4 lbs of french vanilla Dunkin' Donuts coffee
- a fire pit
- 2 gift cards to AT Loft. Hello shopping spree

Technically the fancy pants camera is my husband's gift. But if I didn't tell his mom to buy it for him, he never would have gotten it so I'm totally borrowing it often.

We are blessed and totally spoiled.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

More Christmas Treats

Merry Merry Christmas...

I started off the baking extravaganza with Snickerdoodles (one of my favorites)



Then I moved on to these Brownie Covered Oreos.

They are super easy to make and SO so SO yummy. You need brownie mix, oreos and either melted white chocolate or some other glaze.



Make your brownies and dip in your oreos



Place your brownie battered covered oreos in a muffin tin



Bake and bit into one. They are SO good.



I poured on a bit of glaze and added some Christmas sprinkles.


I can't wait to eat them on Christmas! I only wish I made more-- 1 box of brownie mix didn't make as many as I was anticipating.

New Old Hair

New Old Hair!

I got my hair did yesterday.

This isn't that exciting as I've been using the same highlight and lowlight formula for the last three years but there is just something lovely about new old hair-- especially when I wait 2-3 months between highlights.



There are three colors in there--- we weave 2 highlights, leave out a natural chunk, followed by one lowlight and so on down the line.



Isn't it shiny and blonde and lovely?

Every time I go to the salon they try to convince me that I'm still blonde. I may still be blonde, but I'm not THIS blonde.



Those were the good old days. :)



I'll let you in on a little secret. I go to the beauty school for all of my hair needs. I started three years ago and I'll never look back. The only downfall is that all of my favorite girls always graduate too soon, but I just tell the receptionist to hook me up with the most brilliant blonde dyer in the school.

I had highlights/lowlights put in for 25 (it's usually 37 but maybe they gave me a deal because I'm a repeat customer)

I had a chemical system for 10

and my cut was 10.

You can't beat it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Treats

I've been wanting to make some Christmas Treats to bring to my husband's family Christmas Party.

Tonight, I mastered the Marshmallow pops. My husband promptly told me that no one likes marshmallows, but whatever. I enjoyed making them and I'll stuff them down his throat if I have to. =)

They are super easy, super yummy and super cute.

Stick lollipop sticks in marshmallows - I bought my sticks at Joann Fabric



Arrange your toppings (I melted milk chocolate- not pictured) such as graham cracker crumbs, crushed candy canes, and sprinkles.



Dip your marshmallows on a stick in chocolate. Pass to your hubs so he can dip them in the toppings.



Here they are sitting out to dry. I'm arrange them in a cuttle little pot if I have time (similarly to how one would arrange a cake pop). If not, people can eat them as is.

Tomorrow, we move on the chocolate covered oreos and snickerdoodles.

What I Wore Wednesday!

What I Wore Last Thursday:


It's actually a black shirt and a pair of purple cords. Someday I will start taking pictures with my real camera :)
Black Sweater- Marshalls
Purple Cords- Marshalls
Shoes- Marshalls

What I Wore Last Friday

We had a two hour delay at school! Weeeeee...
Brown Sweater- JCrew
Cords- Marshalls
Mocs- American Eagle
Scarf- NY and Co

What I Wore Last Monday

Cardigan- Target
Black Pants- Marshalls
Shoes- Marshalls

What I Wore Last Tuesday

Another purple and black outfit....
Purple Cardigan- AT Loft
Black Pants- Marshalls
Shoes- Marshalls

What I Wore Today

Summer Dress styled for the winter- Macys
Cardigan- Marshalls
Leggings- Target
Shoes- The Gap

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

HO HO HO

IMG00159-20101221-1539.jpg

THIS is what happens when your school psychologist is so over working this week.

THIS is what happens when your school psychologist is from Massachusetts-- where all the other little school psychologists have been off since Friday.

THIS is what happens when you can't pull any kids because kids don't want to have their IQs tested three days before Christmas. They don't want to have their autism checked either.



Oh and THIS is also what happens when I go on vacation.

The last two times I took a day off for vacation (October 2009 and November 2010) I came back to find my office moved into a classroom. My centrally located old office had to be turned into a padded "crisis" ahem, crazy room TWO YEARS IN A ROW. But hey, now I have a super cool chalkboard to color on.

Best Friend Forever

Little Miss Momma asked what she would need to know about me if we were to be BFFs...

Well....

I think that swedish fish, twizzlers and sour patch kids should make up their own food group

I work with children ages 3-11

My favorite color is purple

I eat red grapes obsessively when they are in season, clementines obsessively when they are in season, strawberries obsessively when they are in season and I can eat a whole watermelon in one day.

I love to bake but never do it because I shouldn't eat what I bake

I wish I could be one of those girls that accidentally forgets to eat and could eat cereal at every meal. I am not that girl.

I was a cheerleader in high school and would make music videos with my best friends

In high school I was an announcer for Varsity Girls lacrosse on panther TV. I spent more time talking about the players love of the backstreet boys, long walks on the beach, and pizza over lacrosse

I played lacrosse in high school. Clearly, I was not great since I was doing all of the announcing

I was a star field hockey player though

In high school I ripped the front end off of my Jeep and my mom and I tried to reattach it with duct tape so that dad wouldn't notice right away

I love my parents

I love group exercise classes and would pick that over a machine every time

I secretly want to be a jazzercise instructor


I sometimes wonder why I ever bought a house. Life was much easier and more affordable in my old apartment

I will often break out in song and/or dance at very inappropriate times (i.e. at work while writing reports or in line at the grocery store)

I love my hubs because he'll dance with me right in front of the tator tot aisle

I would like to eat crab at every meal

I would love to have a baby but I'm terrified that we can't afford daycare so that's out for awhile

I'd love to have a save Ashley fund (remember save Karen) to afford daycare. Ha

I wish I could pick up everything and move to Texas. Or North Carolina. Or South Carolina. Or Georgia. Just for a year or two.

I moved 14 times before the age of 20

I went to three first grades in three different states (Colorado, Connecticut and Massachusetts)

I was bullied in fifth grade and they called be debris (it was a vocabulary word)

I sometimes want to quit my job and start my own daycare


If I didn't marry my husband I would like to spend 1 month with Edward Cullen

I purchase impulsively and then regret it


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Book 24

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

How

Did

You

People

Wait

Months

Between

Books?!?!

I would have cried. Gah. I finished this book on Saturday night and started the next minutes later........



From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Every year in Panem, the dystopic nation that exists where the U.S. used to be, the Capitol holds a televised tournament in which two teen "tributes" from each of the surrounding districts fight a gruesome battle to the death. In The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, the tributes from impoverished District Twelve, thwarted the Gamemakers, forcing them to let both teens survive. In this rabidly anticipated sequel, Katniss, again the narrator, returns home to find herself more the center of attention than ever. The sinister President Snow surprises her with a visit, and Katniss’s fear when Snow meets with her alone is both palpable and justified. Catching Fire is divided into three parts: Katniss and Peeta’s mandatory Victory Tour through the districts, preparations for the 75th Annual Hunger Games, and a truncated version of the Games themselves. Slower paced than its predecessor, this sequel explores the nation of Panem: its power structure, rumors of a secret district, and a spreading rebellion, ignited by Katniss and Peeta’s subversive victory. Katniss also deepens as a character. Though initially bewildered by the attention paid to her, she comes almost to embrace her status as the rebels’ symbolic leader. Though more of the story takes place outside the arena than within, this sequel has enough action to please Hunger Games fans and leaves enough questions tantalizingly unanswered for readers to be desperate for the next installment.

Keeping Perspective

This has been a rough week.

Last Saturday (sometime around 3am) our furnace died. Our house was a toasty 49 degrees from early Saturday morning until Tuesday at 3pm (when someone could get out to fix it).

Today we woke up to hear someone pounding on our door. It was a neighbor informing us that someone bashed in our car window last night. Whoever did this randomly smashed in several cars throughout the neighborhood and we were one of the unlucky ones. The neighbor was able to catch the guy on his security video camera, but he was bundled up in a hunting cap so that doesn't really help. The only thing we know is that he started bashing in windows at 5:45 am.

Merry flippin' Christmas, right?

That being said, I have to continue to count my blessings and I have to keep things in perspective. We have heat now and the car can be fixed.

Usually, I would get pissy about these things, perhaps yell at John about them, and ruminate over how they ruined my weekend. I couldn't sleep in, we have a trash bag on on our car window, they had to break it on a Sunday morning when everyone is closed and I missed a work party. These aren't really problems.

Two of my friends have lost their fathers this week- so close to Christmas. My problems don't even compare to the pain that I'm sure that they feel. I love you girls and I'm so sorry.

Friday, December 17, 2010

How Rude

This is how my husband feels about my love for Young Adult fiction.....

Johnny said...

I just picked up the new Goosebumps book, you should totally check that out when you advance past this!! ;)

He just doesn't understand. Twilight and The Hunger Games don't even compare to Goosebumps. Back me up ladies!!!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mid Month Goals Update

Back on December 1st, I made myself some December Goals. This is how I'm doing so far...

1. Take zumba and/or step aerobics class at 3 times per week or 15 times this month.
Well, we're on day 15. So far I've accomplished this:
1. Zumba on Dec. 1st
2. Zumba on Dec. 2nd
3. Zumba on Dec. 4rd
4. Step on Dec. 6th
5. Step on Dec. 7th
6. Step on Dec. 9th
7. Step on Dec. 14th
8. Zumba on Dec. 15th
I plan on going to Step tomorrow and Zumba on Friday if nothing else comes up. I think I'm on track to make this goal.

2. Strength train at least 2x per week.
I'm definitely doing fabulously in regards to this goal. I've done strength training 7 times already this month. I don't pump iron, but I follow a strength regimen that includes one day of abs, one day of legs, and one day of arms each week. It involves a lot of ball work, squats, planks and very light weights.

3. Read two more novels so that I can finish my 25 books in 6 months challenge
Well.. either I miscounted or I missed one book during my most recent count, but it appears that I need to read 3 books by Dec. 31st. I just finished the Hunger Games and I'm halfway through Catching Fire. If you've read it you know what happens half way through..... well what happens is pissing me off, but I promised to pick it back up tonight. I have 16 days to get through a book and a half.

4. I may not buy myself ONE piece of clothing until December 26, 2010.
I accidentally failed this one. I was doing SO well. I didn't buy anything until today, day 15. I honestly forgot about my little challenge and I bought three dresses on forever21.com and three pairs of yoga pants from Walmart.com today. Crap. I lose. Does it help that the sweats were only 11 bucks and forever 21 dresses are all under 21 bucks?

5. Develop a "I wish, I want to do" life list and learn how to add a page to my blog to actually post it.
It's done, I just have to post it. I'll get on that within the next few days! Yay me!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What I Wore Wednesday!

Thursday: Work

IMG00121-20101209-0743.jpg
Gray Turtleneck Dress- Marshalls
Leggings- Target
Purple Mocs- Target


Friday: Work

IMG00122-20101210-0728.jpg
IMG00123-20101210-0728.jpg
Purple Sweater- JCrew
Jeans- The Gap
White Tank- Target
Shoes- Can't remember which ones they are (and my phone doesn't take quality pics)


Saturday- Shopping Day
IMG00128-20101211-1255.jpg
White Long Sleeve T- The Gap
Tan Cords- AT Loft
Scarf- Old Navy


Sunday- Niece's Birthday Party
IMG00133-20101212-0950.jpg
IMG00134-20101212-0951.jpg
Black T- Marshalls
Black Cardigan- Marshalls
Jeggings- Old Navy
Sweater Boots- Old Navy
Scarf- AT Loft


Monday- Oops, I forgot!

Tuesday- Work-- Different school so an outfit repeat :)
IMG00135-20101214-0728.jpg
Gray Dress- Marshalls
Leggings- Target
Sweater Boots- Old Navy


Wednesday- Work
IMG00138-20101215-0717.jpg
IMG00139-20101215-0718.jpg
Jewel Button Cardigan- AT Loft
Herringbone Pants- Target
Black Shoes- Marshalls

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hmmm

What am I doing wrong?

Google friend connect will NOT let me follow new blogs.

I will visit your blog, head to your sidebar and press follow. It used to work every time.

Now, I do that and it asks me to log into my google account. I will log in to my google account and it will bring me back to the previous page-- the one that lists do you want to follow with google, twitter, aol, yahoo etc. Google!- duh, I already said that.

This crap will continue for the next few minutes and I'm no longer able to follow any new blogs.

HELP! Has this happened to you? It's an ongoing thing now.....

Ten on Tuesday

To join in on the fun visit Roots and Rings

1. What is your favorite kind of cheese?
This is a tough question. I'm obsessed with cheese and don't have just one favorite, I would eat the following for every meal (if I could)-- Feta, Smoked Gouda, Cheddar, Cheddar Jack, Muenster, Pepper Jack, Colby Jack, and/or Mozzarella.

2. Do you prefer fudge with or without nuts?
Without. I hate most nuts.

3. How do you feel about cats?
Love, Love, Love them. Cats have such a bad reputation, but it's 95% untrue. My cats are cuddly, loving, affectionate, and easy to care for.

4. Meg Ryan or Julia Roberts?
I used to love them both. Majorly. Now I find them both a bit annoying.

5. Do you wear a watch?
Never. I used to, but now I use my cell phone.

6. What are a few of your favorite songs from the 90′s?
Anything hip hop or rap. Big Pimpin', Back that a$$ up, etc. I also enjoyed N'Sync. It was a lovely mix of tunes.

7. Do you like scented candles?
Is there a point to unscented candles?

8. What do you like on your hamburger?
Cheese, ketchup, mustard, red onion, lettuce, pickles, yum.

9. How often do you cut your fingernails?
I just bite them. oops.

10. Do you sleep in socks?
I can't do it. I must have some sort of socks-sleep-sensory problem.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Book 23

On behalf of all 20something teeny boppers, I have decided to give in to the trilogy--

I was on the fence about starting this trilogy. Why? Because I'm SO not into Sci-Fi, but my love from Twilight made me try them.

I'm glad I did- they aren't really SciFi at all.

This first book was addicting. I'm already a 1/4 of the way through the second book-- which is good considering I have about 2 weeks to finish two more books by 2011.

Yesterday, I wore my seabands so that I could read in the car. My husband lovingly looked over and asked if I was going to be late for cheerleading practice and/or if I finished my algebra homework because I was so engrossed in the book.

Whatever, I'll try to pass it on to him next. :)



From School Library Journal
In a not-too-distant future, the United States of America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war, to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year, two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss' young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining districts female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, the son of the town baker who seems to have all the fighting skills of a lump of bread dough, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives. Collins' characters are completely realistic and sympathetic as they form alliances and friendships in the face of overwhelming odds; the plot is tense, dramatic, and engrossing. This book will definitely resonate with the generation raised on reality shows like Survivor and American Gladiator. Book one of a planned trilogy.Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK

Friday, December 10, 2010

Something About Me

When I was 11 or 12 my house was robbed. With me in it.
My parents left me at home with my younger brother and sister while they ran out to the grocery store on a Saturday afternoon.
My brother, sister and I were playing on our playroom when we heard a knock at our mudroom door. I ran to the window a looked down.
I didn't recognize this man so I stayed put- hoping that he would walk away.
He continued to knock.
Then he started yelling. Anyone home? Where are you? Knocking repeatedly.
I whispered for my brother and sister to hide underneath my bed immediately.
Seconds later, I watched the man turn the door knob and walk into my house.
I ran under the bed. I must have made some noise because after a few minutes the man ran out of the house. Taking 1200 dollars worth of brand new hockey equipment with him.
To this day, I try to lock my house doors, especially when I'm in it.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Fight

Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree.
I thought my husband might divorce me.

(sung in tune, please).



I've mentioned this before-- my husband has strong opinions about random things. Real Christmas trees are one of these things. I grew up with a real Christmas tree too, but I don't get quite so riled up about them. Especially because when I was 16, my dog must have caused our tree to fall and broke all of my favorite ornaments. It seems to be easier to knock down a real tree. I am happy to have a real tree but if the fake tree is full and pretty, I think that's cool too.

{Hey, it's less mess so I'm down}

In my imagination, I think a real tree would be cooler if we didn't live in a refrigerator box sized town home with two cats and no kids. Did I mention the part about the unlevel floor? Yes, we have that too.

Anyways, John cared about the tree a lot and I didn't- so we went with the real tree again this year.

We put on our PJs, poured some wine and blasted Christmas music while we merrily decorated the tree last Thursday night. Fast forward 30 minutes and John is watching TV, I'm washing dishes and the kitties are cuddled up in our bed upstairs. The tree falls.

It was like my life stopped and everything was in slow motion-

JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHN. LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOK- I THIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINK THHHHHHHE TREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIS FAAAAAAALLIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING.

Of course all good Christmasy thoughts escape my mind and I'm all like- this would never happen with a fake tree. We fix it and John avoids me for the rest of the night.

Fast forward 12 hours. I'm leaving for work and notice that the tree looks a bit unsteady again today. I text John-

John, the tree isn't looking very steady right now.

Ashley, just rip it down and go by a fake one if you hate it that much.

Okay, I guess I'll let that subject drop.

Fast forward 8 hours.

This is what I come home to:
IMG00106-20101203-1621.jpg

Now, I'm usually not a very EMO person. I am not sure what got into me last Thursday (premenstrual perhaps), but I actually had tears come to my eyes.

I was cursing Christmas, cursing the tree and crying over my broken ornaments. I went downstairs to get the level and nicked my new jeans and ripped them. It was not my day.

I probably texted John a picture of the tree and said something like this
LOOK WHAT YOU DID TO ME!!!!!

Okay no, I kid. I didn't do that but I probably thought about doing it.

It turns out that our floor is a bit unlevel on that side of the room. It dips down a little bit for about 2 ft and then levels back out again. Lord knows how we managed to keep a tree straight and erect last year in that exact same spot (the floor was unlevel last year as well) but we did.

Maybe this year the Christmas gods are against us?

So now our tree is a little bit trailer park. I have three paperback books stuck underneath the front of the stand (to level it out) and some fishing wire hugging it and attached to the wall.

It's lasted like this for one week and I hope it can stay that way for the rest of the season.

IMG00115-20101206-2114.jpg

For the sake of our marriage of course.

:)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What I Wore Wednesday

Happy Humpday! I'm thrilled to see Wednesday evening.

Here's what I wore this week--


Last Thursday:
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IMG00096-20101202-0725.jpg
White Sweater (one of my faves)- Ann Taylor Loft
Black Pants- Marshalls
Black Flats- Marshalls


Friday- I'm allowed to dress casually, but usually don't partake. I've decide that this winter-- I will.
IMG00102-20101203-0738.jpg
Hot Pose- Priceless
White Long Sleeve T- The Gap
Jeans- The Gap
Purple Mocs- Target
Purple Scarf- Gift from my secret pal


Saturday & Sunday-- I always forget about these days. I can assure you that I spent 90% of the weekend in my pajamas.


Monday- Also known as the day I wish we had a snow day and didn't dress up
IMG00108-20101206-0803.jpg
Brown Cowl Neck Top- Lands End Canvas
Khaki Cords- Marshalls
Plaid Flats- American Eagle


Tuesday
IMG00116-20101207-0727.jpg
Houndstooth Cardigan- Target
Black Pants- Ann Taylor Loft
Red Flats- Marshalls


Wednesday- Also known as GAH, I love cashmere day
IMG00120-20101208-0724.jpg
Red Sweater- Regular Ann Taylor
Black Necklace- Ann Taylor Loft
Black Pants- Marshalls
Houndstooth Shoes- The Gap

School Psychology

Would you believe that School Psychology was listed as one of the best jobs in 2010? According to US News and World Report it is. Well imagine that. I read the article (posted in regular text) and added the real world truth below in red. It's information that I would have found helpful before I entered this career several years ago so I hope that this helps some future school psychologist somewhere out there. Plus, my mom should probably read and learn about what I actually do for a living. :)

The rundown:

The line between educational success and failure is thick: High school dropouts earn just a fraction of what students with bachelor's and advanced degrees earn. As thick as the divide is, its causes are complicated. As a school psychologist, it's your job to find the physical, psychological, social or emotional issues that prevent students' success and craft a systemic solution that generally involves the student and the student's family, caregivers, and teachers. Although you may be working with limited resources and overstretched teachers, it's your job, for example, to ensure that a student who has just lost a parent to cancer can get the support he or she needs, or that a student's drug addiction isn't ignored. Programs and solutions are monitored and reworked with the help and input of parents and teachers.

Agreed-- and I feel for the teachers. Teachers nowadays are BEYOND overstreched and completely unappreciated. I feel for them and I'm happy that I can help them in any and every way. That's not to say I'm always Polly Sunshine though. If you complain to me on the daily about how bad a kid is, I'm going to expect you to collect data and to at least try my interventions. I don't feel for teachers that complain but don't meet me halfway.

The outlook:

The Labor Department projects that the number of jobs held by clinical, counseling, and school psychologists will jump 11 percent between 2008 and 2018, creating 16,800 more positions. The growth is expected to be particularly strong in schools (as well as in hospitals and mental-health centers

among others) thanks to increased efforts to provide mental-health services to students.
Yes please. We could use the exta help. I'm stretched pretty thin with FOUR schools. Our National Association recommends 1 school psychologist per 1,000 students. I service at least 2,200 each year.

Money:
Median earnings for school psychologists were $66,040 in 2009. Annual earnings range widely, from less than $40,000 to more than $109,000. Psychologists in private practice tend to earn more.

Yeah, we can earn up to/over 109,000 but at this rate, it will take me a trillion years to do so. Our steps and raises have been frozen for the last three years due to budget cuts. I hate budget cuts. I'm actually making less than new school psychologists because I haven't been given my raise in three years, yet new school psychologists are being hired at a rate comparable to what I make now. Don't even get me started on that one......

Upward mobility:

Psychologists may head into academia or into private practice. In fact, more than a third of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists are self-employed. When you hang your own shingle, pay will be higher, and you'll be able to set your own schedule.

Over 1/3 of clinical and counseling psychologists maybe, but less than 5% of school psychologists are self-employed. I'll have to look into this though.. I tend to get a bit burnt out by June. I would love to be able to charge for my assessments someday and to make my own hours.

Activity level:

Average. You might be observing a class or meeting with a student, but your days won't call for much (physical) heavy lifting.

I totally disagree with this one. Whenever I wear heels, it's no fail that I will chase a student out the building and through the woods. Never mind all of the crisis and child protective holds we have to be trained in and are forced to use more frequently than I'd like to admit.

Stress level:
Sometimes high. You're working with a lot of variables: the students, the teachers, the parents, the school district and its budget—and when interests clash or progress stalls, your days can get stressful.

This is an understatement. I manage my stress well, but you've got to be able to disassociate. I've mastered this skill, but don't go into this job if you have an overly bleeding heart. You've got to be able to turn things off to enjoy your non work life. The budget cuts are killer and depending on where you work, the parents are the worst part of the job.

Education and preparation:

This is a career that requires intensive education. Most states require school psychologists to have earned a specialist degree in school psychology—through about three years of graduate study, including a one-year internship—or its equivalent. Some school psychologists choose to get doctorates.

I chose NOT to get a doctorate because a Masters and CAGS alone took me three years. With a doctorate, most school psychologists only earn 1,000 dollars more each year. For me, 1,000 dollars wasn't worth an additional three years of schooling. Plus, when I hear doctor, I think medical doctor, not a chick that works at a school so I would never use the title anyways.

Real advice from real people about landing a job as a school psychologist:

Before applying to graduate school, think carefully about where you want to live in the future. "If you do know where you think you want to live, try to go to graduate school there," says Kathy Cowan, communications director at the National Association of School Psychologists. Chances are that you're going to work in the area where you choose to go to graduate school because universities generally have feeder systems that funnel you into local school districts. When interviewing for jobs, Cowan says to make sure you have a detailed portfolio of all the work that you've completed during your internship. It's also important to be able to articulate how you support the mission and purpose of the schools where you're interviewing.

I don't necessarily agree with this either. I went to graduate school in Boston (Tufts University) and I moved to Maryland for my internship and I later got a job in Maryland. I do agree that you SHOULD definitely do your internship WHERE you want to work because counties and school districts often hire than interns. It worked for me and I've been here ever since.
My number one thing to think about if you are interested in a career in school psychology is to consider how comfortable you are interacting with other adults. For me, I spend more time with grown ups than I do with children- which is a common misconception related to this career. When I signed on I thought that I would spend all or at least most of my time counseling students, testing students, and hanging with students. Honestly, I spend at least 20 hours per week in meetings with parents, teachers and administrators. I spend at least 10 of these 20 hrs per week talking and presenting information to other adults, parents, teachers etc. You have to feel confident and comfortable interacting and explaining many facets of psychological assessments, behavior, disorders etc. If you work in a wealthy school (I do now), be prepared to deal with litigious parents and lawyers.

I never realized the amount of meetings that I would participate in when I signed up for this job. Thankfully, I find them enjoyable and don't mind most of the meetings. However, I know several school psychologists that have left the career because they hated the meetings.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. What do you order at Starbucks?

Gasp. I kinda hate Starbucks. Their coffee gives me a headache and it's far too strong. If I do go, I'll get a peppermine mocha latte with nonfat milk. I much prefer Dunkin Donuts.

2. Where is your favorite place to eat breakfast?

It may not be my favorite place, but I'm always eating in my car, running three minutes late for work. Ha. I generally don't go out for breakfast, because I don't love breakfast food at all. I'd prefer pizza and mac & cheese for breakfast.

3. Are you on Twitter? Why or why not?

Yes. Follow me- @AshleysAntics
I'm on it because I like to talk crap about all my favorite TV shows

4. What is your favorite Christmas movie?

Elf. Home Alone. Love Actually. The Holiday

5. Are you a good gift giver?

I'm decent-fair-good but poor.

6. Do you like your handwriting? Bonus points for posting a picture.

It looks nice 90% of the time.
IMG00117-20101207-1330.jpg
Ashley is also a total idiot because I wrote handwriting wrong NOT ONCE, but twice. I thought that it looked weird, but I was either distracted or simply going demented this morning when I wrote it. I do remember having a conversation with three adults when I wrote it so I'm hoping that it was just distraction. To think, I used to be a spelling champion in elementary school. Now I'm just an adult failure. Ha.


7. Is your signature legible? Bonus points for posting a picture.

It is very legible. Today, for the first time in over a year, I accidentally signed a meeting notice with my maiden name. Crap. You can see my first name signature on the picture above. I'm not telling the internet crazies my last name.

8. Have you ever been to New York during Christmas season?

I sure have. I've lived in NYC and I lived in Southern Connecticut so Christmas in NYC was a yearly tradition.

9. Are there any items that you are completely brand loyal?

Oil of Olay. I blame my mama.

10. Who is your favorite public speaker?

This is pathetic, but I couldn't even name any famous public speakers-- except for Bruce Jenner maybe (and I only know that from Keeping up with the Kardashians).

Ten on Tuesday is brought to you by Chelsea at Roots and Rings.

Monday, December 6, 2010

CVS

Okay... this is a pretty loser-ish post, but I just have to mention it since I just got home from CVS.

PRO: CVS gives you extra bucks and free cash when you check out.

CON: They've raised their prices a BAJILLION percent.

Basically, if you don't have a coupon offering free extra bucks, they are robbing you like mad. I always wondered how CVS can give out free money. Now I know why-- they are charging 10 dollars for the same face wash that I can get at the grocery store for 5- no lie.

The grocery store used to rob you. Now, I can get way better prices there. I actually returned the face wash too after I found it cheaper at Shoppers Warehouse. I have no shame.

I found the same shampoo at CVS for 7.99 that I found at Target for 5.50.

Screw extra bucks. They seem cool when they hand them over but half the time I lose them or they expire. Please just bring back the competitive prices -- I can't afford CVS full price anymore.

From the Radio to my Ears

This is why 29 year old girls (without children) have complexes.
 
I was driving to work today and listening to the radio.  They were talking about women who are deathly terrified of having children because they will get fat, lose their body, get sick, see a needle, embarrass themselves-- whatever. 
 
A bunch of women called in to say that they are too scared of gaining a pound and another called in and claimed that she was terrified about "letting her bowels go" on the table. 
 
Finally, one lady called in and said that her fear of needles kept her from having a child until she was SUPER old (yes, she said that).  She said she didn't have her first child until she was 32.  Since when is 32 super old? The kicker, the entire radio show gasped and agreed that 32 is old to be having your first child.
 
WTF people.  Personally, I would like to have a kid by 30ish, but I'm not going to get all judgey about what others choose to do.  Not everyone has the opportunity to have a kid by the time they are 25. 
 
Radio station fail.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Too Cute

I die.



My cats are so gosh darn cute.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

More Beach Pics

I want to go back!


On the day after thanksgiving we took the dogs for a walk and decided to do an impromptu photo shoot.

But first, you need a little back story. My family loves to harass my husband. He has strong opinions on weird things so it's easy to razz him up.

For example, my husband hates picture Christmas cards. Don't ask. I like them, but he hates them. So, my family decided to tell John that we were going to go out to the beach to take a photo shoot for our Christmas card. He was miserable, but it was hysterical to the rest of us. Seriously, you'd think his childhood dog just passed. The boy looked so dejected when he heard that he had to have his picture taken for a Christmas card. Maybe we shouldn't find his pain funny, but we did. Sorry honey, I love you.

Anyways, first-- I posed with my cousins to show him how it's done.




Then, John got his turn to pose. Amazingly, we both put on matching outfits that day (it was a total coincidence) so we were able to razz him up a bit more about how cute our outfits will look on a card.




He told me that if even one person made fun of him on Facebook for our fake photo shoot, that I would deserve payback. Lori from Kids, Canines and Chaos, you that award (see sidebar for her blog). She made fun of our matching outfits and the fact that I was sitting on a redskins towel (he's a fan, I'm a Steelers fan). I told her that it was fitting--- I wouldn't rub my ass on a Steelers towel. Obvi.






So I'm dying to know-- how do you torture your husband? Does you family play any fun games as well?


It's all in good fun though. WE love you hubs.