Monday, February 28, 2011

Feb in Feb!

For February, hopeandthedresscode and aworkingmomscloset are hosting "Fabulous in February." Every Monday in February, they ask us all to name three things that we just love about ourselves.

It's the last Fab in Feb-- which is good because I've run out of things to write about, but bad because where the hell-o-operator did February go?

1). I LOVE that I'm organized. Some people may call this anal, some may call this type-A. I call this awesome.

2). I LOVE that I'm dependable. If you ask me to do something, I'll do it. I don't make excuses and I always follow through.

3). I LOVE that I'm funny. You may not think I'm funny, but I think I'm funny & the man that lives with me thinks that I'm funny. Really, that is ALL that matters.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Big Changes!

I know, I haven't blogged in a minute, but we've had some big changes in the Ashley's Antics household.

We adopted a puppy!

Meet Polamalu

(yes, after the Steelers strong safety).

Also known as Polly, Polly Lu, Lu Lu, Polls, Pall Ball, & Polly Princess

My husband has wanted a puppy for no less than four years, but the timing was never right. The timing isn't awesome now either, but we finally decided to just do it. I'd say that at least once a month over the last 4 yrs my husband would send me pictures of puppies and beg for them.

We would occasionally email about some of the dogs and either the organizations ignored our emails and/or the dogs were long gone within minutes.

Sometime last week my husband sent me some links on facebook from an organization called Operation Paws for Homes (they serve Northern VA, Maryland and Southeastern PA). We saw this little lady and we sent an email.

She was rescued from a high kill shelter in rural North Carolina.

For the first time ever they responded and we were approved. On Thursday we met our little girl and on Friday we took her home.

She's somewhere between 9 and 12 weeks old and she's a German Shepherd/Lab Mix. I think there may be something else in there because of her little ears. Have any guesses?

She's adjusting quite well to our house so far. She hasn't had many accidents and is doing most of her business outdoors. She is our shadow though. She cries when she's out of our sight. I'm already dreading Monday morning when it's time to leave for work.

The cats are handling her better than we thought they would. They certainly aren't besties, but they aren't hiding under the bed either. They're sniffing her out and I'm hoping things get better over the course of our time together.

The first night we brought her home we woke up with her a few times because she was crying. Last night we brought her up to bed at about 11 and she slept until 6:30am- when we let her out. Then, she went back to bed with us until about 9. A vast improvement over her first night home.

So, does anyone have any dog raising tips for us? I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wedding Redo Part 4

How did you make your parents feel special before (and on) your wedding day?

Before our wedding day we tried to ask them for input and we accepted their help when it was offered. My mother in law took over the gift bags for the hotel rooms and did an awesome job. My mom handmade all of our invitations and took care of the printing and assembling. On the wedding day, we got ready with my parents in their hotel suite and my father walked me down the aisle.

What would your advice me to the family members of the bride?

Just go with it. I was surprisingly chill and honestly went with the flow better than I ever have in my entire life. I dunno why, or what caused it because I tend to be a bit type A, but it worked for me. The only thing my family had to endure was incessant phone calls. I called my mom no less than 3 times a day to ask her opinion about my decisions and I frequently emailed her pictures of things I thought were "cute" or wanted to try for ourselves. I appreciate that she never cut me off, nor did she remind me that she had other things going on in her life.

How did you balance the expectations and wants of your families with what you wanted?

Well, my mother was my coplanner- she's crafty, she's artistic, she's talented, and she's efficient so she helped me out a lot. Whenever I came up with a crazy idea, she'd shoot me down and I was okay with that (she's to the point, like me). She honestly made no demands for the entire wedding aside from hiring the DJ that she wanted and she preferred no kids at the wedding which I was totally in agreement with (aside from our flower girl of course).

I'd say more so than anyone, my darling husband was the most demanding family member. I was one of those girls that envisioned her wedding well before it took place. My dream wedding was on a beach in the fall. I'd be barefoot, the guys would wear khakis/flip flops and we'd have a bonfire and clambake with those gorgeous blue lobster pots and red checkered table clothes.

Don't get me wrong, my wedding was amazing. It was everything I never knew I wanted. It just wasn't what I had been envisioning. Because John is catholic, getting married outside of a church wasn't an option (so my dream ceremony outside was a no go). That was a family/personal demand that I just had to agree to if I wanted to marry my husband--- and of course my marriage came before any party/celebration/location. I can't remember why but for some reason the tuxes were non-negotiable too.

It turns out that my dream wedding was not only a clambake on the beach, but it was also a gorgeous, fancy pants hotel reception.

Those are my parents. Clearly they were excited! Aren't they cute?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What I Wore Wednesday, I Felt Like a Cow Edition

I dunno what came over me this week, but it was one of those weeks where I felt like ten ton Bertha. I praised god for the 3-4 people who have emailed me over the last few months asking if I've lost weight. You are all sweet angels. I know I've lost several inches, but I don't think it's noticeable in real life. I especially wasn't feeling it this week.

THURSDAY- Work, Work, Work-- this outfit is a repeat from last week. It was so comfy.

Black Utility Dress: Target ($20)
Gray Leggings: Lands End Canvas ($5)
Purple Moccasins: Target (older than dirt)

FRIDAY: Work, Work, Work. I cringe just looking at this picture. Jeans are NOT a good look for me.

Gray Polka Dot Bow Cardigan- ATLoft (old as hell)
Red Belt- Marshalls ($10)
Jeans- Gap (old as grandpa)

FRIDAY EVENING- Out, Out, Out. I felt like a moooooooooo cow in this outfit. It's not as terrible in the picture.

Gray Cowl Neck Sweater- Target ($15)
Jeggings- Old Navy ($15)
Boots- Target (hella old)
Belt- Old Navy (older than old)

SATURDAY- Girls Day Out!

Brown Cardigan- AT Loft ($25)
Jeggings- Old Navy ($15)
Boots- Target (the hella old ones)
Belt- Old Navy ($6)

SUNDAY- Dinner with John's Family- AKA part two of I'm scared to wear jeans again.

White Long Sleeve T- Gap ($15)
Jeans- Gap (older than Thanksgiving)
Red Flats- Marshalls (older than Elvis)
Scarf- Marshalls ($8)

MONDAY (holiday off) and TUESDAY (the why am I a 12 month employee that has to go in on snow days looks?)

Gray Sweatshirt- Target ($15)
Blue Yoga Pants- Walmart ($10)
Shoes- Ryka (older than lasagna)

WEDNESDAY- Work, Work, Work

Blue Sweaterdress- Marshalls ($30 maybe)
Brown Tights- AT Loft ($5)
Brown Boots- Target (the hella old ones)

If you want to see hundreds of other girls and the clothes they wore this week, check out our What I Wore Wednesday host, The Pleated Poppy.

Book 29 & 30

{I started counting how many books I could/was reading in June 2010}

From In Attitudes of Gratitude, M. J. Ryan teaches readers how to unlock the fullness of their hearts and lives through the expression of gratitude. “Gratitude helps us to return to our natural state of joyfulness,” she writes, “where we notice what’s right instead of what’s wrong. It makes us feel complete, that we have everything we need, at least in this moment.” In her introduction to this 10th anniversary edition, Ryan recounts current research that bolsters her original thinking—people who practice gratitude on a daily basis are, by and large, happier, healthier, and more effective in the world. She also shares with readers brand new, top 10 gratitude practices, which readers of the first edition and people she’s taught and counseled over the years have provided to her. The concept of this book is very simple and very profound: “Gratitude creates happiness.” It’s a fact of life (and science as it turns out). Plants create carbon dioxide and gratitude creates happiness

I love, love, loved this book. I want to send it to anyone and everyone that I know and tell them to read it. Sometimes we all need reminders to be grateful and this book made my heart sing and feel full. I highly recommend reading it if you need a reminder to stop and smell the roses (I do sometimes).

From Nothing comes between Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) and her bargains. Neither act of God nor budget crunch can shatter her dreams of wall-to-wall Prada. Every milestone in her well-shopped life (travel, long-lost sister, marriage, pregnancy) inspires new vistas to explore in the name of retail therapy. But now she faces her greatest little challenge yet: Becky’s two-year-old daughter, Minnie.While motherhood has been everything Becky dreamed it would be—Baby Dior, Little Marc Jacobs, and Dolce & Gabbana for toddlers—adorable Minnie is wreaking havoc everywhere she goes, from Harrods to her own christening. Her favorite word is “MINE!” and her penchant for Balenciaga bags, Chanel sunglasses, and online purchases has no rival under age five.Becky is at her wits end. On top of this, she and her husband Luke are still living with her parents. Thankfully it appears house buying attempt number four is a go! Until a huge financial crisis causes panic everywhere, and nobody wants to shop—not Becky’s personal shopping clientele, not her friends, nobody. And with Luke in the doldrums, it’s time for Becky to step in—with a party: A surprise birthday party for Luke (on a budget) is the perfect antidote to everyone’s woes. At first. Will Becky manage to keep the party of the year a surprise? Can she hire jugglers, fire-eaters, and acrobats at a discount? Will enlisting the help of Luke’s unflappable assistant to convince him to have another baby realize her dream of matching pom-poms? Will Minnie find a new outlet for her energetic and spirited nature (perhaps one with sixty percent markdowns)? She is, after all, a chip off the old shopping block. And everyone knows a committed shopper always finds a way.

This book was okay. It was entertaining, but I didn't whiz through it and I had no problem putting it down. I read it mostly because I've read all of the other books in this series. It's decently entertaining.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. What are your thoughts on Valentine’s Day. Do you love it? Hate it?
I like any excuse for a holiday (although I prefer when holidays=days off of work). I'm not a die hard Valentines day fan, but we usually get each other cards and make a nice dinner. I prefer random flowers on random days, but I won't turn away flowers and candy from my husband on Valentines day either.

2. What is your favorite romantic comedy?
I love many romantic comedies-- the first one that comes to mind is Sweet Home Alabama so we'll go with that. But oh, the Proposal was really good too.

3. Meg Ryan & John Mellencamp: what’s your first reaction?
Older than me.

4. All time favorite poem or quote?
Well, my all time favorite poem is a very cute, sweet and romantical poem that the hubs wrote for me for our first Valentines day together. I don't think he'd appreciate knowing that the entire world wide web knew what it said-- but the man rules at romance.

My favorite quote is: If life hands you lemons, stick them down your shirt and make your boobs look bigger.

5. What’s the longest amount of time you’ve gone without sleep? (like consecutive hours).
This is so sad but like 20 hours. Maybe? I like sleep.

6. What color ink do you prefer to use?
Blue or purple.

7. Share with us a blog that you recently found and fell in love with (and link us!)
The newest blog that I found and love is:

8. If you could be on a reality TV show which one would you choose?
Survivor, but I would probably die. If not Survivor then some show where I'd win a bajillion dollars.

9. Mountains or Beach?
Beach with mountains on the horizon. Ha.

10. With the Oscars around the corner, what’s your pick for best picture?
I don't watch award shows so I'm not even sure what movies are considered hip and cool.

Find the host of Ten on Tuesday here.

Yarn Wreath

I've seen a bunch of yarn wreaths floating around the web and I wanted to try my hand at my own.

For materials, I purchased a huge roll of yarn and a 12 inch foam wreath form.

Basically, you just tie a knot around the wreath form and start rolling.

and rolling.

and rolling.

Holy crap this took forever. It was tedious too.

After what felt like a million years, and like 5 TV shows (I couldn't do it in one sitting, I did it over the course of 2 weeks) I ended up with this.

This yarn wreath was supposed to be for my secret pal at work. My secret pal will NOT be getting this yarn wreath. If I spend hours and hours on an item I'm keeping it for myself. Sorry.

I may make a 6 inch version for my secret pal. 12 inches took far too long and looks far too cute to give away.

Now, to make the flowers, cut out 2-3 inch strips of felt. Put a small line of glue at the very edge of the strip and fold the entire thing over.

Then, on the part that does not have the glue, start cutting tiny little notches down the entire yarn strip.

Then, start rolling. You'll want to use glue to keep the flowers rolled. Score one for me. I barely burned myself this time around.

To make a giant flower, fold over and glue two strips.....

Then hot glue them together to make a huge, giant, extra long strip :)

This is what the large flowers look like. Pretty, right?

I like to make a mix of small and large flowers. At this time I also cut out some green felt to make some leaves. I just free hand this.

Next, I used straight pins to attach the leaves to my wreath form. Now, you are more than welcome to glue these babies on. I decided against it because the wreath form took a bajillion hours to complete. The push pins will allow me to switch the flowers in/out whenever I wish.

Next, I just placed my flowers in a way that was aesthetically pleasing to me. Once again, I used straight pins to attach the flowers.

Look what we have here-- I made this with a tiny bit of glue and a few 2 inch strips of felt.

Then, I just went into my ribbon stash to find a ribbon that was color coordinated and springy.

Ta DAAAAA! Isn't she beautiful?

I am sad to take down my valentines day rosette wreath, but V-day is over.

Thankfully, I think this one looks pretty cute for spring!

Let me know if you decide to try this for yourself! Although the yarn bit took forever, it was so worth it. This wreath is seriously adorable in person.

What type of wreath should I attempt next?

I wanted to make a Birthday present/Virginia Tech wreath for my sister-in-law or a wreath for my mother-in-law but the hubs doesn't think they'd like one which is fine. Not everyone is down with homemade things. Instead, I'll just make more for us. Any fun ideas?

I linked up here

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fab In February

For February, hopeandthedresscode and aworkingmomscloset are hosting "Fabulous in February." Every Monday in February, they ask us all to name three things that we just love about ourselves.

Wow, now that we're in our third week, it is hard to come up with things for Fab in Feb! Here goes nothing....

1) I love the color of my eyes. Sometimes they are blue, sometimes they are green and they always have gold flecks in them.

2) I love my smile. I love that I love to smile. I LOVE to smile at strangers. I hope I can make someones' day everyday with a simple smile.

3) I love how independent I am. I lived alone through graduate school and for a few years after and it taught me SO much about myself. I know what I like, I know what makes me happy, and I can spend an entire day with myself and still have a nice day. I know a lot of people that need (crave) to be with others all the time. I'm thankful that I am not like that. I'm happy being with me.

Wedding Redo Part 3

Where was your rehearsal dinner and who did you invite to it?

John's parents planned our rehearsal dinner, which was held at the Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington DC. They did a fabulous job. We invited our bridal party, their spouses/dates, our readers, and our immediate family members including grandparents. The dinner was immediately following our church rehearsal and was on a Friday evening.

What gifts did you purchase for your bridesmaids and how much did you spend?

Well, I love all things monogrammed- and monogrammed gifts are my personal favorite so I had to get them some monogrammed things. I got them each a monogrammed beer bottle koozie (in a pattern/font that I thought that they would like) and a small monogrammed tin to keep their wedding jewelry in. I also bought them their wedding jewelry and a champagne colored wrap to wear on the wedding day in case they were too cold. I think that I spent about $70 dollars per girl overall.

What did John get for his groomsman?

Well, boys don't need things like wraps and jewelry so their presents were a bit more fun. The guys all got a stainless steel barbecue set, a giant monogrammed beer mug and assorted hot sauces.

Did your maid of honor wear the same dress that your bridesmaids wore?

Yes-- I wasn't opposed to the girls wearing different dresses, but John was. He isn't in love with the different looks look and I didn't care enough to fight that. My sister (my maid of honor) did wear straps on her dress though to help her stand out a bit.

Did the groomsman walk down the aisle with the girls or were they waiting up front?

The groomsman were waiting up front and the girls walked down the aisle separately. For us it was all about personal choice. When we had been to our friend's weddings, we liked when the girls walked down the aisle alone so we went with that choice as well.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Life List Update

Not only did I enjoy a fantastic afternoon out with the girls-- but I'm also well on my way to checking become a wine connoisseur off of my life list.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wedding Redo Part 2

Did you know that John was planning on proposing? Did you discuss it ahead of time?

John and I did discuss our engagement and getting married prior to doing so. Basically, after we had dated for a year we were spending the night at my apartment every single night. We talked about it and thought that it may be smart to move in together because we were both paying 1000+ dollars of DC Metro rent.

However, I had lived with an ex before and I also knew how much harder it is to get out of a relationship when you live with someone. My ex and I stuck with a relationship that sucked because when you live with someone, you are in pretty deep and it's a lot harder to get out. I told John that it probably wasn't smart to move in with one another until we got engaged.

Well despite all of that, John still wanted to live with one another and didn't give up trying to move in (so I could only assume that he was planning on proposing sometime soon). He moved in in August and we got engaged in November of 2008.

As for the weekend that we got engaged-- I had an inkling that he may pop the question, but I didn't know for sure. I only thought that he may because he booked a fancy pants hotel room and planned a weekend away from home, which you can read about here. One of my friends said that she knew that he was going to propose, because he cut his hair before we went away. Ha.

How did you announce your engagement to family and friends?

Well, John asked my dad for my hand prior to that weekend so they knew that it was coming well before I did. In fact, when we returned to the room we had a congratulations card, champagne and chocolate covered strawberries waiting for us from my parents. John called his parents a few minutes after the proposal and we texted our friends shortly thereafter.

Did you tell John what kind of ring you wanted?

Well, John and I would look at rings every time we went to the mall even only 6 months into our relationship, and it wasn't because I forced him to. =) We were giddy, and happy, and I think he wanted to see what I liked. Unfortunately for John, I have a hard time making up my mind and like a lot of things.

I told him that I liked round, asscher and cushion cut diamonds and he came up with the rest. He did an AMAZING job and love the ring that he designed for me.

We picked our wedding bands together a few months prior to the wedding.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What I Wore Wednesday


If you want to see hundreds of other girls and the clothes they wore this week, check out our What I Wore Wednesday host, The Pleated Poppy.

This week I learned that I was in the mood for leggings (a lot) and that Target sold me 99% of my dresses.

Helpful Hint--- I NEVER/Rarely buy my Target dresses in the store. I almost always order several dresses from and try them on at home (I return what looks bad). My Target never has cute dresses in store so this works for me. The sales are also better online.

Last Thursday- Work, Work, Work

Black Dress- Target ($15)
Gray Cardigan- Gift from SIL/BIL
Red Belt- Marshalls ($6)
Argyle Tights- Kohls ($5)
Black Patent Flats- Lands End ($20)

FRIDAY- Work, Work, Work!

Striped Long Sleeve T- AT Loft ($20)
Jeans- Gap ($30)
Red Suede Flats- Marshalls ($25)
Wood Necklace- NY & Company (so old I can't remember)

SATURDAY- Girls Night Out! Games, Dinner and Drinks at a friend's house.

Black Dress- New from Target (my $25 dollar purchase of the month)
Gray Leggings- Lands End Canvas ($5)
Floral Flats- Target ($10)

SUNDAY- Errands and Chinese food with Hubs

Flannel Tunic- Target ($12)
Black Leggings- Walmart ($6)
Black Skinny Belt- Old Navy ($6)

MONDAY- Work, Work, Work

Black Dress- Target ($20)
Pink Cardigan- Lands End Canvas ($20)
Black Tights- AT Loft- ($5)
Black Suede Wedges - Target ($20)

TUESDAY- Work, Work, Work

Turquoise Dress- AT Loft (too old to remember)
Black Sweater- Marshalls (too old to remember)
Turquoise Necklace- Old Navy (too old to remember)
Black Leggings- Target ($10)
Black Patent Flats- Lands End ($20)

WEDNESDAY- Work, Work, Work

Purple Dress- Target ($15)
Houndstooth Cardigan- Target (too old to remember)
Leggings- Target ($10)
Gray Boots- Old Navy ($25)