Author Archive | Ashley

1/6/17

hey there, how goes it?

It feels so strange after so long to be sitting down and trying to write. I always tend to get myself into this break from writing and then I get back and it’s like .. wait, how do i do this again? I feel so shy right now. I haven’t’ put anything up on this site in such a long time, I am not even sure what I want to become of this space to be honest. I have a lot of ideas of things to do but I haven’t moved forward with it and then I just ponder and procrastinate and blah blah blah, you know the story.

That being said, with the time that has passed, it gives me reason to re introduce myself and where I am in my life. so lets jump off right for the new year, where hopefully I will be a little more present on this here blog.

self:

i am working really hard on self love. it’s really freaking tough to get to a place where it is just a routine. schedules are constantly changing and the weather is always different and then there are my moods.. don’t even get me started on how my mood affects every single thing around me. full disclosure, i almost typed that ‘every. single. thing’ .. but ever since joe told me he thought that was obnoxious i have to refrain. i like it though, so who. the. hell. cares.

i have been eating the best i can, preparing healthy and whole food meals as often as i can (and eating like crap whenever i slack.. not good, i know).. i’ve been taking better care of my skin, constantly dealing with my hair, and attempting to detox from chemical products completely. it’s tough and i know i’ll never get all the way there … *don’t touch my windex!* .. but just starting is forward motion and i’ve learned from experience, stepping back and looking at all the products you use in your day to day life can be kind of overwhelming. and then disgusting. i recently took everything out from under the sink, and everything out from the bathroom closet (which is our utilitarian storage)(towels and sheets are stored in our bedroom closet).. i went through it all, wiped it all down, got rid of a bunch of stuff, and feel a hell of a lot better about whats under the sink.

i’ve been setting boundaries for relationships in my life, and also making sure i put time aside to be truly invested in those who are near and dear to me and recognizing when its time to let go, that in itself is a huge part of self love.

then, the most important part of my recovery, is focusing on my spirituality. i *need* to find time in my schedule to work this in on a regular daily basis, it is something i always let go, but i am no spring chicken, and i have always thought ‘what if’ for being a fit person, a healthy person, an in tune with myself person.

i really do feel better when i am active and outside and sweating, and moving, but i always get on the train and fall right the f off so quickly. so that is a huge part of spirituality for me, because when i exercise and meditate, or stretch, or do leg swings, or a plié, i automatically feel better. it’s amazing and so gratifying yet i still haven’t figured out what method ultimately works for me. hold on, i need to stretch now, my muscles are seriously aching from my thoughts on this…….

k.. i am back, and that felt amazing. what about these people that meditate at home every morning? i just can’t relax in my space, which i am working on trying to deal with, but wouldn’t it be so wonderful to have a meditation room, overflowing with plants, big embroidered cushions on the floor, incense, crystals, yes yes yes. with meditation comes faith, because i need to harness more of that throughout my life. being a Quaker, my faith is based on meditation and silence, and free thinking. on the other side of the coin lays activism, which is a facet i am very interested in applying to my everyday life. how can i use my strengths to better the environment around me, for myself now, the future me, and then my re incarnated self 😉 … and lastly, i want to talk less and do more. action action action, in real life, not online life, be with the people i love doing things we enjoy and be present in the moment. less cell phones and apple tv, more paperbacks and seashells.

work:

aaah, work. it has become such an abstract thing for me. what do i do? how do i do it? how can i get paid? how do i assert myself? when will business pick up again? where should we do this when should we do that who should we hire what do we pay them can we pay them we we pay that can we pay this when do we want to do this that that and this this and that make this do this make that yes yes more of that but less of that or maybe more i don’t know where to go go go. …. that being said, this summer was the most challenging period in my life thus far, and it was great. we had positive feedback at the store with the full menu, and gained a lot of insight into what direction we need to take this upcoming year of business to be the best version of ourselves. i created a little video to offer a glimpse into my life as a store keeper this summer, i have some regrets about the footage, i guess at times it might be too much, but it is created and it is out there and i just need to deal with it, or take it down, should i take it down? i don’t know.

there has been a little team albatross stuff going on, photo gigs, digital brainstorming, some catering gigs, lots of book keeping in the coming months, menu development, recipe testing, and lots of reconstructing the physical space of the store, which i can speak for myself and joe, we don’t really know where to begin.

oh, did i mention its cold as can be in gensto? the heat doesn’t work very well. so we need to figure that out too if we are going to be spending so much time working in there. so long story short, the store is my #1 priority work wise, we need to be in a prepared and positive place by memorial day weekend of this year, and this includes many facets across our inventory, our advertising, our menu, and our methods. so stay tuned for that. … and in the mean time if you need a photographer, a caterer, or a painter (walls or furniture), i can be your gal.

home:

our little beach house that could. i really love the ‘home’ that this space has grown into for our family. we have done a handful of big changes this past year, and have some exciting projects planned for this year. the major conflict for me, is that #1 we don’t own the house and #2 another big hurricane and everything could be underwater. i fantasize (something i need to slow down on, because it’s not getting me anywhere) about one day having my very own house. with wide creaky floor boards and big windows, spilling light, and a lawn and a shed, and a guest room that just sits there and i don’t have stuff stashed in the closet or under the bed or anything like that, because it is just the extra room. this might never happen, i know, but i am a sicko with zillow and i recently said to joe, while driving through the pine barrens, something along the lines of, “isn’t it wild to think that our house if out there, right now? with someone else living in it? and it will be our house, our first house” .. because we agree we don’t want a brand new house (nor could we afford it) .. so our address, and home, and yard, basement, shed, are chillin out there, with snow dripping down the eaves into the pile of leaves.

marriage:

it’s good. i am still learning new things about joe, and striving to be the best version of myself for our marriage. i am safe in the manner that he loves me and comforts me when i am feeling like the worst version of myself. for that, i know i am blessed and i am grateful for our relationship every single day. we make a great team. growing into the role of mother (he, the father to my mother), has brought me to a higher understanding of who i am meant to be and what kind of role i want to play in our family. it a challenging yet wonderful big ass piece of that pie of my life, and although we can make each other nutty i am a giddy little girl every time he comes home. bottom line, i just want my husband close to me and me close to him, mentally, emotionally, and physically.

mamahood:

i realized today that the phrase “pride and joy” has taken on a real, totally insanely huge meaning for me. i am honestly kind of speechless right now, trying to find the words to convey what these nearly 8 months have been. to be completely transparent, i haven’t written much anything about what motherhood has been because i have been experiencing it so constantly and intensely.

i’ve had this conversation with joe a few times, about how i really had no idea what kind of love to expect. i was afraid in the final months of my pregnancy, riddled with thoughts about what if i can’t love this baby enough or what if this baby gets on my nerves and i just want my old independent life back or what if i don’t like the baby and the baby doesn’t like me ..

these are completely legitimate things to be pondering before you meet your first child, for the first time, by the way. if anyone ever says something like “oh i never wondered those things, i knew it would be fine” — they are full of shit. or they aren’t in tune with themselves and/or they are robotic. or maybe they aren’t, i don’t know, who cares, my intent is not to judge any mothers, but whatever, that isn’t my point .. what was my point? ..

oh yeah, loving my baby. it is natural and instinctual and tiring but the most fulfilling job i’ve ever held (go back up there to work and erase everything and write in “i am a mama” .. because that is really where i feel the best right now) .. i have found such grace in taking care of him. i love making him meals and getting him dressed, taking him on walks, socializing him, listening to music, reading, driving around in the car, playing, oh boy, i miss him right now, writing this. he is gaining indepedence these past few weeks, and his feet have lost that super soft babyness and you can now see his neck when he is sitting up.. but he is still such a baby and i am not taking a single moment for granted.

friendship:

this has been a major theme for me the past .. always. so i was going to be done after ‘mamahood’, but felt like i had something to say, so here i go. as a child, i never understood why my mom had friends that she would mention or refer to, but they weren’t still her friends. it seriously perplexed me, one example is a friend of hers called Beverly. i believe she lived in Delanco, which is where my childhood best friend Sandy’s grand mother lived, so after Sandy and her family moved out of state, i’d visit her in Delanco (it’s about 20 minutes south of where i grew up, right past the ice skating rink) … so every time we would drive into Delanco, my mom would mention Beverly. i have this specific memory of the car turning this sharp turn under a bridge when i realized and possibly asked my mom what came to be of her friend. it’s one of those blurry memories of mine, where i learned something big about life .. relationships come and relationships go.

i now have a bigger understanding that this will be a facet of my life forever. that being said, it’s an ever evolving roller coaster of wit, humour, dancing, meals, sorrows, secrets, on on on on. i fucking love it and it makes me so sad. clearing this subject is making me tense, because just knowing people can be really exhausting. do you feel like that?

i was recently talking to my dad about the new social circle that comes with being a parent, being friends with your children’s friends, etcetera. he said it was all good, it comes with the territory, i’ll be fine. But I looked at him and said “i just don’t know if i want to be involved with anyone else”.

it clicked for me, saying that aloud to him, because i got to the point in my life where i was spreading myself too thin, trying to stay in touch, be grateful, be punctual, be responsive, in the moment, invested, thoughtful, etc. well you know what, i just can’t do it anymore. i am letting myself off the hook, maybe, to let a fresh breeze come in, but i have had some major awakenings and when it all comes down to it, it’s just all about family.

i am talking about the people that are your blood relatives, but also the people that are people with your people and you can support and exist together, and feel full, emotionally nourished, and inspired after being in their presence. it also boils down to getting older and your friendships having so quickly accrued so many years. it is wild to know that i have female relationships that have been around as long as i’d been around when we first met! (example: a friend i met at age fifteen years, has now been a friend for seventeen years) – it’s brilliant.

right now:

i’ve taken an afternoon to myself, to get some things done, and i am sitting here with a nearly empty glass bottle of san pellegrino, enjoyed in a cabernet glass;neat, some chocolate, fireplace crackling, dog snoring, wind whistling kind of day. some christmas decorations are still up, albiet making me a little crazy, i love the twinkly lights and the white pine draped over doorways and adorning the mantle. the fragrance has gone with the freshness, and i am nearly burned through my thymes fraiser fur candle this year, which is sad, because it’s a serious nose orgasm! i have more than half of my big jar yankee candle that joe got me, balsam fir, which is nice but it’s different nice.

this year i made us each a stocking to hang. the majority of the supplies were ordered online from purl soho, and then i went on a joanns run for some thread and fishing touch notions. joseph’s has a special button that my mom gave me, which was on her father’s Navy peacoat. the structure is wide, denim, and boyish, mine reminds me of an egyptian bootie (which needs to be finished before packing away, the ribbon is still just pinned), and joe’s is made of the softest flannel i’ve ever felt.

ah, i am feeling super inspired now to move on with the positive creative projects i have in my mind. i washed my hair and it’s pinned up to dry in the ultimate top knot, slipping toward my forehead.

well then, chippity chip, time to get on with the day! i am going to clean up and listen to the Hamilton soundtrack for the first time, because Mandy is obsessed and informed me that Jonathan Groff plays King George so … !! (it’s on Spotify)

PS – my deconstructed/DIY windex post on ourbk is still one of our biggest google hit posts

2

HEY!

So I haven’t been here since I was freaking out about having a baby. Well, I had him (we named him Joseph) and he is beautiful and my life is so full… too full? Not sure, I am definitely stuffed. I have every intention of writing my birth story and sharing some pictures of our first weeks together, but I just haven’t had a chance.. but I will get to it. I have to.

It’s June 30th and our season here starts in two days, July 2, which is also the anniversary of opening the store one year ago. I am sitting here feeling so empowered because we finished our menu this morning and it is OFF TO THE PRINTER! I have been dreaming of this moment for as long as I can remember… and now it is happening. I also just placed a massive order with our food distributor and I have a laundry list of things that need to get done, but I was somehow guided here to capture this manic and beautiful moment in time before scooping baby up and heading off to run a bunch of errands and do lord only knows what. Yesterday we got our new equipment delivered.. eee!

I wish you all could come to the store this weekend to grab breakfast or lunch, if you are reading this and you CAN come to the store, freaking come, because we need the support!

In other news, our garden is looking beyond amazing. Other than flowers this year we have raspberries, tomatoes, strawberries, thyme, sage, basil, oregano, rosemary, red onion, and swiss chard.. and of course, the ever obnoxious spearmint, that I can’t get rid of (I’ve tried) …. I’ll have to take some pictures of that to share with you. Also of the interior of our house, it looks so nice.. and the nursery, and lions and bears oh my!

Did I mention yet that my not even 7 week old baby rolled onto his side today? whoa. Okay I have to go. HI and bye!


0

41 weeks.

I realized last night that being 41 weeks pregnant is like being packed for your dream vacation, with your best friend, where you are going to see the most beautiful sights you have ever seen. Except you can’t get on a flight because your feet have been cemented into the ground, but everyone just keeps texting you and calling you and FB messaging you to see when you are going on this vacation, and you want to go so bad, but it’s not possible yet. Your travel agent has offered you to leave a few times but under conditions that you didn’t plan, things that don’t feel as safe and natural, so you have refused these offers to take off. Your refusal hasn’t gotten positive reactions from your travel agents, which scares you and puts a lot of fear in your heart. You are trying to stay calm because anxiety and fearfulness will only delay take off even more. Oh, there are so many opinions, lots of people you know have been to this place before, they have advice and scenarios that are exciting but also scary. At this moment, it’s just you and your partner waiting to fly away, and you are finally losing your patience in stand by. As beautiful as the sights are, as wonderful as the feelings will be, the thing you really want is to get on with your life. All romanticism aside, you have a lot of other things to do, you want to be home from this vacation, begin adapting to your new life, the longer this period goes on the more desperate you feel. There’s nothing you can do to change it though, there just isn’t.

———————-

So, that’s where I am right now. Still pregnant. I really can’t believe how quickly this pregnancy has transpired, yet I am here at the end of it and not being able to think of anything other than delivering this baby. I guess I will go into a little bit of detail about what has happened thus far, because you might be wondering, or be in a similar boat, or getting ready to leave on this trip yourself. One thing that has really helped me these final weeks is reading other people’s birth stories and pregnancy stories, and oh my god, message boards galore (lurker forever).

First, let me quickly summarize my perfect birth plan ~ it’s to begin having natural contractions at home, have the opportunity to labor for a while there, shower, have something to eat, get the animals settled, and relax in my own space. When contractions pick up, Joe and I head to the hospital, get checked in, and I am able to have a natural vaginal delivery. Honestly, I always pictured having a home birth with a doula, but when we got pregnant it just seemed really overwhelming to go that route and we decided to go the hospital/doctor way for financial and logistic reasons.


Now, let’s get into what my doctors are predicting is going to happen to me, because they are debbie freaking downers and really have not even listened to me when I explain myself. When I say debbie downers etc I understand that they are just giving me all the scenarios, because they have to, etc, but deep down in my heart I know this is what a woman’s body was meant to do, and I wish the modern medical world in New Jersey was a little more hip to the scene and not so into placing fear when there really doesn’t seem to be anything insanely alarming going on, I wish they would just give me a little positivity with all the hard work I’ve put in these past 9 months to keep myself and baby healthy, instead when I went over a gain of 35lbs one doctor actually said “it’s time to start eating healthy, you have gained the maximum amount of weight” … like.. what! I eat extremely healthy and have stayed fit throughout my entire pregnancy.

Anyway, 2.5 weeks ago my doctor wanted me to be induced. I refused. He sent me in for an NST and blood work, it all came back beautiful, except the baby is measuring big, so they pushed me for induction again before the baby gets any bigger. They were saying 9lbs, but the baby could very well be 8lbs. We wanted to wait, so saw them again when I was 39wks6days, again, they want to induce me, they want to do more testing (which I know is normal and that’s fine with me) — this time, the baby measured 8lbs10oz! so that was good news. But really, my issue is that when I say I don’t want to be induced they cop an attitude with me … dead pan stares, “Why?.” … and make me feel like I am making a bad decision by letting my body progress naturally.

So, I go to 40 weeks, I spend the whole week doing everything in my power to bring on labor, all those old wive tales (spicy food, bouncing on a ball, having sex, walking walking walking, yoga, meditation, pineapple, rose hip tea, red wine, evening primrose oil, staying busy, you name it, I’ve tried it). We went to the doctor yesterday and met with a different doctor who I hadn’t seen in over a month. She wants to induce, we agree that we are open to scheduling something for early next week. She takes this and runs with it and wants to schedule a C-section! like, are you kidding me? Why? Because the baby is big. Okay, well I was over 9lbs when I was born, women have big babies every single day, I am a BIG GIRL! She went on and on about infant mortality rates and this and that and this and that and this and that. It was exhausting and mentally draining. She also told me how it is very unlikely that I will go into labor naturally, that my baby will never drop because it’s so big (but also said the ultrasound weight test is very unpredictable) — how if I get induced it “probably” won’t even take for me because I’m a first time mom, and that I will need a C-section no matter what (thanks for all that positivity, doc).. meanwhile this is all while I am laying down with my pants off and my belly exposed, I finally couldn’t take it and was like “I need to sit up.” I was having a full blown panic attack.


Okay, hold up, I am kind of getting worked up right now writing this and I know that’s not good for me. I tried countering her negativity with positivity, like how my sister in law just gave birth to a 9lb3oz healthy baby (naturally) and she’s 5’1″! and how if every first time mom is late, just let me live! Almost everyone I talk to was late with their first child, so why are they straight bugging? Also, my first due date was May 9, which wouldn’t have me at 41 weeks until Monday. I just feel like they must read off a script to every patient, wanting to induce right away so then they can tuck our charts away and be done with it.

I just really wish I had a doctor on my side who would say something like, “you are healthy, this baby is healthy, you are doing everything right Ashley, just keep staying positive and the baby will come when it is ready” — I have to say, I have a wonderful support system outside of the offices that HAVE been saying these things to me, which makes all the difference. I just can’t believe how much they press for the inducing and c-sections, instead of letting a woman go into labor naturally (especially if that is their desire).


So, basically, there are two issues with my body right now (this body that currently contains two of us), #1 – I have low platelets. I’ve had them throughout my entire pregnancy. A platelet is the part of your blood that clots, so having a low count could cause bleeding (in various places) during delivery. I have gotten so much blood taken to keep an eye on the count, and we realized that just going to LabCorp and having them test it mechanically makes them very low, so I have also been to the hospital a few times for a manual count. The good news is that a pregnant woman’s body is regenerating everything so quickly, we have so much MORE blood, everything is moving quick (hi hair and nails!) ~ and this includes things like platelets. So even though there are less than recommended, they are larger and newer. Right now they are stable, and that is a good sign. If they go below 100 I wouldn’t be able to get an epidural (which I don’t desire anyway). One doctor in the hospital was telling me that if they are below 100 and there is an issue and I don’t have an epidural I will need a C-section under general anesthesia, I asked her about platelet transfusions, which are a thing, and she was like “yeah we could do that too.” — wouldn’t you rather give a laboring woman a transfusion then push her into a major operation? Am I crazy?

#2 issue – this big healthy beautiful baby inside of me. That I was made to make and am truly not worried about being able to deliver. I have these hips, they have gotten really wide in preparation, I was meant to do this. I am going to be able to do it and I am tired of them being negative. I am a huge believer in negative energy creates more negative energy. I have stayed awake at night accepting the fact that I will most likely not have my perfect birth plan pan out, I know that, believe me. But why would I give up hope at this point? What is a few more days? Baby could still be under 9lbs for all we know. It’s all going to be okay. I am a little over 1cm dilated, 50% effaced, and feeling mild contractions – for all you statistic people 🙂


The flip side is that Joe and I have been able to complete nearly every home project that we had going on. The nursery is done, the living room is done, the bathroom renovation is done, it’s crazy how we got so much done when I was having such anxiety a month ago about it not getting done before baby gets here. Now my darling little house is just sitting waiting wishing for it’s newest little occupant.

So there it is, my current situation. It’s a beautiful day down here, I’m at the store, talking to every customer about my belly, while Joe works a pet adoption festival nearby (which I won’t dare go to as I might come home with a furry baby). When he gets done we are going to do some gardening, grill up hot dogs for dinner with baked beans and mac n cheese, and watch the sun go down on the beach. It’s all going to be okay, right? I just have to stay positive and relax. Thanks for listening.

[Pictures taken by Joe on Mother’s Day. Dress made by my Mother]

2

happy sights ~



this handsome man, because i really love him now more than ever.


this ‘before’ picture of our new bedroom, because it no longer looks like this.. the uneven paint job drove me nuts for way too long.


this klondike bar (in bed) because it was paired with the most recent episode of real housewives of beverly hills.


this creepy ass picture i totally forgot i put in joe’s closet .. ha ha ha.


this dead serious most handsome mister cat.


this pineapple and pepper pizza (which joe normally vetoes) with chicken fingers and bleu cheese, because #pregnant.


this photographic evidence of a treat yo-self shopping spree, because i deserve it.


these lemons because i needed something sour.

1

Naturally Dyed Eggs

I am obviously a little late to any Easter related post. But, in my defense, we eat hard boiled eggs year round in these parts, so I excuse myself. Every year when I dye my eggs, I think … this is so easy, why don’t I dye them all the time? Just for fun? I’ve always thought it would be a cute way to get children to eat those protein packed snacks .. got a little girl who loves all things pink? Make her special pink eggs. You can make something really good for you(or them), really fun, really easily. Just a thought. Onto the project ~

I did some naturally dyed eggs with what I had in my kitchen already. So, we’re talking red cabbage and turmeric, which gave me blue and yellow eggs. We had already hard boiled a dozen white and a dozen brown eggs, so I experimented a bit to see how the color would turn, using six of each.

With the brown eggs, the cabbage ones turned a little too gray (not happening next year) and the turmeric turned them a darker version of the brown eggs they started out to be (but with a little orange tint, again, not happening next year) — You can expand your palette with beets (for pink) and spinach (green) and onion skins (purple). Needless to say, next time I plan on using all white eggs.

It’s so easy, too. Follow my instructions, please, because if you look it up you will find about 10 more steps that I really don’t think are necessary. Unless you like to make more dishes and complicate things, which I do not! Have fun .. and enjoy that egg salad! 😉

What to do:

1) put dye source into saucepan with cold water
(I chopped some cabbage* and used about 4 tbs of turmeric)
2) bring to a boil, lower, simmer for 15-20 minutes
3) use slotted spoon to remove any vegetables
4) let mixture and eggs both sit to reach room temperature (20 minutes)
5) mix 1 tablespoon white vinegar for every cup of water
6) submerse your eggs in your mixture
7) cover, put pots in fridge, let sit anywhere from 2 hours to overnight**
8) remove eggs gently with tongs, place back into egg crate, let dry completely
9) enjoy!







* I used a quarter of a head of cabbage (and cooked the rest for dinner!)
** mine sat overnight, for time reasons, which also gave me deeper colors

PS- in previous years I wrapped string around the eggs before dying to create a fun striped effect. Next time, I might rotate the eggs in the mixture half way through dying to avoid the spots on the egg where you can tell they were resting on the bottom of the pot.

PPS- with all this vinegar (between the actual hard boiling process and then the dying), these eggs peeled like a dream!

PPPS- EGG SALAD!!!!

3

Ice Cream > Excited > Anxiety

During my on-going quest to be a balanced and functioning member of society, I am trying to let go of the idea of being anxious. I know it’s more than an idea, physically, but really – it’s just an idea .. that-can-sometimes-carry-itself-away-into-the-darkest-heaviest-cloud-of-all-sorts-of-messed-up-scenarios-and-sagas, but at the end of the day, an idea. So as we get further along in the year, closer to baby being born, closer to store opening for it’s second summer season, I am trying to replace the “anxiety” with “excitement” … if I start this mission strictly with spoken word, at least it’s a start right? I have always been a firm believer in needing to be the good you want to see in this world, and setting a positive example for yourself.. although usually these peppy statements are only said to a friend while rallying around them.

I was having a bad day this week, maybe it was Wednesday .. I can’t remember(it was definitely Wednesday), and I was on the phone with one of my closest girlfriends. I was kind of hating on myself for over feeling so sluggish when there is so much to do, explaining to her that I beat myself up over and over about weeks going by when I feel like I just can’t catch up with the tasks on my lists and the work that needs to be done, and ultimately the fear that soon I will have a newborn and wish I could go back to “that one Wednesday” and really work my ass off. Because I have been there so many times, wishing I could go back and do this that and the other thing when I had more time and when I lived here or lived there or visited here or visited there.. but … I know… hindsight is 20/20. Anyway, Mandy(that gf), told me to just take it easy. To just rest. That if she was 7 months pregnant and telling me that she was feeling this exact way I would be telling her to take it easy, get under covers, and rest. That I should take my own advice. So I did. Then, I worked my ass off the next two days and it felt good and I got so much done. So there’s that.

~
Tomorrow is Easter, I’m looking forward to it. We aren’t opening the store, opting instead for a relaxed morning at home (with some yard work) and CBS Sunday Morning, followed by Easter dinner at the in-laws. Photos from Easter 2012 and 2013 are up on OURBK, made me nostalgic for all sorts of things. Our family always had such a nice time on this holiday. It has always held more significance than Christmas for me, about rebirth and being together, fresh flowers, birds, and a little bit of warmth entering the air. I will always miss my Nana on Easter and thats all I can say about that without my eyes welling up with tears, so I’ll stop.

~
I just had a nice little flurry of customers. That was nice. I love talking to new people. I’m closing up in 30 minutes to run home and deal with some things, before I head off to get my hair cut. It needs it soo bad I am ridic excited to get rid of all the dead. My hair is nearly to my waist and thicker than it’s ever been (thanks baby), but it needs some serious taming. Afterward I am picking Joe up from work and then we have a few tentative plans up in the air. Under normal circumstances I might be a curmudgeon about going home so I can sleep after the past few hectic days, but homegirl about to have some fresh hair!!! you know I need to get my groove on.

I also need to get new sunglasses because I am so over my current pair. My face is fatter rounder than it’s ever been, which make my current sunglasses make me look like a wacked out beatnik wannabe. Maybe they did gave me this look before my face got fat round, but now I can’t stand it and now that it’s getting nice out I just want to look cute in sunglasses. These ones were purchased for my wedding day (and then I lost my everyday sunglasses and have been wearing these ever since). I have a large head which has always made sunglass shopping difficult, but when you find the right pair.. it’s magic. I keep calling myself fat face and Joe hates it. But really, I can’t wait to lose this baby weight. I’m not obsessing over it but I really am already feeling super motivated to get back to an agreeable size. Okay, it’s time for me to close up.

PS- currently listening to an old mix, just had “Blurred Lines” followed by “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” and now I got “Green Garden” pumping and I am dancing and shaking my head (with a big old bun on top) like a maniac, if anyone peeks their head in here they will be quite amused.

PPS- Why did I spend 10 minutes looking at Yelp photos of Halo Pub’s ice cream? This is a place I worked for years in my late teens, and now I’d do weird things for a cone of chocolate and cherries.


mentioned glasses and healthy hair on my wedding day | a little baby hyacinth in my front garden | wall next to my desk, artwork by my brother (and Charles Schulz)

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Monday, Monday

Joe and I recently went record shopping. We got a very generous and unique wedding gift, a large amount of gift card cash to a local music shoppe. We have gone twice, both times just getting whatever we wanted, and we still have money left over for a third visit. This past time, we got some vinyl (and then our record player decided to stop working with our receiver but haven’t been able to listen to them, fail), and also some used CDs. One of them was The Mamas & The Papas, and since listening to it I have had “Monday, Monday” stuck in my head on and off. Today also happens to be Monday, which is why I thought that little bit of info was necessary.. and to possibly get the song stuck in your head too!

I am hanging on my bed, watching Season 5 of Girls on Joe’s laptop, and writing this blog on mine. I let Stinky(dog) up on the bed too, even though Joe and I decided to not let him up on the bed anymore. Oops. I napped earlier and I didn’t let him up on the bed, and I was even thinking how much I’d love to have him up here with me and how strong I was being by keeping him locked in his box while I took a nap. Then I woke up from my nap (which to be fair I only lapsed into passed outness for about 5 minutes while watching “Pitch Perfect 2”, which kept waking me up since they bust into song every 5 minutes) — anyway, then I got up and I got some water and came back to bed to write this here blog, and he started crying, so I went and got him, and he is in all his precious glory up on the bed. Hopefully I didn’t just re-open the gates of hell letting him up here, because we have had two quasi peaceful nights with him sleeping through in his box (which never used to happen as he cried through the night to be in bed with me). To fill you in, he has been with my dad for two months as we weren’t getting sleep and he was being out of control with neediness so we needed to reset the situation (plus my dad loves him and he loves my dad) … but now, he is back in the bed and I might have just ruined everything we all worked so hard for.

I have been feeling extra tired and sick feeling today. I had awful back pains all night, I think from over compensating the curve in my lower back to hold up my belly and boobs. I showered this morning and shortly after had super numbness on my belly, which makes me think baby is doing a lot of growing today. Just the stretching numbness paired with the crappy tired feeling. I was going to go to yoga but decided against it and now I feel like I just watched this day pass.. but I know that is okay.

We are going to the in-laws tonight to watch the new Nora Ephron documentary on HBO. It’s funny because we have gone there for a few basketball games, the Super Bowl, and now I request to go there to watch a Nora Ephron documentary. He he he. I am really excited. Joe said his dad is making fajitas, so I am also really excited about that.

Back to the teaching old animals new tricks, we have been letting Pippen(cat) outside for the past year, and he has become a pain in the ass! He loves to be outside all night but also likes to come in when he wants to, and will cry and claw at the window and if he is not getting his ways, knocks things over, jumps on my night stand, hits the blinds, or scratches the furniture, or our favorite, goes over to Stinky’s box and wakes him up.

I really do love my baby animals, and I think they have prepared me for all the craziness that lays ahead with baby. Joe will be home from work soon, so I think I am going to lay back down and cuddle under the covers with my pup. xxoo Ash

PS- Joe just texted me about how he is “Gonna drop all those clothes off finally” and it just put me into an extreme sense of panic because we filled about 10 black garbage bags of clothes to donate but I have a seriously hard time getting rid of things.. like.. clothes, and now they are really going and I was not prepared but it is happening and I can’t stop it. Pray for me.

PPS- Jessa and Adam?? O.O


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a spring bouquet I put together | example of Pip’s brattiness |
my current obsession | my current scene

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Err

I haven’t written anything in a long time.

In the beginning of the year I was feeling so inspired and ready to hit the pavement running, then I got overwhelmed, clammed up, and stopped creating. Not completely. I have a few home projects going on, and I have been knitting, cooking, and practicing yoga 3-4x a week.. but I’m not keeping any of the resolutions I was, well, resolute in keeping. Blah blah blah. I don’t even feel like writing right now, the only reason I am here is to try and get back into the swing, to feel good about it, but I am just being a negative ninny and I don’t like that about myself.

I’ve been at the store by myself today and just had my first customer (it’s 2:10pm, she bought a bag of pretzels) .. I had dreams last night it was summer, that we had a line out the door, and it was the best feeling. Joe has a full time job outside of the store now, which keeps us afloat, but also leaves me alone a lot to stress out and become paralyzed about getting things done in time for summer/before baby. I want to clarify, I don’t resent him for this. I am thankful for him for providing for our family. I am just lonely and I feel stranded. Living at the beach in the middle of winter with an overflowing plate of things you can’t control while a baby grows rapidly in your belly is an intense and powerful test of human will. I’ll give myself a little bit of credit there.

An old blog of ours automatically renewed recently, which we couldn’t really afford, but didn’t want to let go (although honestly I kind of wanted to just let it go but Joe was positive that we worked too hard on it to let it disappear), I still access it on a regular basis (and google hits are still high, although we never update), and I have been beating myself up over how much I used to love blogging vs. now. It used to be a knee jerk reaction, something interesting happens to me, I take pictures, I blog about it. I hear of something new and exciting, I write about it. Now, I still build up data, or do and see interesting things, but I have lost that desire to share. In a world of over sharing, I have stepped away. But honestly, I haven’t. I do a lot of social media, and micro blogging, instagram, snapchat, facebook. But that shit is fleeting, unorganized, easy, cheap ..

::::long exhausted sigh::::

Who else is feeling overwhelmingly underwhelmed? What the hell do I even expect? Why can’t I just get on here and edit and upload pictures of a beautiful cherry pie and call it a f’ing day? I still try to read blogs every week. Women who are organized and inspired and doing beautiful things — which makes me depressed. I do pinterest and tumblr on the weekends, which gets me inspired, but then I don’t get back on there all week. Why am I even talking about this right now? Right? Like, who the hell cares how you social media, Ashley? It’s a sickness.. it really is.

I could go into how much I really have been enjoying meditation and yoga. Hell, I could even blog about that if I wanted to! What a concept. I could bake a pie and take pictures and upload it (but my kitchen has awful lighting) — maybe I could upload the pictures I’ve taken of before and afters of home projects, and talk about how I have been listening to a wonderful audio book as I do my chores. I could take week by week photos of my growing bump and post them on here, or share some progress of the baby things I’ve been knitting. I could write 2k words on how I have researched every stroller and carseat out there.. or spent way too much time creating my baby registry and still stress about it but don’t want to look at it because I don’t want my surprises to be ruined.

But, do you know what really has killed my vibe?? My broke ass iPhone. I use that more than I use a computer, and get burnt out from it, and then I don’t use my computer. It doesn’t help that my big computer has been at the store all winter so I don’t use it during the week, which is where I really get down on editing and blogging and whatnot. Here I go again, talking about technology usage. My husband, Joe, still uses a flip phone. He isn’t distracted by all this bullshit like I am. He doesn’t get pictures and texts and snapchats from people constantly. He is so detached, and I am so jealous. He will check his computer at the end of the night, and that is really it. I want to start doing what he does. Blah blah blah.

Writing this has given me such anxiety. I need warm weather and sunshine and for my garden to start growing again. I need to finish all the house projects and get the nursery ready for the baby, and I will try to resolute to document and share on this here blog. Because blogging, as much as it is a conversation with other people, is a conversation with yourself, and that’s what I need to get back into. I just chugged an entire glass of water and it felt amazing. That is another thing I have been doing, drinking a lot of water. I’ve also been making the bed and eating a lot of oranges. Also, cottage cheese and home made apple sauce, the entire series of Gilmore Girls (by myself) and Parks and Recreation (with Joe).

photo from my 366 in 2016, which I gave up on. Should I restart?

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Hungry for everything ~

I have reoccurring dreams(nightmares) about being in the basement of my childhood home. Some times people from my current circle are there, and I am showing them something or hiding something from them. The same furniture is there, the drawings on the wall, the musty smell, the scary piles of things from my parents life before I was a part of it, it was a really scary and imaginative basement, and I think about it sometimes but dream about it often. I also dream about Taylor Hanson often. Last night I was near the basement with Taylor Hanson (in a dream).

I wish I was back in California sometimes, so far from where I am now, but still near the water. The water there was different than the water here, it was cold and silkier and full of seaweed. I wish I was having a steak dinner tonight with a baked potato wrapped in gold foil, ordering a bottle of champagne for the table, filled with old friends and new friends.

It’s gotten to the point in New Jersey where the air is so cold it’s making my forehead skin feel like it’s going to tear in half. I have taken to rose hip oil to moisturize, we will see if it helps. I don’t mind the winter as much as I hate dry skin. I read it’s bad for oily/acne prone skin, but I really don’t even know my skin type. It’s skin type Ashley, sometimes this sometimes that.

Joe just made coffee and I asked for a cup, but he used this Stop&Shop tin and it’s so nutty and nasty that I can’t even deal. I am getting hungry now. I wasn’t hungry a few minutes ago but it can happen so quickly. It’s a whole new kind of hunger, it’s a I NEED TO EAT RIGHT NOW OR I MIGHT DIE kind of hunger.

Stinky won’t leave me alone, he wants on my lap, but the laptop is on my lap, and there is no room. So he sits at my feet and whimpers. He stopped now so I should stop talking about it so I don’t jinx it.

I need to clean up the debris of random Christmas gifts that is on the coffee table and around the tree. I have been putting it off for days, once it’s done it will be such a huge sense of relief. So many travel sized lotions, I don’t use them and I don’t want them.

I am day 5 into my 366 project. So far so good. I can’t wait to be a month in. I need to get a little more creative with my shots, which will happen in time, but that also means going outside or getting ready and looking the part. Oh well. I don’t really care that much anyway.

There are so many open projects in my life right now I don’t know what to really dedicate myself to next, I want to go hard and full hearted into something, but I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to share it with people around me because then I end up talking to them more then doing what I want to do and then when they let me down I am disappointed. My success is only up to me, and I need to make the right choices for myself and my family. I can’t believe in 4 months I will either be a mother or be approaching my due date so rapidly. The measurements from our last ultrasound put us at May 3, but we are keeping May 7. The baby will come when it comes. That’s my biggest open project, huh?

I am so hungry right now. Time to eat.
I still haven’t tried Oreo Thins, wtf is up with that?


Pink dress and a cat, Madonna Inn, California
After a dinner with a baked potato with gold foil

2

Rotten grapes

About, say, two weeks ago, I bought grapes. We stopped real quick at a Shop Rite (that Joe hates going to but I like), and got some healthy food for me to eat over the weekend when Joe was going away for work. I have always loved grapes, one of my favorite snacks. As a grown up I feel like the prices of grapes just keep getting higher and higher (which makes me sad), so I don’t buy then very often. When I see them on sale, it’s a big deal.

So I saw these grapes, and I wanted them so bad. I picked my favorite bunch, bagged them, and on we went. I snacked on the grapes throughout our shopping trip (I’ve always done this, have you?), and even introduced Joe to the sport. Oh, I forgot, they were $4.99/lb, so I even weighed them before I put them in my shopping cart. I thought to myself, okay, these are going to be expensive, but maybe I can eat half a pound before we leave the store and pay less (poor person rationing).

So I ate about 10 grapes, I had Joe eat some too, I even stopped our cart leaving the frozen food aisle and mumbled under my breath, “eat some grapes so we don’t have to pay as much” – wow, I am actually admitting to my dirty ways. I was (and still am) clearly obsessing over these grapes. I’ll add too, that when at the deli counter, we got organic turkey breast for me, but Joe ordered, and I quote, “a half pound of the cheapest bologna you got.” ..SO there’s that ($1.40).

Somehow our quick little “essentials” shopping trip turned into a $70 bill, which bummed me out. I had just spent $60 I didn’t have at Barnes & Noble on some Christmas gifts, so I was feeling a little boo hoo. On the way out, I grabbed the receipt and looked for the price of the grapes, we spent a little over $8.. $8.23 to be exact. Damn, well, let it be worth it, right? They were big, plump, explode in your mouth, seedless grapes.

So to the moral of my story, these grapes sat in our crisper drawer over the weekend Joe was away. They sat there the the next week too, and one day Joe says to me “you know you have these grapes in here” — I said “oh yeah, I know.” — Why was I saving the grapes? Why wasn’t I eating the grapes? Why do I do this with produce that is going to rot? I save it? Like an idiot, until it’s no longer edible. I do this shit all the time. It is almost too special for me to eat, and then I end up losing the whole game.

So after Christmas I said to Joe, while at the fridge, “hey, can you wash those grapes?” — I was worried it might be game over, but feeling kind of hopeful (since they weren’t organic) that some kind of chemical something might have kept them edible. He washed them, brought them over to me, and needless to say, they were sad and pathetic. Nothing like the shining must have grapes I met two weeks ago, and paid $8.00 for.

So here is the moral of my story, in this bright and shiny New Year of 2016, I won’t take my fresh produce for granted. I won’t save things that are good for me for another time, when I might need or deserve it more, RIGHT NOW. I will eat those fresh grapes when I want them, when they are fresh and delicious. I will carpe diem the mother fucking shit out of those grapes, because I DESERVE IT. It’s so sad to see something that was once so beautiful so shriveled up and rotten. SAD SAD SAD.

Currently, they are sitting on our kitchen table, decaying. Joe set up a little spread yesterday when we were watching LOTR, he included the bowl of grapes. I ate around it, oh did I, chips, pretzels, cookies.. I literally took my finger to a bowl of dip and licked it clean. I didn’t touch the grapes. They were over. Poor little things, screaming at me, “how could you??” — they could have made it into a boxed lunch, or be served with a plate of cheese, or frozen and dropped into a cup of white wine for a Christmas Eve celebration. I failed us all. It makes me sad for the grapes, but mostly sad for me.

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