Saturday, March 25, 2017

Life Lately

Was fortunate to get a few hours off work to wander and hang out at my favorite monument

So it's been a minute, right? Let me tell you, a lot has happened in that minute.

It should please everyone who has had the misfortune of being around me the last 10 months, I finally got a job! Yes-sir-ee! I've packed my bags and hustled on down to D.C. to finally start my bid for greatness. Maybe not greatness...but you get the idea.

Falling into routine has been kind of a pain in the behind since I started. While I work in D.C., I certainly don't live in the city—I have to save money somehow, right? No, I actually live a nice 30-minute metro ride away. Plus the additional 20-minute walk from the station to the office. But I will spare you the complaints. Such is life for someone just starting out, I guess.

I am starting to adjust to my surroundings and am very excited about what the next year (at least) holds for me. It's so amazing to not have the stress of job hunting weighing down on me anymore. Now I get to plow forward and take advantage of the amazing opportunities and location that I have in front of me.

<3 Ashley

How's your life lately?

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Weekend The Sun Shone

The South Central Steam at Molly Pitcher Brewing Co. was too good

We are just entering the last stretch of February, and this weekend Mother Nature gave us a small preview of what spring holds for us. Seriously, ya'll...it was in the 60s ALL WEEKEND! I don't think I've ever spent so much time outside consistently.

Saturday saw me consuming some very yummy fish tacos—does anyone else eat just a little bit lighter when it's warm out?—before taking a warm jaunt through probably the largest park in the area. Lesson learned: when you're walking an extended period in 65 degree weather, shorts are acceptable; I was burning up a bit in my leggings! Sunday was even more full of exploration in Downtown Carlisle. This time around, instead of passing by the Molly Pitcher Brewing Co. (as I usually do!) we stepped inside for a glass and were pleasantly surprised by how nice the setup was. Next time, I will be sure to also order a plate of, I'm thinking, the pulled pork nachos? Yeah that sounds good!

Looking ahead, this week doesn't look so bad either. Don't get me wrong: I do love this weather since it motivates me to get out more and be active. However, it's not even the end of February. Does this seem ominous to anyone else? Does this mean we are going to get destroyed by snow and cold temps in March?

I guess time will tell!

<3 Ashley

How did you spend this gorgeous weekend?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Current View: A Snowy Scene

Current view

If you live in the northeast, you also are looking at a fresh coat of snow in your front yards. This is the first good, healthy snow that we have gotten all winter (I think?) and I have to say that I am super excited about it. It's just so pretty! If I could go out and roll around in it, I would. However, it may not be super cool for a 22-year-old woman to do so; I'm not trying to attract concerned looks from neighbors.

Growing up in PA, I have become resigned to winter being a season and snow being a reality for at least 3-4 months. Complaining about the cold and the snow just doesn't help. There are very few things I love more than opening the drapes up wide, kicking back with a big blanket on the sofa with a cup of coffee/glass of wine—whatever beverage is appropriate for the time—and watching the flakes fall. 

<3 Ashley

Do you like the snow?

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Week Links

Image via

Stumbled upon a Facebook ad for these sweet smelling candles for those homesick for their home state. Chocolate and molasses for PA...pretty accurate, I think.

This article totally speaks to the kind of person I am. I've never been nervous about spending time by myself. Sometimes I can actually get frustrated if that alone time is interrupted!

The year's top B&Bs list has been released and No. 1 is this adorable English location in Dorset.

Check out this cozy pajama set from J. Crew! I can just picture myself lounging around all day in these.

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, some of us still don't know what to do. Why not whip up a romantic meal at home? Saveur has a list of some delicious dishes to consider.

<3 Ashley

Have a great weekend!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Recipe Box: My Grilled Cheese



There are certain foods that people can get very defensive and opinionated about. One such food item I am sharing today—grilled cheese. It is the classic sidekick of soups of all varieties and itself can come in a few different forms. I read an article a few years ago asserting that buttered white bread and two slices of American cheese was the true formula resulting in the perfect cheesy sammy (excuse me while I channel my inner Rachael Ray!)

I have my own opinions on the matter. Since I have been such an active grilled cheese consumer from youth to adulthood midnight snacking, I feel I have room to speak. I am not a white bread eater and when it comes to American cheese, I have to admit that I am a hater. Sorry...you can't tell me that it is the yummiest cheese in the case.

Recently, I was lazily constructing a soup and grilled cheese lunch and through slight alterations discovered my new favorite way to eat this timeless sandwich:

- Na'an (wheat preferred)
- 2 slices of pepper jack cheese
- butter melted in the skillet

Still simple, yet different enough to be a little exciting. Note: It may be sad that right now this feels like the most daredevil move of my life. I broke some na'an into pieces sized to my desired portion and to accommodate the cheese slices. Melt butter down in the skillet; I feel weird spreading it directly on the na'an. Then proceed as normal. Enjoy!

<3 Ashley

How do you take your grilled cheese?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Making College the Best for You

I'm clearly not on the same page as everyone else!

I'm still fresh off the heels of graduating college and am still in the transition period between graduate and adult—or so I feel I am. While I am certainly very much just kicking off a wonderful, lengthy life with many years to go, college will go down as some of the best four. I will never regret the decision I made to attend a four year college despite the fact that I will be paying for it for the foreseeable future.

While the education was quite pricey, the experiences that I had outside of the classroom were priceless and made the time so much better. I was blessed with amazing people and got to fall in love with the amazing city that is Pittsburgh. Side note: peek this HarpersBazaar article listing PGH as one of the top 10 places to visit in 2017!

If I were to give some kind of advice to those just entering college (like the old wise person I am!) it would be, simply put, to go to class and also go places outside of class. In more specific terms:

Take advantage of what your school offers. Pitt was wonderful place to explore. Our student IDs could be used on public transportation throughout the Pittsburgh area. Anytime we needed or wanted to get to a different neighborhood or spend a day downtown, there was nothing keeping us from doing so. Our IDs also granted us access at most of the museums around the city. Let me tell you, it didn't suck to spend a rainy day wandering around the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History, which was right across the street from our campus.

Benefit from the free stuff on campus. I loved the plethora of free stuff that was available around campus throughout the year. On campus concerts, wellness classes and events, and alumni events were frequently on the calendar to ensure that we were never totally bored. I was also a huge fan of Pitt Arts, which provided the opportunity for students to attend film screenings and performances by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Ballet, and the Opera with discussion and food included. I may or may not have appreciated the fabulous desserts and rich conversation at the Orchestra (and the beautiful architecture at Heinz Hall!)

Stay on top of your mental and physical health. Another benefit that I was very much grateful for was the 24-hour fitness centers around campus. Each residence hall included a private gym just for those students living in that particular hall. There were all two other fitness centers in the basketball arena and in the student union if you had time to set aside to sweat between classes! Mental health is also important. "Walk away" was a frequent text from my mom late at night when I was clearly burning out from information/work overload. Warning: those moments can be frequent in college; learn to identify the stress early and learn how to best handle it. I would close my laptop and devote at least one night during the weekend totally to my friends and good times. Maybe hit up karaoke night?

Make some money. Of course you can't commit yourself to working too many hours when you're already devoting so many to your studies; however, you can definitely fit in 10-12 hours a week to make some money for groceries! I got a job my junior year when I went off the campus meal plan since we had a kitchen in our apartment-style dorm. I was able to support my appetite (an accomplishment) and start squirreling away some cash for senior year when we would be moving totally off-campus. Additional financial tip: shop for things only as you need them. You may find yourself in the store more than once a week, but if you know what you need and you stick to that list it should be no problem.

Plan ahead. Understanding how you are going to pay for your education before you get into it is important. You need to know before you get started where you are getting your money from. I familiarized myself with the repayment packages before graduated so that I could prioritize my spending. I went strictly federal on my loans—I feel like pursuing other private loans might have stressed me out a bit more. There are also many services out there, like Earnest, that give you the opportunity to refinance and rework your loans to fit a model that you are more comfortable paying off and possibly paying off faster. And that's the goal isn't it? To pay it all off as fast as possible.

<3 Ashley

What are your college survival tips? Or if you're going to be attending, what are your concerns?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Holiday Sweets

image via

The holidays are over, but there are still some aspects that linger. Example: the bags of cookies, containers of fudge, and my brother's birthday cake. I imagine that my blood sugar is so far past the roof at this point. Tell me I'm not the only one with this struggle. We all want to start the year off right and get those veggies and treadmill miles logged, but how can we do that we the temptations of the season still hanging around?

My solution? Shove it off on others. I've been harping on my family to help themselves and even offered to bring along bags of sweets to meet-ups with friends (they said no because "2017 is the year I take control") THIS IS NO TIME FOR DISCIPLINE!

I truly do not feel I can commit myself to my new year health kick until the sweets have left my fridge. Plus, half of the cookies and all of the fudge were made by me—and there is no way I am throwing out all of my hard work. I will hit the pavement running again and will certainly work on making healthy meals (with the new cookbooks I got for Christmas!) but I will still be snacking and working on getting those holiday sweets outta here!

<3 Ashley

Are you still being haunted by the ghost of Christmas sweets?