Thursday, February 26, 2015

Getting Through Midterms One Cup of Joe At A Time

To be perfectly honest, it is not like I am addicted to caffeine or rely on it to get me through the midterm season. I seriously have one cup a day usually in the morning. However, on this cold, snowy day in Pittsburgh I have found myself in the lower level of the law school (a new haunt for me!) with a small latte (of the Starbucks nature, as per usual at Pitt) and all of my notes sprawled out around me. My apologies to the actual law students who typically use this space. Really I just came here to check out the guys...hey, I've heard good things. In reality I may have just found my new study spot! It is so quiet here which is perfect for weeks like this when I have paper after paper to churn out. This may be the place that gets me through the seemingly never-ending midterm grind.

<3 Ashley

Do you have a place where you get work done the most?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Once in awhile you discover a little piece of the internet that you wholly identify with and quickly find yourself hitting 'Bookmark' so that you can come back to the site ever morning. Very soon, it will become part of your ritual; a good part of your ritual. I recently discovered the website Wandeleur, which was only launched very recently (like this week!) 

Wandeleur is the brain child of Emily at Isn't That Charming (very much a part of my blogroll) and Blair at The Fox & She. This Chicago based creative lifestyle website is for those who "aspire + inspire." I have taken a turn about the site and its content. Wandeleur itself inspires me to get back to creativity--easier said than done for me and the packed schedule! The site features posts about lifestyle (think decor, travel, style, food + drink), tips + projects and interviews with creative individuals. Some of the posts that I love right now are this interview with Jenny Bernheim, tips for the perfect weekend getaway and this one about getting creative with acrylic paints.

Stop by the site, say hello and join in the conversation with fellow creatives and be sure to follow them on social media (their Instagram is gorgeous!) I will be in the neighborhood frequently!

<3 Ashley

Have you checked out Wandeleur? What is your favorite post?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sunday Brunch: Harris Grill

Yesterday, we went out to brunch for our friend's birthday. One thing I love about going out with these girls to celebrate is that we usually find some new and interesting places to dine. The Harris Grill on Ellsworth Ave was no exception. The atmosphere in the place is great; dim lighting, some odd kind of religious artwork and some crazy humor in the menu descriptions give this place its quirky-ness. The biggest draw for us to this place was the $14 brunch--basically everything is $14 and that includes coffee or tea, orange juice or a frozen mimosa (believe that the 21 year olds in the group proudly whipped out their IDs while us babies said "coffee please!") a fruit bowl and whatever entree you want. The set up around the table consisted of omelette, breakfast mac n cheese which looked heavenly, and sticky bun skillets. I was a sticky bun girl. The buns come in a personal sized cast iron skillet and are accompanied by the delicious home fries and bacon. I could not have asked for a better way to start a Sunday. The restaurant's proximity to the bus stop on this very icy day in Pittsburgh was also plus. The Harris Grill scored big in this group's opinion.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Coconut Pancakes

Two posts today?! Boy are you lucky!

OH.MY.GOD. Coconut pancakes. Let me tell will never have another pancake again (okay...maybe you will.) When my roommate's mom suggested this to us, I was a little unsure just because coconut is not my go-to flavor. I will never question her again is pretty much the lesson I have learned here. We made these cakes for our little "Gal-entine's Day" brunch Sunday morning and were blown away. I didn't even put syrup on mine (just a little cinnamon) and I was fully satisfied flavor-wise. All you do? Make your favorite pancake recipe and add a bunch of coconut shreds. Unfortunately, I cannot give you a measurement. I was told just to gradually add the coconut until I could see the shreds all throughout as I was stirring. Here's the recipe that we used from Martha Stewart:

What you need:
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 c. milk
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil

What to do:
- Mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt)
- Mix milk, butter and egg in a medium bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the mixture. Mix until everything is moistened
- Gradually add coconut shreds as you stir. Stop when you are able to see the shreds throughout (there should be a lot!)
- Heat skillet over medium
- Ladle batter onto the skillet. Let cook 1-2 minutes on each side. (I'm always a little weary about undercooking pancakes so sometimes I let them sit a bit longer)
- Enjoy! This recipe says it makes 4 servings but we got 3 (two pancakes per person) but I am sure we made them a bit bigger than Martha wanted us to...

<3 Ashley

Will you try this? What are your favorite kinds of pancakes?

Not So Social

I'm about to go old-fashioned ^^^

Welcome to Lent (those who observe it!) I may not be the most church going person in this world but I always making it a priority to observe Lent and attend mass for the Easter season. It stems from going to Catholic school growing up; we were always in church. Anyway, today is the day that the season begins and for forty days we are meant to give up something for the duration of the season. Last year, ice cream was out--a struggle even though I did not cut out all sweets. This year social media is getting the boot.

That's right. You will not be hearing a peep out of me on any social media until Easter. I'M NOT CHEATING ON SUNDAYS THIS YEAR I PROMISED MYSELF I WOULDN'T! Last night I deleted all of the apps on my phone and logged out of them on my computer; that way I will be able to catch myself on the login page. I do not get to post on these sites but also I do not want to look at them. I have discussed before how I am trying to lessen my use because it is so distracting to constantly be looking at my phone and it is such an easy way to get through a silence in conversation. NO MORE! Now I have to work through that silence. Yes...I am doing this to myself. Wish me luck!

<3 Ashley

If you observe it, what are you giving up for Lent?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Winter Skin

If there is one thing that makes the winter the absolute worst for me (besides ice on the sidewalks and erratic drivers) it is winter skin. You know winter skin, right? The itchy, bumpy, dry skin that only appears when the temp drops below 40 and there is no amount of lotion that can salvage what has been damaged. For the past month I have been living in constant discomfort. As I told my roommate the other day when she asked me why on earth I am so crabby anymore, "I'm sad and itchy. Sorry for not being chipper!"

I know that there are supposed to be ways to combat this wintery curse. Take lukewarm showers, drink plenty of water, moisturize, etc. Aside from the lukewarm showers--come's already cold outside can I really be expected to do this?--I have stuck to these rule pretty well. However, my legs are still suffering. This is what happens to me: everything is fine except for my legs, they like to be difficult.

I am counting down the days to the beginning of the spring and the beginning of my skin's healing process.

<3 Ashley

Anymore tips on how to combat winter skin? 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Stressed? Take a Step Back

The title above contains the gist of the text the my mother sent me Monday night when I told her about my workload, patience level, and extreme lack of motivation regarding the next two weeks of classes. Having a paper due today, one due tomorrow along with the delivery of two presentations and entering into the midterm period, one could say that I am nearing the end of my rope and may have a meltdown at 1 AM within the next 2-3 weeks. #college

While I complained to her about the lack wiggle room to take a break (as any small child would do) I do see her point. I knew going into an 18 credit semester was going bring me a heavy work load and multiple late nights. However, I am the kind of person who rails against the concept of all-nighters and late nights; being tucked in by midnight is ideal for me. That being said, it is probably better for my sanity and mental health to take a few breaks and organize things in a way that I get them done on time and in kind of a painless way.

You may have noticed that I have significantly cut down on my blog posting. This is due to the fact that I just cannot do it everyday anymore. God I miss those days! It is also due to the fact that I cannot for the life of me think up fun topics to write about...this one is total improvisation. Impressed? So here is the new deal: my posting schedule is now Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Hopefully come Friday I can have a fun post for you guys that does not consist of my complaints--however, don't try to tell me you don't find me a little bit funny when I am like this.

<3 Ashley

What kind of posts do you like on Sunday Brunch? What would you like to see/see more of on here?

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Grammys and Their Dancing Queen

So the Grammys happened last night, though admittedly I only watched until about 10 PM--it just didn't hold me like they typically do. I am upset that I missed Tony Bennet and Lady Gaga perform "Cheek to Cheek." From what I saw this morning it was a great performance! I did see a lot of performances  though that had me dancing and shaking my groove thang. And I wasn't the only one!

We all know by now that Taylor Swift likes to dance at music award shows. We know this not only because we see it on our screens, but also because we hear about it the next morning from online articles to our friends at work about how "Taylor Swift was at it again!" It is typically said in a way that expresses annoyance or like it is something strange that we would all like her to stop doing. Why?! She's what...24? She is young and at a music award show with some of the coolest people in the biz--and some of the not so cool. It is a way of showing support for those on-stage; they're doing a great job!

Last night the Vine taken of Pharrell watching Tay dancing and looking at her with a kind of disdain and it made me a little mad. What's the problem? She was clearly the one having more fun! Keep on dancing, Taylor! I'm dancing to. :)

<3 Ashley

Did you watch the Grammys last night? What were your favorite moments? 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Galentine's Day Movie Date

We are about one week out from Valentine's Day and it's about that time where I have to accept the fact that there is a day of the year that has pretty much capitalized on couples and I am currently not part of that group. I'm not bitter though...seriously, I'm not!

Really, there is always a way to have fun on the day of love without being in a romantic relationship. My friends and I have replaced Valentine's Day with "Galentine's Day." A day to share even more love with the gals than you do any other day of the year! My one roommate and I like to go to the campus bakery and buy each other as pastry or get one big on to share. Plus, no lady date is complete without a chick flick marathon! Here are some great go-to films:

1. Love Actually. I think it is just as much a Valentine's movie as it is a Christmas movie. Seriously, if you just forget the fact that it's set during the Christmas season it totally fits!

2. The Holiday. See the above justification.

3. Valentine's Day. I guess this is pretty much the 'Love Actually' of Valentine's Day. You know...a bunch of well known celebrities falling in love with each other in one film.

4. Titanic. I have seen this one on a bunch of 'Valentine's Movies' list, though I personally don't think I will be watching it. It's kind of a sad route to go I think. He dies WHEN HE TOTALLY DIDN'T HAVE TO! ...just saying.

5. The Notebook. #thestandard

<3 Ashley

Do you celebrate Galentine's Day? What's your go-to movie on V-Day?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Dear February,

I hope you really plan to show up this year because my expectations are already low due to the actions of your sister, January. Too much snow condensed in to one week and the overall feeling of exhaustion plagued my month (not cool!) I feel that you are off to a great start; I have started working out more--everyday so far--and have returned to my crusade to lessen the cookies in my diet.

While I sing your praises now, the month is still quite young and you have plenty of time to fail me and ultimately make me hate you. I am willing to work with you. I am positive right out the gate. I even have plans with the girls on Valentine's Day so that we are distracted from the other people who have plans on that day. Try not to ruin that either because I have really started to accept the existence of this day.

What I am saying, February, is...can we be friends?

<3 Ashley

Are you ready for February? Got any fun V-Day plans yet?