Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Road Trip!!

What a week! I must share!...

After the stress of our housewarming party was over, I just wanted a break. We had been working on the house pretty much since we had gone to settlement (almost 2 months). I knew we had a long weekend ahead, but sitting at home wasn't going to work for me. So I told Prashad we should go to the beach for the day on Saturday, and just get away. Nothing fancy, just a break. He was down for the idea, and when I mentioned OC or Rehoboth Beach, he said they were all "too cold." Well being only a 3 day weekend, and not having tons of money to jet set, I wasn't sure what else we could do. He told me Thursday that we were leaving Saturday morning at 2AM, and to have clothes packed for warm weather, a bathing suit and a beach towel. Nothing else. No hints, no help packing, just to be ready...

So not asking too many questions, I packed my bags, had Ernie pick up Lia, and was up and ready at 2AM [with coffee of course!]. We got in the car and drove, and kept driving, and then we drove a little more. Almost 8 hours into the trip I was told we were going South of Savannah, GA. [ok, that should be warm…] We got to Savannah, and I was actually pretty excited to see a GA beach, since I had never ready stayed anywhere in GA before. We got to the exit he suggested we were taking, and never got off 95. I looked at him, dumb-founded, and he said “We’re headed to Miami.”
 

15 hours later we checked into the Royal Palm (GORGEOUS hotel in South Beach), and had an awesome night at dinner and the bars. (many bars..) Sunday we had a beach day, since I looked almost glow in the dark from the terrible Maryland cold weather, and deprived of sunshine! Prashad told me we were going to brunch at Nikki Beach, but we didn’t make it there ‘til almost 4pm. [sun bathing was just more important…]


 After a great dinner [brunch] he took me down to the ocean to just go for a “last night in Miami stroll” since it was still 82 degrees at 6:30pm. [simply amazing] He seemed kind of nervous and jittery, but I really didn’t think anything of it. He wanted to take pictures, put his feet in the ocean, “breathe in the fresh air.” [I was being a pain in the butt though because I knew our parking meter was running low.]

Then before I knew it he was on his knee, not sure what he said because his words were muffled by my heart beat. [It was happening! OMG!!] I asked him a few times if it was real, and to pinch me. [I think I said “Yes!”… I’m sure I did…] Now by this time it’s dark so I need to see the ring by the lights in the sand dunes. I couldn’t stop smiling (I still can’t)!! The rest of the Miami trip was fun, but who cared about anything else at that point! I had the man of my dreams, and the most beautiful ring on my finger. Life’s good!!! :)

~Ashleigh XoXo

Friday, February 17, 2012

13 Weeks Until Bikini Season

HAPPY FRIDAY!!! Some of you may be ever so fortunate to live in bikini weather all year long. I, on the other hand, am not as lucky, which means there’s this time of year [NOW] where I start freaking out, because shorts and swim suit season is quickly approaching. It looks as though we have 13 weeks until Bikini Season is upon us, and thanks to a dear relative, I have borrowed their treadmill, and am starting to WORK.

30 minutes a day daily exercise is expected of us, but let’s be honest with ourselves (because ultimately WE are the only ones it’s affecting)… Who truly gets that in? So in order to be more practical, I am dedicating 15 minutes a day, twice a day, to this machine that forces we to MOVE. 15 minutes twice a day is hardly anything. Most of us hit SNOOZE on our alarm clocks, and loose those 15 minutes daily anyways… but 2 miles every day sounds good, really good. It’s SO possible; we just have to FORCE ourselves to do it. Walk in front of the TV, do lunges across your living room, SOMETHING/ ANYTHING! Just get GOING. In a little over 3 months you are going to want to look super cute at that Memorial Day party, and you know being fit will aide this process. If anything, get HEALTHY for you! Because YOU deserve it!


Healthy Tip for the Day: Surround yourself with healthy snacks.

~Ashleigh XoXo

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Importance of Family

Growing up I’ve always had that loud, big, crazy family, where everyone is involved in everyone else’s business. I never thought twice about it, never thought it wasn’t the “norm.” As I’ve gotten older, people tend to space out more, going there own ways, encompassing lots of personal plans and unique lives. Individuality is wonderful, and having friends and new hobbies is really important, but there’s just something about family that I think is one of the strongest bonds we as humans get to encounter.
I still remember when we [my family] use to get together on the weekends and play cards, and just make MEMORIES. Some of you don’t have big families, but you more than likely have filled that space within you with friends and they have become your family. It doesn’t matter how we classify “our family,” it only matters that we understand the endless love and bond that comes with them.
With this being said, I decided yesterday that it was time we all get together again, and not just for Birthdays and Special occasions, but just because. It sounds silly, maybe, to set dates and locations to have quality time, but with today’s day and age as crazy as it is, it’s needed. I sent out an email to my family with dates (6 weeks apart), and asked that people sign up for a day within the year to have everyone over. Nothing fancy... we all can bring a dish...  But if you don’t make things like this happen, then they won’t!
So today, stop and think about the important people in your life. How often do you get to see them? Do you make an honest effort to keep in touch, and not let weeks/years pass by. Just like we plan for work and meetings, we have to plan for our social life too. Life’s too short. Start enjoying every moment of it! (That’s your challenge for today... J)

If you have a great bonding activity or favorite family memory, please feel free to COMMENT on this post and share it! We’d all love to know.
~Ashleigh XoXo

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

When in doubt, stain it!

Now that everyone is sugared up on all the unneeded Valentine’s Day candy, it’s time to get back to reality, unfortunately.  Early last week I shared with you a picture of our deprived stairwell going upstairs. Since our home is a split level, the stairs are in the center of the house, and they can either be a huge eye sore, or a pleasant welcoming area.

BEFORE

Just to recap, when we purchased the home a little over 2 months ago, the stairs were simple, wood railings (older looking), ugly painted over brackets, a beige wall color, with brown trim and doors in the hallway, and that’s about it. In addition to the other umpteen million little makeovers we have done on the home, we decided to refinish the wood, a deeper mahogany color, and paint the spokes on the railing white to add a more modern/ traditional feel. With a little help from Sherwin Williams, we added a new warm gray color to the hallway walls, an olive green to the complimentary walls, and painted the doors and the trim white. (White just makes a place look cleaner, newer, and just so much better!)

AFTER

Now our new little space is much more welcoming and homey feeling. I love coming home and feeling at peace.

Now, if we could only get our floors done, I’d be a really happy camper. J
Our next project is our $15 coffee table we discovered at Good Will. It’s solid wood, just not that pretty on the eyes. A little bit of sanding and painting, and we’ll have someone else’s trash as our treasures. Stay tuned…











~Ashleigh XoXo

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What's Love Got to Do With it?

Tina Turner asked a great question, “What’s Love got to do, got to do with it?”
The answer… EVERYTHING! We all need to feel that emotional connection, that feeling of protection and warmth. Today’s Valentine’s Day, the day we get pampered in chocolate and flowers and romantic dinners. It’s all nice, but what does it really mean? (Don’t get me wrong I loved waking up to a rose and some peanut butter kisses) But for those of you who have no Valentine; it’s a lonely miserable day. And for those of us with Valentine’s, it all goes back to normal tomorrow. This just shouldn’t be. Let Hallmark makes lots of money off greeting cards and chocolates today, but let’s remember what LOVE really is, and ALL the people we love in life.
A friend at work gave a special take on today as “Everyone deserves a flower day,” and brought in a whole bunch of long-stemmed roses for all of the females. (SUPER NICE, I know.) I think today, and every day, we need to offer our love and good deeds to others. Even if it means baking cookies because you know someone loves them, or bringing a friend a rose because “everyone deserves a flower.” Love is in the air ALL the time, you just have to reach out and find it. Enjoy the gifts and being pampered today, but remember someone today who may be sad or lonely, and offer them a piece of chocolate or a friendly walk during lunch. A little bit goes a long way. :)

My love, on Valentine's Day and otherwise..


On a side note, check out my Friday night craftiness... (super easy, and adds some color to this gloomy winter).


~Ashleigh XoXo

Friday, February 10, 2012

to Inspire

Yay for Fridays! I am just SO thankful for that little bit of hope and energy that we get to make it through the day knowing that, for most of us, not visiting work for 2 days and having a little bit of a mental break is in our VERY near future!
So, I am going to Zumba tonight for the first time. Not much of a dancer, so I’m a little nervous, but gotta love trying new things. J

Just some food for thought for the weekend:
~Ashleigh XoXo

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Gimme something good to eat!

It's almost Friday. We are getting really close... Keep pushing through everyone! I have a VERY busy, but exciting, weekend planned, and to think there’s only 2 days left for preparation is a little overwhelming. We are FINALLY hosting our Housewarming Party this Saturday for family and friends to come see our new place and participate in this exciting time in our life! …SO much cleaning and prepping are in my near future. Our guest list is around 64 people. WOW! I just hope they all will fit in the house. Maybe I should have asked for people to come in shifts.. :/ (More to come after the party…)

After being inspired from a Pinterest recipe yesterday, I decided this week to make my take on Pesto and Mozzarella stuffed Parmesan Chicken. Quite a mouth full, but quite delish! The recipe wasn’t too hard, just really messy. The most difficult thing was figuring out where in the grocery store they sell pesto, since I didn’t have much time to make it from scratch last night. Follow the simple steps below, and Bon appetite! (Sorry in advance for the not-so-great photos. Taking pictures while preparing messy things is much harder than you’d think.)
1.       First flatten out 2 thawed chicken breasts as flat as you can get them. (This is where a meat tenderizer comes in handy… who would’ve thought?!?!)




2.       Mix sour cream (4 Tbsp), Pesto (4 Tbsp) and Mozzarella cheese (handful ~ ½ cup) into a mixing bowl . (Depending on the quantity you are making, add more of all of the ingredients in equal proportion.)



3. Once pretty mixed, add a whopping scoop of the mixture to the center of the flattened chicken breast, spreading out evenly amongst the breast.

4.       Once the pesto/mozzarella/sour cream mixture is spread evenly, do your best to roll up the chicken breast, attempting to keep the mixture on the inside.

5.       Wisk 2 eggs in a bowl. Set aside (1 egg may even do it, as I had a good bit left over.)

6.       Combine equal portions of grated parmesan cheese and flour in a bowl.

7.       Roll the chicken in the egg and then cover with the parmesan cheese/ flour mixture.

      8.       Place all pieces of stuffed chicken in a greased glass baking dish.


9.       It’s worth cleaning up the disaster while the chicken is cooking, because I can promise you that you aren’t going to want to do a thing after this yummy dinner is over..


10.   Bake 25-35 minutes (depending on the thickness of your chicken) at 375°.
11.   Enjoy! (I served mine with a side of pasta, but it was so filling a salad alone would have been just fine.)
Thanks Pinterest for inspiring me (like always):



Next item on the agenda… Painting the hallways and refinishing our stair railings for a more welcoming and modern feel. (Thank goodness for all of the handy men in my life!) Wish us luck! J
Our current deprived stairway/foyer… “AFTER” pictures to come very soon!

~Ashleigh XoXo

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Oh' How I Love Color!

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

I’m certainly not a fan of cold winter weather, and I am SOO ready for summer time to be here, and to pull out the flip flops and patio furniture. Unfortunately since Punxsutawney Phil is predicting 6 more weeks of winter (maybe we are down to 5 ½ now!), I had to do something that makes me feel warm and brightens my spirits… this is where I choose COLOR!
Painting a room can make all the difference in the world, and to me, color is so important. Almost every room in our home is a different color ranging from yellow to blue and green to warm browns and tans. Each room has a purpose, and adding a supporting color not only makes the room feel more welcoming, but it can also lifts your spirits reminding you that you are “Home Sweet Home”. With the help of Sherwin William’s Paint Visualizer, we were able to upload photos of our rooms, and see exactly what they would look like before we spent all the money and time painting something we wouldn’t like.
Here are a few of our Before and After Photos to inspire you to go put on some old clothes, throw your hair in a pony, and act like Picasso. (Please forgive some of the furniture and d├ęcor, as we have only been in our new home 7 weeks now, and it needed a LOT of TLC!)




I hope everyone’s week is just as relaxing as Lia’s. J
~Ashleigh XoXo


Monday, February 6, 2012

Namaste.


Namaste. I'm Ashleigh Anne, and I am so excited to share my passions and enthusiasm with you. Hmm... a little bit about me… I’m a fun-loving homebody that loves to walk into a space and feel that it’s ok to kick off my shoes and cuddle up on the couch. I love DIY projects, fun days in the kitchen baking goodies, and spending time with my family and friends trying new adventures.
With that being said, I have recently purchased a home with my wonderful boyfriend Prashad, and baby girl Lia (my labradoodle), and like any first-time home buyer, we are not only broke, but furniture deprived. Going out and buying brand new furniture is not only expensive, but unpractical. My thought is, why purchase something brand-new that will lose its value and get messed up and distressed while moving it from the truck to our home?
Instead, I have decided to be frugal and crafty, and refurbish our entire home with great bargain finds and make them our own. Your trash is my treasure. :) I am tickled to be able to share fun craft projects, furniture makeovers, decor changes, and so much more!

Thanks for joining in on this exciting journey!
~Ashleigh Xoxo