Friday, December 23, 2011


Who doesn't love free things??! If you're anything like me, you love free things; especially fabulous free things!!  Christin, from Classy Southern Bride is hosting an excellent giveaway on her blog! She's giving away a free blog template, scentsy items, a digital photo frame, and more! Just follow the simple instructions and you'll be entered, too!!

Here's the link to her cute blog:

Happy Giveaway-ing

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wedding Wednesday #3...The bridal party, pt.2

This day has been b-u-s-y, so this is going to be short. BUT, I was able to finally update the info on our wedding website about the wedding party since they've all been officially asked! We don't have the fellas up there yet, well other than my ridiculously adorable nephew, aka the ring bearer, but I'm excited to finally have each of my girls up on our website!
I've said before and I'll say it again, I LOVE these ladies oh so much! It's amazing how friendships, especially those with women change over time; but I can confidently say that each of these ladies will be in my life forever. They are all so special to me and I am so honored to have them be there with me on my "big day"- so, go visit the site and check them out ;) The Wedding Party

P.S. Our Save The Dates were ordered yesterday and I'll share those as soon as they arrive! We found an AWESOME company who has incredible prices and ever more incredible customer service! So, for those of you thinking we forgot about you- don't. We were just slackers in getting them ordered ;)

The bride to be

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Scrumptious Sunday....Oreo "Snowballs"

If you've never been exposed to the greatness of these.....prepare yourself. They are SO stinkin' good and always a hit wherever you take them!! I recently made them for a cookie exchange and for some co-workers. No, they arent healthy, but they're about 125-150 calories per ball so they aren't too bad for you... if you can limit yourself to just one or two ;)

Package of Oreo cookies. (I used Great Value brand ones for these)

one package of  1/3 reduced fat cream cheese

Almond bark vanilla

1) In a food processor, add the cookies about 1/2 a package at a time
2) Once the cookies have been ground into a fine crumble, break up the cream cheese and add it to the processor.
3) Mix cookies and cream cheese in processor until it becomes doughy-about 10 seconds
4) Form the cookies into balls and set on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper. I make mine between a grape and a golf ball size.

using double the ingredients

5) After letting them firm up (I left these in the fridge overnight, but thats not necessary), melt the white chocolate. I recently purchased the Wilton melting pot and LOVE it!! It worked great and was worth every penny. You can use the 40% Hobby Lobby coupon and get it for under $20! I highly recommend if you melt lots of things for candies!
6. Place a toothpick in each ball and dip in the white chocolate, then place on wax paper to harden.
7. Remove the toothpicks after the chocolate has hardened and voila! You have some Oreo amazement!

I ran out of chocolate so I simply drizzled some on a few

To present these to my collab teachers and assistants at school, I found these super cute Martha Stewart bags at TJ Maxx
I then added a $1 scratch off ticket to each box and wrote "Here's some "snowballs" for Christmas and some luck for the New Year on the gift tags. It was a simple way to make the gifts a little more special and hopefully provide someone with some winnings ;)
Co-worker gifts :)
Happy Cookie Making,


Friday, December 16, 2011

Fill in the Blank Friday

How fun are these linky parties?! Time for another :) Today, I'm linking up with Lauren for her fun little

1) My most favorite "little thing" is....waking up during break and watching talk TV all morning while wearing PJ's and drinking a K-Cup. Hodie & Kathie Lee and the ladies of The View. LOVE them!

2. I'd give anything..... to have someone do all of my laundry for me. I currently have about 2 weeks worth built up.

3. I can't believe how awkward...I look when running. Seriously. I got back the profesh pics from the half marathon and Oh. Dear. Lord. did I look awkward on that last 1/2 mile stretch.

4. The one thing I'd like to achieve today is.... go running. I haven't gone in 2 days and I feel gross.

5. The last thing I want to do today is.... go running. ha! just being honest. It's cold and I'm tired.

 6. If I were writing my own blank today, it would say: .... The first thing I'm going to do over Christmas Vacay is ________

 7. My favorite candle scent is... Bath and Body Works, Midnight Pomegranate.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Invitation Ornament

I'm doing my first ever "linky party" today, and I'm doing it with
I've never been good at the whole "following" thing on other people's blogs, but recently, thanks to Pinterest, I have found a ton of blogs that are full of cute ideas and I've started to "follow" other blogs like crazy! Who knew so many wonderful ideas were out there?!   I have loved reading all of the crafty goodness from this particular site and was so excited when they were having an ornament linky party. I mentioned in my decorations on a budget post  that I had a cute idea to share, so it works out perfectly for me to share it now!! There are TONS of other ornament ideas on the CSI blog, so be sure to go look at all of the other ideas :)

The Greenwood's invite :)
This is super easy and makes for a wonderful personalized ornament for friends, particularly those who just tied the knot!
You start by purchasing a clear ornament ball from either Michael's (where they are currently 60% off)  or Hobby Lobby. I went with a larger size, since I was filling it with a wedding inviation and those tend to be 5x7.
You then take the invitation and cut it into small strips which is a tad awkward at first because you're like,"Wow, I'm defintitely shredding my friends' invites. Is this wrong?!" ha! I didnt measure when I cut, I just eyed it making sure to include each line in a strip i.e. their names on one, the church on one, etc.

Once you have the strips, roll them around a pin to make them curly
Take all of your curly strips and place them in the globe

Your final step is to re-attach the top, add some ribbon and you're finished! For one ornament, I was able to add the actual ribbon and jewel from the wedding invite, but for the other I simply tied some grey ribbon on the top!
using the ribbon and jewel from invite
My newlywed friends really liked them and I hope you do too!! I think this could also be cute to do for baby shower invitations, birthday milestones, etc. If you'd like for me to make one for you, email me (ash31gifts@hotmail) and I'd be happy to make you one! I'm charging $10 per ornament :)

Happy Ornament Making

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wedding Wednesday...The Wedding Party

As soon as we got engaged, I went into full wedding planning mode. We got engaged at the start of my Fall Break so I had an entire week to plan, day in and day out. I admit, I got a little overwhelmed pretty early on trying to do SO much SO fast, but I just felt like I needed to get the "big" things booked before anyone else took them since we are getting married at such a popular time. Thankfully, we got what we wanted (after some near panic stricken moments) so I was able to finally relax and start having fun with the other details, one of those being asking my girls to be in the wedding.
M and I decided that we didn't want a large bridal party. As we have gotten older, we've realized that the wedding really is about us and our commitment to God and each other. We've been to weddings with larger bridal parties and both felt it just distracted from the bride and groom.
So, I began to think, "How can I incorporate everyone without having 10 girls on the stage with me?"
We tossed around a few ideas and came up with our final decision: 3 on each side, and then have our other dear friends as honorary bridesmaids and ushers. I have 3 absolute best friends from growing up/high school and M has 3 from college. We felt since these people have been in our lives the longest that it was only fitting that they were the ones on the stage with us. I decided to make all 3 of mine Matron of Honors because they are each just so special to me and then asked 7 other of my dear friends to be honorary bridesmaids.
The HB's will be escorted down the aisle by their husbands/boyfriends, have a special flower to pin in their hair, wear the same color dress but in any style/brand they want, and sit in the front row. Each of these girls is incredibly dear to me and I couldn't imagine not having them involved in my big day! I'll admit, I was a little nervous that someone would take offense to this, but each girl LOVES the idea. We're all pushing 30 and we just view things differently now than we would've at age 22. It makes wedding planning so much more fun when all of that drama from your early 20's is gone. No one getting jealous, upset, anything. It's wonderful :)

Before I asked the girls to be apart of the wedding, I had to decide how to ask them. I've seen different ways done before and of course, I wanted to be different. I wanted it to be personal, fun, and something each girl could keep. I decided to go with a personalized cookie from my favorite bakery, Caramanda's and attach a fun little poem for each girl to keep. I began working on the poems shortly after our engagement and finished them up right before I left for the half marathon in FL (where I asked 2 of my MOH's to be in the wedding). I wrote one of my 3 MOH's, 7 for the HB's, and 1 for my flower girl. I won't type out the whole poem but it went something like "Because I love you and your friendship is so dear, on my wedding day I want you near....." It went on describing the colored dress they'd buy, the wedding date, what role I was asking them to take, etc. It was cute and funny, but also very sentimental to how they all were so special to me. I dropped off a cookie cutter (a Wilton brand from Micahels) at the bakery,  gave them the name of each girl, and told them my wedding colors. Caramanda's is fabulous, so I knew they'd do an excellent job! I picked up the cookies a week later, and was SO excited about how cute they turned out!

I attached each poem to green card stock, placed the cookies in Wilton brand treat bags, used a heart hole punch (I'm super cheesy, I know) to make a hole in the card, then tied it all up with a navy and green ribbon.
I LOVE the final product :)
M just laughed throughout the whole process. He said "I'm calling the guys and saying, here's the date, be there, and you're out getting personalized cookies made to ask your girls." He's quickly learning that a lot goes into wedding planning, but he was right there, tying the ribbons on the cookies with me. He is such a good groom ;)

the bride to be

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Scrumptious Sunday...Pop Chips and Pretzel Crisps

I wish I loved eating healthy. I really do. But, let's be honest for a second; while I like healthy stuff,  I never crave broccoli (who does?!) and have to make a conscious choice when eating to choose things such as fruit vs french fries or avoiding my beloved Cookie Monster from Cheddars. I eat healthy 98% of the time because I know I need to- but if it were up to me, I'd eat mac and cheese and cookies all day and stay healthy. But, we all know that's not reality so I am always looking for yummy options that satisfy my cravings without adding on those dreaded lbs!! Here are two yumalicous options I have found recently and think they are totally share worthy! Pretzel Crisps and Pop Chips

Pretzel Crisps

I originally learned of these from Hungry Girl. I know I've mentioned her before and I will totally mention her again, because I love her! Seriously. She provides such excellent options for making food that tastes oh so good without being oh so bad for you! She mentioned these in one of her recent newsletter emails and I thought they looked delish! While at Fresh Market a few weeks ago, I found them and snatched up a couple of bags. They were on sale for $3 a bag (Yay!) and they are super yum! I have both the dark cholcoate ones and the white chocolate ones, and at only 120 calories per 4, it's great for satisfaing that sweet and salty tooth simultaneously.

I stumbled upon Pop Chips at Krogers last week. They were on sale and in the healthy section so I thought I'd try them. I LOVE potato chips, but I stick with the baked kind because of  health factor. Of course, they aren't as good as the real thing so I was anxious to see how these bad boys stacked up against them. They did. They are SO stinkin' good and are even LOWER in calories than baked chips (120 calories per 20 chips). I have the BBQ ones and think they taste almost as good as the real thing- definitley better than the baked chips! They also contain none of the bad stuff we all try to avoid- perseratives, cholestrol, saturated and trans fat, and artifical flavors or colors! It's a total win win, in my opinion, in fact, I'm snacking on them as I type! ha :)

Happy 'healthy' Chip Eating,

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wedding Wednesday #1: Confessions of a bride to be

Several people suggested that I blog throughout my wedding planning process. I've been meaning to ever since the beginning, but I just haven't had time. I have a lot of the "big" things planned (thank goodness) and am going to try my best to remember to blog each week about the whole process! If you're already married, this will hopefully bring back fun memories from your past and if you're another bride-to-be, please share your thoughts/ideas as well!!
Have you ever read the Shopaholic books?!  I love them, so in honor of the Confessions of a Shopaholic book series, I thought it would be fun to make the first post a confessional... as a bride-to-be. Here goes :)

I confess...

1) I have yet to wear a ring on any other finger on my hands because I  don't want to distract from my bling. Yes, my big ol' rings that I usually wear are currently out of use.

2) I strategically place my left hand in every picture so that you can see the ring.

3) I have thought about eloping more than 5 times since being engaged.

4) Instead of grading papers, I  sometimes spend my planning block writing Ashlee Kinney over and over again because I'm trying to perfect my new signature.

5) I looked up Kim Kardashian's signature to see how she makes her K's because I really suck at writing mine. I think her's are pretty, even though her 72 day marriage was not.

6) I check Sandals website at least once a week to scope out our honeymoon destination.

7) Making our guest list has been a lot harder than anticipated. Our reception venue can only hold 300, so I had to make some cuts. Every time I cut someone, I feel like I'm being a bad/rude person. 

8) I find myself saying "I really don't care" about a lot of the details of the wedding. I thought I'd be super anal about everything and surprisingly, I'm not.

9) I reallllly want trees in the church, just like William and Kate had at the Royal Wedding. And I'm trying realllly hard to make that happen.

10) I visit Etsy or Pinterest's wedding section at least 5 times a week. SOOOOOO many great ideas!!!!

11) I  tried on a wedding gown before I was engaged; but only one, and that's only because one of my MOH's lives in NC and she wasn't going to be back in KY until Christmas.

12) I plan on running a 5K the morning of the wedding. Crazy?! Maybe. But wedding party, get're running it too :)

13) When I hear the words "snow" in the forecast, I cringe. We can only have 6 snow days before it interferes with our wedding. Usually I love snow days, but this year...I loathe them.

14) I cry whenever I see another wedding, even if it's a total stranger on TV.

15) I got a "high" when my MOH's were able to score their dresses for 50% off on Cyber Monday.

16) I'm asking all men who attend the wedding to wear bowties and I feel absolutely no shame in doing so. Don't question me fellas, just do it.

17) I really wanted my dog to attend the wedding and a little piece of my heart broke when I was told that couldn't happen.

18) I refuse to look at my wedding registry because I dont want it to spoil the surprise at my showers. I know, I know, I already picked out what people are getting us, but still, I refuse to look.

19) I have nightmares at least twice a week about it being our wedding day and NOTHING is planned. Most recently being we were getting married on a farm in England surronded by ducks, donkeys and pigs and not a thing was planned. Hysterical.  

And finally.........Don't judge, buuuuuuut
20) I have shown M a picture of my dress. No, not of me IN the dress, but of the dress. I just couldn't help it.

The Bride to be :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas decorations....on a budget :)

So, last night I uploaded my first creation to Pinterest. I still feel a little confused by the whole site, so I'm not even sure if I uploaded the image correctly; but if you're visiting my blog from Pinterest, Welcome :) This year, I began my Christmas decorations overhaul. Because I will become a Mrs. in a few months, I realized my former decor wasn't too husband friendly. M wasn't a fan of my peacock themed tree and to be honest, I was ready for a change. I used to be very opposed to the whole red and green theme for Christmas as I felt it was very 1980ish ( I know its Christmas tradition, but I always felt it was retro), but this year I've gone fully red and green! M LOVES red and green and I must say, I'm loving it as well! Of course, we will be adding more to our decor for Christmas 2012 when we actually live together, but we have gotten a fun start for Christmas 2011. Here is a peak into my house (6 months from being OUR house) and some simple how-to's/where to buy for cheap decorations:
Note: A lot of the items I used were items I use year-round in my house, but with some added Christmas fun- a great $$ saver!!
My dining room table

 This was made using my 3-tiered stand, limes, and ornaments. I already had the candle and some ornaments from years past and purchased the other one's at Hobby Lobby for 50% off! HL is a GREAT place to buy your decor because it is, and has been 50% off since Thanksgiving!! Even if they go full price, you can always score 40% off coupons from their website! I don't think I've ever paid full price for anything there. Love!

Here's the place setting at the table. Next year, our monogrammed dishes from our Pottery Barn  wedding registry will be sitting on the chargers. The chargers were $2 each at Michael's and the napkins were $7 each (a bit of a splurge for a napkin, but I LOVED them) from Caught Ya Lookin' in downtown Lexington. The napkin rings and place mats were both from Kohls and were 60% off last week.

Gonzaga also scored some Hobby Lobby love. He got some festive bowls that coordinate with our overall theme. These cost me $7 each after being 50% off. I love the polka dots in the bowl; they match our napkins and stockings 

The mantle is my favorite. We were able to score the lighted garland at Bed Bath and Beyond the day after Thanksgiving for $19.95, plus, were able to use a 20% off coupon. The red mesh from Hobby Lobby (50% off, of course) and was simply wrapped around the garland. The wreath above the garland is one I've used on my front door the past few years and was an after Christmas steal from Kohls. The stocking holders are from Target (2 years ago) and although our stockings aren't complete yet, they will be hanging in the middle and are a combo of peppermint stripe and green and white polka dots, from Caught Ya Lookin'. Our stockings will be reversible from each other, M's being mostly the peppermint stripe print and mine mostly the green and white polka dot print to coordinate with the napkins! And, when little baby Kinney comes along in a few years, his or hers will be made to match ours :) But until then, our furry children will enjoy their stocking and being our only babies!

I added some ornaments (that coordinated with the table centerpiece ornaments) to the garland-I just stuck them in there, they aren't attached to anything, and so far, so good. And the candles were $4 each from TJ Maxx. I LOVE the round sparkles at the base-it matches the polka dots on everything else! The candle sticks are on the mantle year round- I just change them our during season changes.

On the coffee table, I took the bowl that typically sits on my dining room table filled with lemons and limes and added some ornaments and the peppermint striped ribbon. Adding ribbon to things is a simple and cheap way to make things look cute! I like keeping the limes in the decor-it's different and a way to add some green, plus I already had them :)

I added some vintage family tradition to our decor by adding my absolute FAVORITE thing as a kid, the candy cane house to my side table, and my Memaw's old holly glasses from Arbys to my wine glass rack. Don't you remember these from back in the late 80's/early 90's?! I used to LOVE getting them during the holidays as a kid and seeing them today brings back memories from Christmases past! I have a super vintage and fun table cloth from my great grandmother that I'm going to try to get made into pillows for Christmas 2012.
And of course, the most important thing of all, the nativity scene. I bought this from Kohls when I had my first apartment in college. I just love it and will probably always display it in my house even after we get a newer nativity scene. My dream nativity is from Willow Tree, but until we get one of those, this little gem will do! It sits on the sofa table and is surrounded by my multi-level votive holders.

A SAVIOR is born!!
And no, I don't have a tree up this year and won't be putting one up. We are SO busy right now and will be leaving for NYC on Christmas Day. We opted to pass on the tree this year because we aren't really at my house enough to enjoy it, but are excited to get a real tree to celebrate our first Christmas as Mr and Mrs in 2012 :)
I hope this helped y'all find some helpful ways to decorate your house without breaking the bank! I have a super cute ornament idea to share, but I'm waiting until I give them to the girls before sharing on the blog! It will be up soon!!

Happy Christmas Decorating

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Proposal

First off, THANK YOU so much for all of the phone calls, fb messages, texts, etc! We are beyond thrilled to begin this next stage of life and feeling so loved by everyone, just makes it that much better! We cannot wait to share our "big day" with each of you in June!!

Here's the story:
I have been bugging M for a few weeks to go see the Bodies Revealed exhibit at Heritage Hall. I'm quite the museum nerd and the thought of seeing real dead people fascinates me. Sick? Maybe, but regardless I've been dying to go! So, early this week we made plans to finally see the exhibit and have an actual, official "date night" since those have been scarce lately due to our crazy busy schedules. I began to think something was up when M was very insistent that we eat someplace downtown and spend our evening down there, without any of our friends. We had the first part of our first date at Thursday Night Live, so I started to think that maybe he had something in the works....Well, little did he know that when he began to plan this evening, that downtown would be hopping with events, particularly the end of the Bourbon Chase and the Light The Night Walk. After trying to make reservations someplace without any success, he decided we would simply head to deShaes early in hopes of getting a table.
Well rewind to Saturday afternoon, when the migraine that I had been battling since Thursday finally was taking it's toll. I was at a baby shower with my mom and just began feeling MISERABLE. We left soon after the gifts had been opened because I just needed to lie down. My mom, knowing that the proposal was going to happen, was like "Well Ashlee, you have to get better by tonight." I said something along the lines of postponing our evening out and mom was VERY insistent that I should go. By this point, I really began thinking something was up because what mom would try to send her daughter out when she's sick?? She took me straight to Rite Aid, bought 2 types of medicine and gave me strict orders to take it and feel better so I could have my evening out with M.
An hour and half later he shows up at my house ready to head out. I had just woken up from a nap and was feeling somewhat better, but had no desire to get super fixed up for our evening. I had a cute dress planned to wear and everything, but since I still wasn't feeling too hot, I told him, "Sorry honey, I'm just going to wear what I have on (jeans and a cute top)." He said "Are you sure?!" M never questions what I wear (yet another clue something was up), and I said "Yes, I'm sorry I'm not in a dress, but I just don't feel like it." Those of you who know me well know how much I LOVE wearing dresses so you know I'm sick when I think I may be getting proposed to, but still cant muster up the energy to change clothes.

 We arrived at deShae's, ate dinner, then headed over to Heritage Hall to see the exhibit. I was finally starting to feel better by this point so upon leaving HH, we began walking back towards the car which was parked at Broadway Christian. Broadway is the church M grew up attending and also the church where we attended our first service together as a couple, so it holds a special place in our hearts. As we approached Broadway, there was a van of elderly people arriving along with several of cars, because the church was holding some type of an event. M quickly realized he was going to be unable to propose there, so he suggested we just keep walking and enjoy downtown. He suggested we head over to Gratz Park to enjoy the scenery and some peace and quiet since downtown had been so crazy! We arrived at Gratz Park and began walking around the sidewalk that flows through the park. Then, we entered under the iron archway and he suggested we take a picture together.
  I got out my camera and we snapped the above picture, then, as my head was turned he said, "I think we should take another picture with this." As I looked down he had the ring box opened and I said "Shut the front door. Shut the front door." He then got down on his knee and asked me to be his wife. Of course, I said "Yes!"  It couldn't have been more perfect with the sun setting, the beautiful fall trees, and the intimate setting of such a historic place in Lexington.
Right after I said, "Yes" I was only slightly excited ;)

I really couldn't ask for a better man to spend the rest of my life with. Michael is such an amazing man of God who exhibits every quality that I have prayed for in a husband. He is SO loving, so stinkin' funny, and has such a servant's heart. He is definitely the "yin" to my "yang" and I like to think we make a pretty good team :)   He strives everyday to be the man of God he was designed to be, and I cannot wait to see him as a father to our future children. Although it took us 27 years and 8 months to finally meet one another, it was worth every bit of the wait! We met each other when we were both so happy and so complete in our own lives that it just works. If you would've told me at 21 years old that I wouldn't be engaged until the age of 29, I probably would have died, but for us, it's been exactly the way God had planned. We have lived our single lives to the fullest and are now ready to embark on this new journey as our own family!!
Again, thanks again for all of the lovely messages! We are SO SO excited to get this wedding planned- and we promise, it's going to be a great one!!

The bride-to-be :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Scrumptious Sunday.....On A Monday

* I try to be a good little blogger and update the blog frequentely, but life is just so stinkin' busy these days, that it's just not possible - so alas, here's what should've been posted yesterday :)

We, meaning M & I are avid consumers of Mexican food. We LOVE it and typically have a Mexican Monday where we dine on  Mexican goodness on Mondays. Lucky for us, there's a new Mexican restaurant within a few miles of my house called Chuy's It is over near Fayette Mall in the building that has been everything under the sun and now, it's Chuy's. It's basically a Joe Crab Shack meets Mexican restaurant. The inside is crazy with tons of wooden fish hanging from the ceiling to a room surrounded by hubcaps. It's definitely a fun, relaxed, don't be afraid to be loud environment, and we were impressed. 
 For starters, their chips are thin, warm and tasty and their creamy jalapeno dip is Uh-mazing!!! I'm a lover of ranch dressing and the combo of ranch with the slight kick of jalapeno is perfect on those thin little salty chips! I ate a bowl of the chicken tortilla soup with a side of guacamole (which is yum!) and M got a burrito. Their portions are HUGE so be prepared to take some home with you! They also serve homemade, fresh margaritas....deeeelish! We enjoyed our meal and their prices were totally affordable; we will definitely be back!!

Happy Mexican Monday,

Monday, September 12, 2011

Whites after Labor Day?!

Here's what Emily Post has to say about wearing white after Labor Day :) I LOVE it because I'm a big fan of wearing winter whites! Thank you, EP for reaffirming my fashion sense! Enjoy!!

Taken from  "Back in Emily's day—the nineteen 00s, 10s and 20s—the summer season was bracketed by Memorial Day and Labor Day. Society flocked en masse from town house to seaside "cottage" or mountain "cabin" to escape the heat. City clothes were left behind in exchange for lighter, whiter, summer costumes. Come fall and the return to the city, summer clothes were put away and more formal city clothes donned once more. It was an age when there was a dress code for practically every occasion, and the signal to mark the change between summer resort clothes and clothing worn for the rest of the year was encapsulated in the dictum "No white after Labor Day." And it stuck.

Of course you can wear white after Labor Day, and it makes perfect sense to do so in climates where September's temperatures are hardly fall-like. Even in the dead of winter in northern New England the fashionable wear white wools, cashmeres, and down-filled parkas. The true interpretation is "wear what's appropriate—for the weather, the season, or the occasion." So on a blistering Indian Summer September day here in Vermont, you’ll catch us wearing our “whites”.

Happy Whites Wearing,

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Scrumptious Sunday: Cream Cheese Frosting :)

* As I sit her watching endless Sept 11th coverage, I debated on whether or not to post today. The day is still so fresh in my mind as I'm sure it is in yours, but with all the sadness, I am constantly reminded of the absolute LOVE of God and HOPE he provides each of us! Here is one of my favorite songs that is such a great reminder of the hope and love we have in this life, even in times of sadness. I decided to go on and post the recipe, but enjoy this amazing song first :)

Scrumptious Sunday
Here's a super quick and super easy way to make homemade cream cheese frosting! I made my first batch this week and used it to ice a cake and cupcakes for a couple's shower I hosted this weekend. Everyone loved it, so here it is:

Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 pkgs cream cheese
2 stick of unsalted butter
6 cups of powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon of water (add as needed for desired thickness)

Break up the butter and cream cheese into small pieces and place in a bowl.
Mix until smooth then slowly add the powdered sugar and continue beating until desired whipiness (I'm pretty sure that's not a word, but you know what I mean!)
Ice and enjoy :)
Store any unused frosting in the refrigerator!!

I used this on a lemon raspberry cake and pumpkin cupcakes, but I would imagine it will be pretty delish on cinnamon rolls as well!!

Happy Frosting Making,

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Travel Tip Tuesday :)

The absolute BEST way to save mucho bucks when renting a car is to use either Hotwire or Priceline. I cannot begin to explain the amount of $$ I have saved by using these sites! I've never paid more than $25 a day for a car, with most being in the $10-15 range!! Last year, I scored an awesome Volvo sport for $10 a day in Orlando! It was a brand new car, drove AMAZING, and the fact that I was paying so little for it made it even better!
The only drawback, if you can even call it that, is that you do not know the name of the car company until after you book. Every time I have used these sites for car rental in FL, the company ends up being Hertz which is a well-known, well-respected car rental company.
IF you are using the sites and having no luck (this has happened to me ONE time) check with the lesser name, off airport properties. When we decided to go to Disney last year for New Years, we had no clue that car rentals were going to be astronomical. My two beloved sites let me down, with the cheapest rates being  $65 a day for a compact car. Gasp! After going through a bit of a panic, I found a company called E-Z Rent-a-Car The name sounds pretty ghetto and I'll admit, I was a tad nervous, but we scored such a great deal we decided to take the chance and book it! After a quick shuttle ride, we were at their offices and they set us up with a great Camry that was in excellent shape... We had absolutely zero problems with the car, or the company, and I would definitely feel comfortable using them again!! We did pay a tad more than I usually pay with my two "go-to's" but with it being NYE and with the bowl game, it's a miracle we were even able to score a car.
I really cannot say enough about the love I have for these two sites, especially with car rentals! They have saved me SO much money and I've seriously never been disappointed with the result!!

Happy Car Renting,

P.S. I think I may have discovered the BEST and absolute EAISEST homemade cream cheese frosting! I just made my first batch and I'm SO pumped at the result! If my "testers" love it like I think they will,  it will definitely make next Sunday's 'Scrumptious Sunday'!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Scrumptious Sunday

In lieu of posting a recipe and in response to the super unhealthy dessert from the last Scrumptious Sunday, I want to share a link to a website that provides lots of tasty, delicious, alternatives to normal fattening, unhealthy eats. The lady is called Hungry Girl, and you may have seen her show on the Food Network. I was introduced to her a few months ago and I simply LOVE LOVE LOVE her! I'm on her  email list and she always has great options for making unhealthy treats, diet friendly. Now, I will say that I am very big on using as natural things as much as possible and I try to avoid fat free anything, which she recommends quite often. However, most everything she says to use fat free, you can use low-fat so that you're not filling your body with all of that preservative nonsense. This week, she provided lots of great options for peanut butter and bacon and if you know and understand my love for PB, you'll appreciate this as well :)

Happy Healthy Eating,
Ash :)

Chance encounters....of the God kind :)

Note: I don't usually share super "personal" things on my blog, but I love when God just shows himself to us, and uses his children when we think/feel we are "least usable."

I'm going to be brutally honest for a minute. The last month of my life has been rough; particularly the last 10 days. I hate to complain, because I hate when people complain. But, the rest of this story will not make sense unless you realize where I'm coming from.I have dealt with endless drama with my foot (it was way worse than orginally thought), one of, if not THE most challenging year of teaching yet, sickness, and just plain days of where everything seems to go wrong. Everything.
Thursday was my breaking point after going back to the foot doctor for the ump-teenth time and being told that I couldn't work on Friday, had to be on crutches, needed PT, and would be out of commission for at least another 2 weeks. I'm supposed to be running a half marathon at the end of November and now I cant even walk on my own 2 feet for the weekend and I cant even begin to start running until the end of September?! What?! You're kidding me, right?! No, she wasn't and by 2:30 pm I was done. I was at whits end, thought I was going to punch something because my frustration level had reached its max.
M was going to the UK game in Nashville with some friends and told me I should just try to come along since I wasn't allowed to work on Friday anyway. I could sit in the stadium, enjoy a game, and enjoy being out of my house for the night. I've been on strict orders to rest my foot when not at work, so basically I have come home from work and sit down and do nothing. This has gone on for a month and as you can imagine, it's gotten old, really old.
I thought going to Nashville would be a good idea so I began to pack. While packing, I realize I had left one of my most favorite white dresses (which I wear to UK games in the warm months) in Mexico and I just began to cry. Any woman, or man for that matter hates losing a beloved piece of clothing and by Thursday, it was just one more thing added to the list of things going wrong. I just prayed "Lord, give me strength, I need it, because I'm at breaking point."
Fast Forward to the end of the third quarter of the game. I had been sitting since it started, it was a million degrees in the stadium, UK was playing horrible and we were seated around some pretty obnoxious, annoying people. I just couldn't take it anymore. I told the crew I was leaving, that I just needed to go to bed. I needed a new day, a new week even, because obviously, these past 10 days, had just not been on my side..... Again, fighting off tears, I hobbled out of the stadium and got in a taxi van with 2 sweet older women from WKU.
This is where my, what I like to call  "God ordained encounter" occurred. After realizing I was hurt, she asked me what happened, then revealed to me that she was recovering from a broken shoulder. Since I suffered from one several years ago, I was able to share some things that worked for me while I was recovering. As we pulled into their hotel, she thanked me for providing her with such helpful hints and then told me she was glad I happened to be in the same cab as she because she had been trying to figure some ways to help her get back to normal. It made my night a tad better to know I had helped someone out and her warm smile and well wishes made me smile.
As they left it was just me and the taxi driver. If you've ever ridden in a taxi with me, you know I like to talk to the drivers. I cant stand that awkward silence, but that night I wasn't in the mood to socialize. However, something in me, (which I now know was God) said to ask the driver where he was from. I did, and he replied "Ethiopia." "Ethiopia!" My fact lit up. I LOVE Africa. Ever since I was in highschool, I had dreamed of going to Africa.... I finally got to journey there in 2008 and I now sponsor a young girl from there. So basically, when I meet people from there, I get excited!
"I know a few people in the process of adopting from Ethopia," I told him. "Really?!" he said with a huge grin. "Yes! In fact, I've been to Africa. Not Ethiopia, but South Africa and Malawi." "Wow!" he said and we spent the next min or two talking about Africa. It's as if he never really had anyone care about the fact that he was from there. That he had always wanted to share about the amazing continent from which he was from, but no one cared to ask. Our talks about Africa led into talks about his family and his two precious children. He explained how although life in Ethiopia was hard, life in America was hard as well. We discussed the starvation of so many children in Africa and how so many Americans are just so wasteful sometimes. He told me they have no one to help with their children at home because their family is back in Ethiopia, but that overall life in America is better for his children so they will stay.  By this time, we had arrived at my hotel and my near tears had faded. I knew, at that very moment, that God had used me (in all my hot mess of emotions) to share His love with this man. That although my day and week had been awful, that this man needed me to listen to him and share in his life; if even for an 8 min cab ride..... I reached in my purse to find the $20 Michael had given me at the stadium and I couldn't find it. I panicked and he said, in his broken English "No worry! No worry! I cover it for you." I knew the money was in there, I knew he needed it way more than me,  and I quickly prayed again, "Lord, I need to find this money!" I found it and gave it all to him. He went to give me change and I said "No! You take every bit of this extra money and buy your sweet babies a gift." Although it was only an extra $12, it was all I had, but once again his face lit up like a child on Christmas morning. "Thank you! God bless you! God bless you!" He repeated over and over again as I left the taxi....
Even in my worst day, the moment where I thought things were totally unraveling in my life, God used me. He placed me in a situation where I was able to bless someone, and in return, I was blessed. Ten-fold. Suddenly I knew that my bad day had a purpose all along. Had I not been at that game, and I not be annoyed, had I not be exhausted, I wouldn't have left when I did. And had I not left when I did, I more than likely would not have been in that taxi and met him, nor the lady with the broken shoulder. Even on our awful, terrible, horrible, no good very bad days and weeks, God can and WILL use us. He will also place people in our paths who simply make our hearts smile- just when our heart is so longing for a smile :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Scrumptious Sunday.....On A Monday

This is another super easy, super delish, great crowd pleaser! Healthy? Not so much. Delish? Yes. Very

This cake has two names: 1) 100 hole cake and 2) Better Than Sex cake....I believe the first was created for those who blush at the word "sex" and for those church pot lucks or other situations where people are just too embarrassed to say the word. ha! Regardless, the cake is YUM and is loved by all!!

1 box German chocolate cake mix
1 tub of Cool-Whip (I use the sugar free option, but any will work)
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 bottle of carmel topping (I use Smuckers brand in the squeezey jar)
1 package of crushed up Heath Bar pieces

-Make the cake according to directions on the box.
-Immediately after removing the cake from the oven, make lots of holes throughout the entire cake (typically about 100) 
-Pour the entire can of sweetened condensed milk and about 1/4 of the carmel on top of the entire cake allowing it to soak into the holes
-Let cake cool
-Add Cool Whip to cover the entire cake (this is your icing)
-Add another 1/4 of the carmel and top with the crushed up Heath Bar pieces
-Slice and enjoy!!

Happy Cake Making!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bachelor Pad 2

Ohhh there are so many things I could say about Bachelor Pad 2.. It's one hot mess of a show, but I cant stop watching. I have M hooked on it as well and it's become our Monday night entertainment. Sick?! Maybe, but it has. Now, it's not all bad- Hello Ames and Jackie.... A-DOR-A-BLE...that limo scene was priceless :) And we cant forget the Mask returning at the end of each, so, funny!!!

But really ABC,the egg tossing things at girls who are thought to be most unattractive?! That was low, even for you.  And ohhhh Viena, Kasey, and Jake....Drama-o-rama!! She's a hot mess and Kasey seems to be right there with her in the crazy department. Why they havent been voted off just yet, beats me! But when I think about it, what will we have to watch each week if they're gone?!
Speaking of Kasey, M can do the most perfect impression of him that will have you crying from laughter. It's amazing- really. Have him do it for you the next time you see him ;)

I could keep going, but now I've not only wasted two Monday nights watching it, I've wasted a Wednesday night blogging about it! Ha!
Enjoy Jimmy Kimmel's skit on what happens when they lose on BP2 ;)

Happy Viewing,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Travel Tip Tuesday :)

If you open up my wallet you will find lots of reward cards related to travel i.e. Hilton Honors, Sky Miles, AAdvantage, Choice Hotels, Air Tran A + Rewards, and so on. I have a lot of them and when people see them, they tell I'm pretty ridiculous, BUT there's a purpose behind these cards. I promise. They get you upgrades and better service, almost 100% of the time..... and the best part is.....they are all FREE to have :)

1. Case in point: When flying Southwest a few years ago, our plane got stuck in a severe storm; it took a beating and we were forced to make an emergency landing. Yes, emergency, but that's another story all in itself! We had to spend the night in Birmingham and take flights home to Louisville the next morning. While at the ticket counter re-booking our flight, the ticket counter lady said that anyone who was a member of the Southwest Rapid Rewards program got first pick of the flights for the next day. I didn't have a card at the time and didn't get first pick. Drats. After realizing it was a free program, I learned my lesson: Sign up!

2. After returning home from Mexico and having yet another crazy flying adventure (pray you're never on a flight with me, I'm cursed with flying drama), I emailed corporate, informed them that I was an AAdvantage Member ( I had only flown them once prior and just applied for my card in October) that I was dissatisfied, and instantly received enough points to fly to the Caribbean....Yes, Caribbean.For Free. Yes. Yes. and Yes.

3. When checking in at the Double Tree Nashville (which was booked at half price via Hotwire) and showing my Hilton Honors card, we were immediately given a large corner room with extra space, just because I was a cardholder and despite the fact that I only paid $80 for a $165 room!! Thank you Honors Card!!!

and the list could go on.......Point being, hotels and airlines like people who are frequent visitors. They LOVE their customers and want to keep them happy so they do small things to insure happiness remains. What business wouldn't want to keep their frequent customers happy?!   They figure people who have their frequent customer/rewards cards are repeat customers because why else would someone go through the process of getting a card if they weren't a frequent customer?! Most people wont, but I do, and it has totally paid off!!! I promise you it works or I wouldn't bother applying for them every time I stay at a new hotel chain or fly a new airline. So go on, grab those cards and don't be afraid to flash them to the employees and enjoy those upgrades and free amenities!!

Happy Traveling,

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Scrumptious Sunday- Buffalo Dip

I originally posted this recipe back when I started this blog in spring of 2010. I made it again on Saturday for my cousin's bridal shower because she's a big fan of buffalo chicken. Everyone LOVED it because it really is so, so, good!!! I figure with tailgating season approaching, it's worth sharing again!
The best part is, its SUPER easy to make!

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Dip

-2 (10-12oz) cans of chicken. I use Wal-Mart brand chicken, but you can use any type.
-2 (8oz) packages of cream cheese. I used the 1/3 fat cheese to save on calories
-3/4 cup of hot sauce. I used Frank's Red Hot
-1 cup ranch dressing. I use Hidden Valley low fat ranch
-2 cups mild cheddar cheese. Once again, low fat works
Dump everything in the crock pot- let cook on high for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, and you're ready to go!! I love it with celery and/or tortilla chips!
Happy Dip Making

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Coupon website!

I found this website the other night while ordering something online. It was sheer accident that I clicked on the link to it, but I'm glad I did, because it saved me $9 on my order!!! 
People go to the website and enter coupon codes for various companies and such, which in turn, you can use when making your purchases. Next to each company's code it shows how reliable the code is for that particular offer. Some codes aren't super reliable, but the one I used had 98% reliablity and it worked right away! Yay!!! I hope it saves ya'll some money as well!!!

Happy Saving

Monday, August 8, 2011

Scrumptious Sunday.....On A Monday

I meant to post this last night and forgot. So here's the Scrumptious Sunday....on a Monday!
This is, by far, one of my most favorite chicken recipes!! I made it for my Bunco girls in June and they all LOVED it! It's So easy and so so yummy!!

image borrowed from Google, but when cooked it looks like this :)

I call it Pattie Haley Chicken
Here's the story behind that because people are always like you're making what?! haha :)  I had it a lady named Pattie Haley's house when I was in elementary school. She was in my parents' class at church and invited us over for dinner one night where she made it. I loved it then, and always requested that mom make Pattie Haley Chicken. Now, I have no clue where Pattie Haley is at today, but if you may know her somehow, you can tell her that I still make her uh-mazing chicken!!

-Boneless, skinless chicken breast- I typically use one pack of Harvestland Farms Organic Tenderloins
-1 can of 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
-1/4 to 1/2 cup of low fat sour cream (add your personal preference for creaminess)
-1 packet of dry Italian dressing mix
-Monetary Jack cheese for topping

1. Pre-heat oven to 350
2. In shallow baking pan lay chicken breasts side by side
3. In bowl, mix soup, Italian dressing mix, and sour cream
4. Pour mix over chicken
5. Top with shredded cheese
6. Bake for 45-1 hour or until done- It's THAT easy!!!

I typically serve it with potatoes and green beans! I like to use the extra sauce for a gravy on the potatoes! Yumm-a-licious!

*Although I've never made it in a crock pot, I'm pretty sure it would be great when cooked that way as well!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Patio furniture re-do!

I had great intentions of blogging all summer long.... really, I did. I would find great deals, websites, bargains, recipes, etc and I kept saying "Oh, that is going on the blog!" And you see how well I did with keeping up with it. Terrible. But alas, here's another post....4 months later! You can thank my broken toe for forcing me to stay home, relax for a few days, and get caught up on things!

We have been getting M's house ready to sell and of course, I jumped at the opportunity to bust out my HGTV Design on a Dime skills and go to work. We have been doing lots of great updates, which I'm excited to share once everything is complete, and the best part is, we are doing it on a small budget! If you know me well, you know how much fun I've been having (Dear HGTV, hire me. Seriously.) M says I'm a bit ridiculous, but he loves me anyway ;)

Here is our $30 Adirondack sofa/table re-do. This was given to Michael by someone in his family and it has simply set on his deck for the past few years. It was nothing much to look at, but I knew it had potential and I LOVE our final product. 

Looking so rough, but with SO much potential

4 cans of spray paint allowed for 2 good coats: These were $3-4 per can from Lowes!                   

We base coated the entire thing- top and bottom, let sit overnight then finished the next day.

We decided to add some bright red accents to jazz it up a little and make it very Cape Cod-esque! We found $5 cushions at Ikea. Make sure you have scissors because they were FULL of tags.
Tag overload, don't you think?!
A quick trip to the Meijer's summer clearance section and we found 2, $7 candy apple red lanterns and we were finished! Here's the final product!

Bad lighting in this pic. It looks SO good in person :)

Coming soon, the matching picnic table :)