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