Friday, September 30, 2011

The Story of Us

One Monday night in June after slaving retail hours I met my Dad and my friend Katie out at a local burger place for dinner and a few drinks. I was still swearing off guys at this point and had no interest in anything other than having fun and living my single life. Across the bar sat a seemingly good-looking guy wearing a hat. My friend Katie kept nudging me saying, "Ashley, that guy keeps looking over here! He's hot!" Being the newly carefree bad ass that I was I quickly snapped back, "I can't even see his face with that stupid hat over his eyes."

Fast forward to the next night, Tuesday (see I told you I was living the party life... two week nights out at two different bars. Who was I?!). It was karaoke night at another local bar. I met Katie and a group of friends out. It was my turn to buy our group a round of drinks but the bar was full. I hesitantly tapped on a random guy's shoulder (hesitantly because he was sitting with a girl) to ask him to get the bartender's attention. He puts his hand up, waves, the bartender sees him, brings him another beer, and then disappears. "Damn, I was about to leave, I didn't even want another drink!" says the guy. I told him not to worry about it and that I'd pay for it since he was trying to help me out.

The next thing he says... "Hey, weren't you at Cheeseburger in Paradise last night?" I flash back through my mind. Oh my goodness, it's the guy in the hat! "Oh yeah! I think I saw you there!" He wasn't wearing a hat tonight and I could clearly see he was not only seemingly good-looking but actually was full-blown good-looking. We talked the rest of the night and exchanged numbers since he was new to the area and looking to meet cool people (which obviously, I was. Ha.) Oh, and that girl he was with? Just a friend. He thought she was a cool person too but it turns out she was pretty lame.

Moving on, it turned out we were both single as of 8 months ago. I knew I was going back to Arizona in a few months so I really wasn't looking for anything more than a friendship. He didn't want anything serious either. Except, you know what happens to plans? Yeah. It got serious. So in September we drove cross-country together from PA to AZ to take me, my car, and my belongings back to ASU.

Denver, CO - one of our stops on our cross-country trip

One of Shawn's trips to AZ
One of my trips home to PA

At this point we were both a little hesitant since our relationship was so new. Long distance after only dating a couple months? Yeah right. I still had 1.5 years of college left (I was on the 5 year plan since I transferred and lost a ton of credits). But, it worked. I flew home and/or he flew to Arizona each month. The long distance sucked but we made it work. We got through it. It wasn't easy, but we did it. And now we're married, so overall I'd call that a success story.

Shawn is the most hard-working, motivated, and self-sufficient person I have ever met in my entire life. He has drive like you wouldn't believe. The word "can't" does not exist in his vocabulary. Failure is not an option for him. Like I said, he's a rule-breaker and does not let anyone hold him back. He has given me motivation and drive that I didn't even know I had in me. He makes me want to be a better person. We balance each other out like crazy yet in some ways we are so similar it's scary. I married Shawn not only for the man he is today, but for the father I know he will be in the future. Our story is still relatively new, but I am really looking forward to all the chapters yet to come.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Back Stories

On my way to work on yesterday morning I kept thinking about my husband and how I wanted to write a blog post about him, and about us. Before I get into our story, here is each of our back stories.

Her Story
I was born and raised in the upper-middle class suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. My senior year of high school I decided I needed a change. I was sick of suburbia and wanted to experience the real world. So, I started my college years at Temple University (in the heart of North Philadelphia - about as diverse and opposite of suburbia as it comes). I was at Temple for two years before I decided to follow my high school boyfriend to Arizona State University. After over four years of being together, we promptly broke up about three months after I arrived in the Grand Canyon State (that is totally an entire blog post for another day).

Fast forward three more months, and I turned the wonderful age of 21 in February. Being newly single and newly legal, I went through quite a party girl stage. Needless to say, once the semester let out in May and I was back home in Pennsylvania for the summer, I was on the loose ready to have a little fun. The very last thing on my mind was a boyfriend and I was solely focused on having fun with my friends.

I had re-figured my life out after my original plan to be with my high school boyfriend 4eva fell through (thank the LORD because honestly, what was I thinking?). You see, I'm a planner by nature, so I had it all set that I was swearing off guys and was going to wait until after college to start dating anyone again. Funny thing about plans? They don't always work out. 

Me, Summer 2007

His Story
Shawn's story starts in North Carolina. He was literally raised on a farm and is a true country boy at heart. He had never loved his hometown and knew he had to get out. He was ready for a change. A friend offered him a job in Annapolis, Maryland so he packed up and left. Literally, he was offered the job on a Tuesday, quit his current job on a Friday, and moved to Maryland on a Sunday. That's Shawn's style. He's a rebel (sexy right?).

His mama always told him not to join the military (he joined without even consulting with her first and let her know he was leaving for boot camp in a matter of days), don't fly on airplanes because they crash (he was Airborne in the Army and not only flew on planes but jumped out of them), and don't marry a Yankee girl (just kidding on that one...I hope). Anyway. He quickly proved himself and moved up the ranks in the company and was offered a promotion in Pennsylvania. Not one to turn an opportunity down, he took the offer and began living in a hotel in the suburbs of Philadelphia where he knew no one. He didn't really have a plan except to succeed, and that's all he really needed.

Shawn, Summer 2007

Check back tomorrow for the story on how we met...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fill in the Blank Friday

I haven't had too much to say lately, so instead I'm linking up with Lauren @ the little things we do for a little fun! 

1.   The best thing I did all week was try a Zumba class!

2.  Weekends make me super happy.

3.  Pets are equal to family. 

4.  My little family is the best thing about my life.

5.  With the cooler weather I am looking forward to lazy Sundays in sweatpants watching football.

6.  Something that's on my "wish list" right now is clothes that fit! I barely have any since I've lost weight.

7.  This weekend I am going to attend a good friend's wedding and go to an amusement park with my husband (weather permitting).

Monday, September 19, 2011


I'm going to preface this blog post by making a shocking announcement. Are you ready? Brace yourselves...

For the past 8 weeks I have been going to see a counselor.

Shock. Gasp. Ohmygosh. Are you judging me? Are you over it? Okay, good. Let's move on.

Now that we've cleared the air, I want to talk about one of my sessions. It involved a conversation about the word should.

"I should go to the gym."
"I should eat a salad for dinner instead of a big greasy cheeseburger."
"I should go back to school to get my Master's degree."

Do any of these sound familiar? I can't be the only one plaguing my life with should's.

Now let's examine how much of a negative connotation this word holds. By labeling things we should or should not do, we are basically setting ourselves up for failure. We're making whatever that thing we should(n't) be doing so!negative! and we are completely criticizing ourselves in the process. Why would we do that to ourselves?

I say we stop making excuses. If you don't want to go to the gym or eat a salad for dinner, own it. If a healthy lifestyle is one you're after, great. One off day now and again isn't going to throw your plan completely off if you've truly committed yourself to a goal. I actually believe if you deprive yourself of things you want to eat but "shouldn't" then you're more likely to derail your overall plan than if you give in one time. (Disclaimer: I'm fully aware everyone is different. I'm only speaking for myself here.)

Anyway. I'm on a mission to rid myself of the should's in my life. Here is my new goal: either do it, or don't do it. It's a waste of time and breath exclaiming what I should be doing. No more excuses. I'm going to stop setting myself up for failure and I'm going to start owning my decisions. This is an important step I'm taking on my quest for gratitude and latitude. I'm going to accept my flaws and be grateful for the choices I'm allowed to make.

Is anyone with me? Ready. Go.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


According to, latitude is defined a couple different ways...

1. Geography .

a. the angular distance north or south from the equator of a point on the earth's surface, measured on the meridian of the point.
b. a place or region as marked by this distance.
2. freedom from narrow restrictions; freedom of action, opinion, etc.
Both of these definitions mean a great deal to me.
I'm a traveler. I'll go anywhere you ask me to go with a smile on my face. One of my favorite places I've ever been is Annapolis, MD.
Downtown Annapolis Sunset

 Annapolis holds many favorable memories for me. It's the first place my husband ever took me on a trip.
One of our first pictures together in June 2007, Annapolis, MD
It's also a place that I've met some wonderful people who have become amazing friends. Annapolis is a different atmosphere and I love the nautical feel and old town appeal. Most of all, it's beautiful. All of the above reasons and more are why Shawn and I consider this one of our favorite places to go.
So one day in 2009 while driving around, we started joking about getting "matching" tattoos. We quickly nixed getting names or dates but still wanted to do something meaningful. We decided on the latitude & longitude of Annapolis, MD.

His ribs
My foot (needs retouching, don't judge)

The second definition of latitude goes deeper than a place and numerical coordinates. Freedom. To me, this means freedom to be who we are truly capable of being and accepting who we truly are. Letting go of the restrictions that hold us back whether they be physical, mental, emotional, whatever. Sometimes our latitude is where we need the most help. It's where we're slacking but have the ability to better ourselves. It's also where we recognize our shortcomings and accept ourselves for who we really are, flaws and all.

Both definitions of latitude include a journey and a destination. One is physical while the other is more spiritual. Both of these are important in my life and I'm grateful for all of my "travels" whether they be external or internal.

What does latitude mean to you? Have you ever thought about it as the second definition?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


My friend Carly started a gratitude journal a while back. I always found it to be such a great and inspiring idea, but just never made it to the office supply store to buy myself a notebook (um, lazy much?).

On September 11, 2011 - the 10 year anniversary of our nation's tragedy - I watched along with the rest of the world tear-jerking video clips, memorials, documentaries, and even commercials that paid respect to the heroes and victims of that infamous day. It really has a way of smacking you in the face and making everyone pull together for our nation, doesn't it? It also served as a great reminder of everything I have to be thankful for and how blessed I truly am. I'm ashamed to admit that sometimes I need a wake up call to make me realize I shouldn't take anything for granted.

This is the day I decided to finally start my gratitude journal. I guess if there was a day worth waiting for, this would be it. So now, every night before I go to bed, I jot down three things that I was grateful for that day. Sometimes it's silly things like a hot shower, and sometimes it's more meaningful like a person or a feeling. Whatever the three things may be, they are a nice reminder of what I have, how far I've come, and where I'd like to go. Not every day is going to be a good day, I know this. But I like that with this journal I am forced to stop and think of a few happy things even after I have a rough day.

Do you have a special way of reminding yourself of what made you happy each day? Do you blog about it, journal about it, or just keep it locked in your memory?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Awkward First Post

Welcome to my first awkward blog post. Hopefully this will also serve as my last awkward post since I'm planning on sticking around and doing the whole blog thing for a while (and hoping to get more of a flow going, ya know). I can't promise you that you'll find any of what I have to say interesting, but I can promise you that this will serve as a great outlet and memory box for me. I've been contemplating starting a blog for over a year now and finally built up the courage to do so with a little push from some awesome blog ladies (Katie, Susan, Lyryn - oh hey!) that I've enjoyed following.

So here we go, I'll try and make this as painless as possible...

I'm Ashley. I'm 25 and married to a handsome Southern gentleman named Shawn. He plays guitar and his accent comes out when he's mad. I like to talk a lot. I'm obsessed with my dog Isaac and I treat him like he's a real baby (yeah, we're those people). I'm a lover of all-thing-Philadelphia, especially the Phillies. I've moved across the country and back again but I have learned that no matter where I go, my heart is where my home is. Guacamole is my favorite food. Sometimes I have really nice things to say but don't say them the right way and they come out completely wrong. I'm working on that one. I'm a Christian who is trying to find her way. I don't know all of the versus and I haven't read all of the books of the Bible, but I'm working on that one too. I'm a control freak who is learning to let go. I'm a firm believer that a smiling, happy face is a beautiful face. I want to remember all of the things I have to be grateful for and never forget how far I've come. So, here goes nothing...