Seasons May Change

9.27.2014

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Though you can’t tell by looking out the window, fall has officially arrived. I must say that spending autumn in the south is super bizarre. At home, I would feel the crunch of fallen leaves under my heels, by now. I would be layering up and always keeping an extra jacket or sweater handy for when those night chills arrived. I would be walking around our tiny town’s Oktoberfest, stuffing my face full of fair fries, and I definitely would have visited the apple orchard, by now.

Despite the fact that our leaves are still green, and 80 degrees is still our norm, signs of the season changing are all around us. There’s Fall Harvest Woodchuck in the stores, which by the way will change your life, pumpkin-flavored everything is everywhere, and my Halloween decorations are officially up. My favorite time of the year has arrived!

As for my little family, the three of us loaded up this morning and headed to the Forsyth Farmer’s Market. Capone was one of many prancing pups out and about, and I scored $20 worth of gorgeous flowers, fresh produce, homemade bread, and of course, I had to grab a little pumpkin for the apartment. I’m always thrilled when I get to spend the day with my boys, especially when those days fall smack dab in the middle of a long weekend. HEAVEN!

This lovely day also brought a phone call from one of my dear friends from back home. 90 minutes of girl talk can really do a lot for a girl’s spirit, even if her spirits are already pretty high. It’s definitely an adjustment being away from all of my close girl friends, but it warms my heart knowing that they’re just a phone call away, and that we can always pick up right where we left off. I will always be grateful for these girls. They’ve been there for everything from the days when we would play with Furbies in elementary school to the first time I drank too much cranberry vodka and they sat with me through the night to graduations to weddings, and now one of our Fab Five is expecting a little one, and I am beyond honored to call her my friend, as she and her hubby begin this new chapter in their lives.

Growing up is weird, and frankly, so is life, but I’m so thankful to be on this crazy ride. It always helps to take a step back, once in awhile, and just appreciate your blessings.

Thanks for reading, friends. I’ll be back soon!

xoxoxo
Ash

 

Give a Blank Wall Some TLC

9.22.2014

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Let’s face it – sometimes home decorating can be a pain. You actually have to find the time to plan and put together a project, and there’s also that whole money thing to worry about. Caleb and I have lived in our apartment for close to three years, now, and I swear, things are just now falling into place. Of course, all of this is happening just as we’re getting ready to move again, within six months or so, but HEY! Progress is progress, right?

The truth is that it takes time to create a homey atmosphere, especially when you’re just starting out. The best advice I can give is to let it happen slowly. Save your money, and focus on one room at a time. After awhile, you’ll begin to see your space brighten up and really feel like yours. Candles, lamps, photos, accent rugs – if you go and buy it all at once, you may have a slight heart attack. Unless you find some killer deals at a thrift store, don’t feel rushed.

This is exactly what we did when we moved into our apartment. We went from room to room, adding bookshelves, curtains, a desk here, a dresser there, etc. a little at a time. The room that we focused on last, however, was our bedroom. Typically, the only people who see that room is us, so it wasn’t really at the top of my priority list. Recently, I became super inspired by these gorgeous canvas prints from Tiny Prints and really wanted to work them into our décor, somehow. The problem was that pretty much all of my wall space was filled.

But wait! There was one wall! So, in the bedroom, they went.

When I snapped the photos for the two canvases I ordered, I wanted them to be representative of sleep and relaxation. It might seem a little weird to photograph my arms and Caleb’s feet and hang them on our wall, but they turned out really well, and I loved watching my vision come to life.

Initially, I wanted to buy big, individual letters and spell out You & Me. Then, I changed my mind to Sleep Tight, because it was more fitting with my sleep theme. Eventually, I scrapped those ideas, altogether, when I discovered how crazy expensive it was going to be to buy all of the letters at once. Instead, I focused on pieces that would complement the canvas prints, like mirrors and romantic wall art, and I assembled them, sort of like a puzzle that filled the entire space above our dresser. Organized chaos, if you will, which is pretty representative of us.

Also, since we’re living that apartment life, we can’t paint the walls, so I wanted to add pops of color to brighten up the room, so that’s where the love birds and the ‘E’ come into play.

I had so much fun putting this wall together, and it makes me want to spend more time in that room, even if it’s just to gaze at my personal masterpiece. When you’re working on your own space, allow your mind to change and toy with different ideas. Don’t get stuck on an idea that doesn’t feel fun and exciting as everything comes together. Interior styling should be an adventure!

Happy Decorating!

xoxoxo
Ash

Taking Stock (4)

9.06.2014

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It’s been a little while since I’ve done one of these, so I figured, why not? I haven’t taken a ton of photos, lately, therefore I don’t have much to showcase, but these little posts are always fun, so, here goes!

Making: Lots of packages for Graveface! :D
Cooking: A little of this and a little of that. We’ve been chowing down on plenty of veggies, chili, and casseroles.
Drinking : Water, red wine, tea, and coffee.
Reading: A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin. My journey through Game of Thrones continues! We’re even all caught up with the show, now.
Wanting: To put up my Halloween decorations. Husband insists that it’s still too early, but what does he know?
Looking: At the TV. I’ve been binge-watching shows on Netflix this morning, since Caleb is at work.
Playing: All kinds of new vinyl that I picked up from Graveface. Chelsea Wolfe, Modest Mouse, Smashing Pumpkins, and Haley Bonar.
Wasting: Last sips of tea.
Sewing: Ha!
Wishing: For a new computer and a snazzy pair of fall boots.
Enjoying: Being with Capone. Poor guy has had a rough couple of days, suffering from another allergic reaction. Things seem to be back under control now, though, and he’s resting at my feet.
Waiting: For American Horror Story and Sons of Anarchy to begin!
Liking: All the Halloween stuff that’s starting to make its appearance in stores. Let’s eat ALLLL the trick-or-treat candy!
Wondering: What everyone back home is up to today.
Loving: New dresses in my closet.
Hoping: To have a horror movie marathon later this evening.
Marveling: At the moon. Well, not right this second, but I was last night!
Needing: To get motivated to do my yoga today.
Smelling: My Farmer’s Market Yankee Candle.
Wearing: A short, floral dress with a fun cut-out in the back.
Following: Politics. At least trying to.
Noticing: Leaves beginning to change color. Slowly, but surely.
Knowing: That everything happens for a reason.
Thinking: That I should be reading.
Bookmarking: The same thing that I’m reading. A Feast for Crows.
Opening: Boxes of Club W wine each month!
Giggling: At just about everything Tyrion Lannister says. Particularly, “I am the god of tits and wine.”
Feeling: Restless, because there are so many things to get done!

I’ll update soon! Happy Weekend, friends!

xoxoxo
Ash

Simple Summer Dinner: Santa Fe Stuffed Peppers and Broccoli Salad

8.28.2014

Santa Fe Stuffed Pepper Recipe via ohfancy-that.com

I’ve really been in the cooking spirit, lately. Caleb and I are proud of the fact that even though we love going out to eat, we try not to make a habit out of it. When I take the initiative to make dishes at home, everyone wins. We have leftovers to enjoy, are being kinder to our bodies, not to mention our pocketbooks, and that homebody husband of mine doesn’t have to go back out after a long day at work.

Of course, there are nights when the last thing that I want to do is head out to the kitchen to prepare a meal – I am normal, ya know – but lately, I’ve been doing my best to make meal plans, and last night, I decided to try something new.

First of all, I hate stuffed peppers. My grandma used to make hers with sauerkraut, and, despite the fact that I am very German, sauerkraut and I are not friends. I think it’s smelly, and I hate the taste. These peppers, however, are made without that dreaded ingredient, and I indulged a little by making my favorite broccoli salad as a side. The process for the main dish, though it takes a little while, is super simple, I had hardly any clean-up, which I’m always a fan of, and the meal, itself, was not terrible. I doused mine with Tabasco sauce, of course, which gave it the heat that I needed, and I actually quite enjoyed it. Ya know – as much as a stuffed pepper-hater can enjoy stuffed peppers.

Santa Fe Stuffed Pepper Recipe via ohfancy-that.com

I decided, instead of typing everything out, that I would make a couple of recipe cards, just in case anyone wanted to save them and print them out. I’m just trying to make your lives a tiny bit easier. :]

Behold!

Santa Fe Stuffed Pepper Recipe via ohfancy-that.com

So, that’s that for the stuffed peppers! I’m sorry the text for the actual directions probably merits a magnifying glass, but I wanted to make sure that I didn’t leave anything out. This dish could easily be made vegetarian by omitting the turkey, or, instead, using MorningStar recipe  crumbles.

COOKING TIP: When making things like rice and quinoa, use a vegetable or chicken broth/stock in place of water. It gives you a much more flavorful end result!

So, let’s get on with the rest of the meal!

Easy Broccoli Salad Recipe via ohfancy-that.com

For this one, you can sort of play with the ingredient amounts. It’s one of those recipes that’s kind of hard to screw up, and when I make it, I don’t measure anything. I just eyeball how everything is looking, and usually, I add a little extra red onion, because it’s my fave. This is a great dish to take to those end-of-summer picnics and cookouts, and I promise, it will be a hit.

Okay, readers, that’s all for now. Check back soon for more updates!

xoxoxo
Ash

6 of the Worst Marriage Clichés/Sayings

8.27.2014

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In just a few short months, Husband and I will be coming up on four years of marriage. Now, I know that’s not a SUPER long time, but we’ve already outlived a number of Hollywood marriages, and that has to say something, right? Ours is not the perfect marriage, as no one’s is, but every day, I learn a thing, or two, that helps us grow.

One thing that I’ve learned is that there are multiple clichés/sayings, out there, that are meant to be helpful and amusing, when it comes to marriage. The reality of it is that they are actually obnoxious and sometimes arrogant, and they should never be followed/encouraged.

Don’t go to bed angry; stay up and fight. I’m sorry, but there are times when you actually should go to bed angry. When it’s nearing midnight, you’re both tired, and you’ve been running around in circles, arguing about basically nothing for the last 45 minutes, you need to know when to call it quits. From my experience, nothing good ever comes from staying up and arguing; it just makes things worse. If the issue absolutely needs resolved, get a good night’s sleep, and revisit it the next day, when your eyes are no longer glazed over.

Start each day with a clean slate. This one goes hand-in-hand with the above cliché. If there are still things that need hashed out, the slate isn’t exactly clean. A more appropriate version of this saying would be, “Start each day with a clear head.” Don’t just ignore things and hope that they go away. I promise they’ll come back up later, with a vengeance.

However, once peace has been made with an issue, don’t keep bringing it up during later arguments.

You and your spouse should have similar hobbies. I mean, if you and your husband happen to meet in the middle on some things, that’s awesome. You should definitely have hobbies that you like doing together, but differences are what keep things exciting! Definitely have interests that are your very own.

More important than having the same hobbies, know when to take one for the team and do something with your spouse that you don’t absolutely love doing, just for the sake of doing it together. Caleb doesn’t adore wandering around Forever 21 with me, just like I’m not usually dying to go to gun/Army surplus stores with him. Sacrifices, man. Sacrifices.

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Marriage is just fancy word to adopt an over-grown male child, who is no longer handled by his parents. Any variation of the dumb husband or nagging wife quotes drive me insane. For my hometown friends, who know what The Varsity Grille is, there’s nothing like walking into the ladies’ room and seeing quotes like, “Marriage is the only war where you’re sleeping with the enemy,” among other brilliant marriage-related quotes, plastered on the wall.

Sayings that degrade marriage and the people in it aren’t helping anyone. Of course, it’s important to have a sense of humor, but not at the expense of your spouse. In the words of Taylor Swift, “Why ya gotta be so mean?”

Honey-do lists. No. Nope. Forget it. If I walked in, and my husband had hand-written a list of all the shit that I needed to accomplish around the house/errands that needed to be run, that would probably be one of those nights when I’d have to go to bed angry. I am not a child. I do not need to be told what to do by my husband, and I’m sure it’s equally annoying when a man comes home to a honey-do list on the counter, signed with a lipstick print.

Instead of the honey-do list, just ask your spouse (nicely) to fix the leaky faucet, take out the trash, or whatever it is that needs done to help lighten your load.

Any reference to the ol’ ball-and-chain. Does it really make anyone feel good to be referred to as an item that was used to restrain prisoners? Especially in reference to marriage? Just think about that for a second.

Can all of these things just go away? Pretty, please?

Obviously, I’m no marriage counselor; these are just some things I’ve noticed. Every marriage is different, and we’re all doing our best, so if you’ve found what works, even if it is a silly cliché, just keep doing what you’re doing.

Are there any marriage quotes, pieces of advice, or sayings that you’re tired of hearing? I’d love to read your thoughts!

xoxoxo
Ash

 

My Journey Through Yoga

8.26.2014

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^ And sometimes, you fall. And that’s cool, too. ^

Ours is a very fitness-conscious household. Okay, let me rephrase that – my husband is a very fitness-conscious man. (Ya know – with the Army, and all.) When you’re married to someone who becomes lethargic and bummed out when he misses a day or two of working out, you tend to think a little bit about yourself. Surprisingly, it is difficult to indulge on Oreos, while your hubby is out at the gym.

For awhile, I would go with Caleb, and we would do workouts together. He would help my with postures, spot me when the weights were getting a little out of my control, and give me constructive criticism, as well as plenty of positive feedback. I always felt good walking out of the gym, but, like any normal person in the world, I didn’t love walking in. And I sure as hell wasn’t going to go out of my way to go there when Caleb was working, which is, you know, always.

So, I needed an alternative.

One day, I locked eyes with my yoga mat (let’s pretend, for a moment, that yoga mats even have eyes), that had gone unused for far too long. I decided to pick it back up, again, and, if it killed me, I was going to stick with it this time. And so far, I have. And it’s been life-changing.

I love challenging my body to do things I never, in my life, thought it was capable of. I look forward to stepping on the mat and just being with myself and my breath, trying new poses, feeling my arms shake when they’re working hard and my muscles stretch. I love looking in the mirror and actually seeing results and feeling poses get a tiny bit easier each day.

What I love the most about yoga, though, is that it’s all about inner peace. When you have a head like mine that’s constantly going and thinking, it’s refreshing to work on your mind while you also work on your body. When those thoughts pop into my head, reminding me of all the stuff I still need to get done that day, yoga is a time when I am doing exactly what I need to be doing at that very second, and everything else gets put on hold. Yoga is a time to clean out the clutter.

Honestly, yoga branches out into just about every aspect of life. This journey has also made me a little more mindful of what I eat, encouraged me to drink more water and tea, and even to get my temper in check. When something irritates me throughout the day, because I can be an extremely irritable person, it makes a world of difference just to stop, take a few deep breaths, and reach for that calm that I find on the mat.

I am beyond thankful that I’ve found something fitness-related that I can be passionate about, and I’m excited to continue practicing and growing. Even if my poses aren’t perfect at first, someday they will be (hopefully!), and until then, I can be proud that I’m taking a bit of time every day to just work on me, inside and out.

If you are thinking about practicing, just DO it! Do what you can, and enjoy yourself. It’s all about the journey, and I promise it will be worth it.

I also can’t want until this Savannah heat calms down a little, so I can begin my outdoor running routine, again! Come on, fall! Where are you?

xoxoxo
Ash

 

To the Future Military Wife, There Are Some Things You Should Know

8.21.2014

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You should know that this is not a scene out of Casablanca (1942) or Dear John (2010). This is the real deal. If you’re one of those people who hops onto social media to complain when your boyfriend goes away for a couple of days, this is going to be tough for you. (Actually, it’s going to be tough, either way.) We’re talking missed holidays and important events, training cycles when your husband is gone days at a time, schools for which he’s gone weeks at a time, and deployments when it’s months at a time.

We’re talking potentially moving away from family and all you’ve ever known. You will probably have more strains on your marriage than the average civilian couple. You will eat many of your dinners solo. You might just want to get a dog, because the two of you will spend more time together than you and your husband.

If you’re like me, and dread the thought of going through pregnancy alone, trying to plan for children is a laughable, disheartening matter, because there will never be a time when your husband is consistently there. Planning vacations is going to be a challenge. Actually, planning anything, ever, throughout your entire military marriage is going to be hard. The military makes the person you’re supposed to rely on more than anyone, the most unreliable person in your life.

There are a million things that are not ideal about the military lifestyle. I, and any other spouse, could go on and on about what pisses us off, but to the future military wife, your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to make the impossible possible.

When you’re alone for months at a time, you need to have your own thing going on. You need a job, hobby, or to volunteer your time, because taking the time to focus on you is often the most important. You cannot let the Army (or whichever branch you are on your way to belonging to) BE your life. When that happens, you get those stereotypical, gossipy, bored military spouses, who live vicariously through their husbands, and that’s not good for anyone. In the midst of taking care of your hubs-to-be, don’t forget to take care of yourself.

If you want kids, you must remember that not everything can be planned (as mentioned previously). This is something that I’m still learning myself. I always joke with my husband that I’m basically going to be a single parent, whenever that time comes for us, because he’s never around. I’m always trying to think of a time when things will be calmer before we embark on that journey, and I’m really working on accepting that that time is never going to come. And when we do welcome one or two more to our family, and my husband happens to be leaving soon or is already gone, I’ll be strong. And so will you, in a similar situation.

Each of the examples I initially listed are inconvenient, frustrating, and, frankly, annoying, but none of them can break you, as long as you don’t let them. Every hurdle will be matched with a new experience and new memories that you will carry with you forever, so it’s basically the old win some, lose some saying. That’s just the way it goes.

And if you do enter into that military marriage, remember how you feel, right now. Remember the uncertainty and concerns you may have about such a drastic lifestyle change, and keep that in your back pocket. Then, when you’re a “seasoned” military spouse, and you see a new girlfriend or wife start hanging around your group of friends, reach into that back pocket and reminisce in those feelings for a moment. Then, I want you to make that new member feel welcome.

Don’t ignore or snub her. Don’t put yourself up on a pedestal and look down upon the new girl in town. Don’t speak to everyone in the group, but her. Befriend her, because let me tell you, it’s terrifying walking into a house party full of fellow military wives, for the first time, and feeling like fresh meat. It’s important to be warm and approachable.

No one is going to judge you if you decide that this isn’t for you. You should be thinking about the challenges, but if you can just accept that these trials are not the end of the world, and that your military marriage will probably not be some storybook romance, you’re going to be fine. And at the end of it all, you’ll be a much stronger woman. The things that you have the capability to overcome will truly surprise you.

xoxoxo
Ash

A Small Update

8.20.2014

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Above are a few photos that I snapped at the Savannah Wildlife Refuge a couple of weeks ago. I should have uploaded them sooner, but if I’m being honest, reading Game of Thrones has sort of owned my life, lately, so almost everything else has been put on the back burner.

We had such a lovely afternoon together at the Wildlife Refuge, despite the fact that it was around 96 degrees (I’m not even exaggerating), we had lots of fun just being together and searching for alligators. We saw a bunch that day, big and small, creeping around in the water, and there was a nice breeze every once in awhile, so I’ll chalk that up as a success. We explored routes that were a little off-the-beaten-path, and even had a lunch of the always delicious MRE! Ha!

At the end of our journey, Hubs got this girl to a Starbucks, because while I love nature and hiking, I’m also a city girl and enjoy the small luxuries of life, like an overpriced iced-latte.

As for more current news, I’ve still been working at Graveface Records, which I love. They are currently preparing for a huge release, so it’s been busy, busy, and I really enjoy being a part of the hustle and bustle! Caleb has also been working his tail off, as usual, and has recently returned to me after graduating from Jump Master. He is forever making me proud, and I love being here to celebrate those big moments with him.

My hope is to begin devoting more time to Fancy That. I’ve said that plenty of times before, I’m sure, but circumstances have recently changed, and I’ll have more time and energy to commit to my personal blog posts. I’ve been so absent from this site that I totally neglected that FT celebrated its fourth birthday on the fifth. Four years is a good chunk of time, and I love having so many fond memories in one place. Here’s to four more years!

I’ll be back soon.

xoxoxo
Ash

More Savannah Adventures

8.04.2014

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I was extremely fortunate to have my parents and my sweet cousin join me in Savannah for a bit over a week. I was over-the-moon ecstatic to have them here and to show them around this city that I now call home, especially since Husband has been away for a few weeks. It gets awfully lonely around here without him, so I was thankful for the laughter and love that filled our apartment while they were here.

As you can see by the plethora of pictures, we kept pretty busy. Our days were spent beaching it up, trying local cuisine, visiting downtown landmarks, shopping at the mall, exploring Bonaventure Cemetery, and searching for alligators at The Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, to name a few, while during the evenings, we played Uno, made dinner, enjoyed some adult beverages (those of us old enough, of course), and binge-watched Pretty Little Liars, at the request of my cousin.

Even Capone was happy for the extra companions and took a special liking to Murry, insisting that he come up on the couch and snuggle with the two of us each night. (Shh – don’t tell Caleb!)

I really hope everyone had a good time. Honestly, I can’t believe that they’re all back in Ohio, already. It seemed like their visit was over in the blink of an eye, and when I walked back into a silent apartment, it really set in how much I enjoyed and appreciated having them here.

This Savannah move has been the greatest joy. I’ve met new people, discovered new favorite local spots, interned at a record store that I’m head-over-heels in love with and that has the potential to offer a real career opportunity, and most importantly, I’m here with Caleb. This lifestyle change has been full of fun and adventure, but there’s always a space in my heart that feels empty with my family and hometown friends being so far away. I often feel like I’m missing out on the important things, back home, so when I’m able to reconnect with the ones I love, after not seeing them for awhile, I feel whole, again. I love being able to pick up right where we left off.

This past week, or so, has felt like a dream. I loved going to sleep at night, knowing they were all just on the other side of the wall and waking up to the smell of Dad cooking bacon and making coffee. I loved hanging out with Murissa, who is basically the sister I never had, and having a full table with tons of yummy food. It means so much that they all came down, and yesterday, I had to work through some “empty nest” sort of feelings. I just wish I could pick up everyone I love and move them here, with me! A girl can dream, can’t she?

xoxoxo
Ash

Fourth of July Weekend

7.06.2014

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There’s really nothing in the world better than family, the beach, and my precious little bulldog. The husband and I took a little drive to Hilton Head this weekend, where we stayed with my in-laws for a couple of days. We visited the beach the first day, catching glimpses of dolphins and collecting seashells. Caleb and I brought our snorkeling stuff along to no avail – there was zero visibility in the water. We knew ahead of time that it was going to be tough, but we thought that we would at least see SOMETHING. Regardless, we got some practice in in the actual ocean, rather than just our pool, so I’ll chalk that up as a success.

Even Capone played on the beach some! We let him off his leash, and it was the best watching him jump and frolic through the waves. Despite the fact that he can’t stand baths, he’s certainly a beach dog! He was so tuckered out, by the time we got back to the truck, that he fell asleep almost immediately and remained that way the whole way back to Savannah.

We also spent our time reading by the pool, working on our tans, and exploring the local shops. Naturally, I located a candy store and came away with a cream soda, a praline (because you can’t live in the south and not adore the deliciousness that is the praline) and, of course, sour gummies. A girl needs to spoil herself with sweets every once in awhile, ya know?

Of course, we also watched the fireworks over the river! What Fourth of July would be complete, without them? I’m so thankful that my husband took one for the team and watched them with me. He’s not a huge fan of crowds, so getting him out of the house and around all of those people is kind of a big deal. He’s the best, and they were beautiful. Celebrations are my favorite!

I definitely can’t write a blog post about this weekend without mentioning my grandfather-in-law’s delicious meals! Every time Caleb and I visit, he spoils us with the yummiest food and cocktails. This time, the menu consisted of, but was not limited to, brisket, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, salmon, twice-baked potatoes, Long Island Iced Teas, Bloody Marys, and margaritas. Caleb  jokes that when we leave HHI, he needs a very long nap, because he’s fed so well at his grandparent’s, and we are definitely not complaining.

On our way home yesterday, we got caught in a storm, which was lovely. I love a good southern storm, and while the rain pounded down around us, I read a few more pages of Game of Thrones, which I have FINALLY committed to reading, after all this time. I’m really enjoying it, so far, and am excited to find out what happens to all of the characters. All 2,399 of them.

Anyway, that’s the scoop! I hope everyone else had the best Fourth of July weekend. I’ll be back soon!

xoxoxo
Ash

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