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

Happiness Is…

6.26.2014

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Happiness is walking out of our front door, first thing in the morning, to the smell of freshly-cut grass. It’s an excited bulldog running out to greet the world, his little toosh wagging. It’s a fresh cup of loose-leaf Earl Grey tea, with just a tad too much sugar and watching a southern, summer storm roll in. Bliss is a healthy husband, a glass of wine while preparing dinner, and scoring a bundle of new-to-me vinyl at secondhand stores. It’s potential new career opportunities and freelance writing. It’s sharing in friends’ happiness and adventures, surprise gifts from beloved family members, and stacks of peanut butter toast, because it reminds me of Dad.

It’s a bag of my favorite snack (Jones Salt and Vinegar chips, anyone?) that can only be purchased in Ohio, vintage aprons, snapping photos, and taking care of our little home. It’s being excited for the future and visits from Mom and Dad and beginning new books and discovering new places. It’s being stoked about life and never giving up, regardless how many rejection letters I receive.

Happiness is being a good wife, a good friend, a good daughter, a good bulldog mom, and an all-around good person, to the best of my abilities, and looking forward to each new day. It’s recognizing my mistakes, apologizing for them, meaning it, and using them to better myself. It’s also in recognizing my flaws and not apologizing for them, because they make me me. It’s binge-watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and not apologizing for that, either. It’s setting goals, starting projects, visiting local produce stands, and looking forward to holidays. It’s the sound of my husband’s key in the door at the end of the day, and it’s his freeze pop wrappers all over the coffee table, and sometimes the floor, because as much as it drives me nuts, it means he’s around.

Happiness is every day life, in every breath I take. It’s recognizing that I can’t please everyone, and I’ll never be perfect at anything, but as long as I’m at peace in my heart, I’m doing okay.

xoxoxo
Ash

Road Trippin’

6.23.2014

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This past weekend, Caleb and I traveled to Ohio for a family member’s wedding. The ceremony and reception were absolutely gorgeous, and we were so thankful to be able to spend time with family. We adore Savannah, but living 12 hours away is challenging, at times, when our loved ones are so far away. My parents even made a trip to visit us on Friday, and we spent the afternoon browsing the local shops, eating at the Dublin Pub, and taking in the historic residential area in Dayton. There was some crazy weather, so I didn’t bring my camera along for this excursion, for fear of it getting soaked in a downpour. Despite the fact that I have no photos from the afternoon, I had the greatest time hanging out with them, and it was so cool of them to drive the two and a half hours to meet us!

The next day, before wedding time, we went to the National Museum of the United States Air Force, where Caleb’s great uncle has a couple of items on display from his early Air Force Days. Caleb was like a kid in a candy store checking out all of the airplanes, helicopters, and weapons that were on display.

This weekend went so incredibly fast, but we took advantage of every moment that we spent in Ohio. Though the drive back was kind of a nightmare, it was completely worth it just to catch up with my parents, in-laws, and to see our sweet cousin walk down the aisle. (By the way – her wedding was book-themed. BOOKS! AND WE WERE SEATED AT THE GREAT GATSBY TABLE, WHICH IS MY FAVORITE IN THE WORLD! It was too perfect.) Even Capone tagged along with us and made some new dog friends!

As for today, I whipped up some homemade bread and soup, and Caleb and I have just been recuperating, after driving until almost 3:00AM. Tomorrow he goes back to work, and I begin an exciting internship, so we’re both pretty stoked that we had a day of quiet before every day life begins, again. There’s a summer storm rolling in, so I might just pour a glass of wine, grab my book, and watch the rain come down.

xoxoxo
Ash

Sunday Bloody Sunday

6.15.2014

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Whoa! I’m so sorry for that little hiatus, guys. Inspiration struck again, though, when Caleb and I went out on the town this afternoon. We had a nice lunch at Six Pence Pub, hit up the candy store to stock up on sour ribbons, and visited Boars Head Grill and Tavern for a Bloody Mary. What a lovely way to spend the day, especially since I had my husband by my side. He’s had a busy couple of weeks, so I’m thrilled to have had a few relaxing days together.

After exploring Savannah, for the millionth time, we headed home and washed our cars, which Capone was not too sure about. All that splashing water isn’t really up his alley.

I was also happy to catch up with my dad today for Father’s Day. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without his guidance. It never slips my mind how fortunate I am to have grown up with such supportive, level-headed, responsible parents. Someday, I’ll have my own children, and I hope to be even half the parent they are.

So, that’s what’s been up, readers! I’ll be back soon.

xoxoxo
Ash

6 Things Every Bride-to-Be Needs On Her Registry

5.28.2014

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So, you’ve just been proposed to (or done the proposing!). Now, what? There’s choosing a venue, ordering flowers, picking out the perfect dress, and, of course, the bridal registry. Now, I know how tempting it is to take those bar code scanners and zap everything you come in contact with. OF COURSE, you need twelve table settings of fine china and two strawberry core removers. WHY THE HECK WOULD YOU NOT NEED THOSE THINGS? I myself spent hours in Crate and Barrel and Williams-Sonoma, picking out every other thing in the store. While I’m not here to take that fun experience away from any bride, I have to say that it’s easy to get a little carried away.

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In the midst of all of the fluff, there are practical things that, of course, will make newlywed life so much easier. I’ve chosen half a dozen of my favorite kitchen items to share with you. I decided which things I use the most, and that would be beneficial for every couple. I am forever in the kitchen, cooking and baking up a storm, and there are certain items that I’m just so darn happy to have on hand.

1. A Large Cutting Board – I had a few cutting boards before my parents bought me this monster for Christmas. I always struggled with chopping my fruits and veggies, which I do constantly, because the food would fly all over. I just didn’t have enough room, so this extra large board has been an answer to my prayers.

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2. Storage Containers – These Glasslock containers are my favorite in the world. I love that they have the snap-on lids, keeping leftovers and produce extra fresh, don’t leak, and are super durable. Yes, they’re glass, but I’ve dropped them plenty of times, and they’re still intact. There are only two of us, so I’m always over-estimating how much food to prepare. I love having nice containers to fall back on, when I’ve made too much.

3. Casserole Dish – I use this dish more than I could possibly explain to you. We eat a lot of soups and casseroles around here, because they’re simple, cost efficient, and they’re meals that can stretch. A casserole dish is a definite must-have for all newlyweds.

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4. Mixing Bowls – The possibilities for mixing bowls are endless. Of course, they’re beneficial for baking, but I also use them for ingredient prep, mixing scrambled eggs, and as serving dishes. They’re just good to have sitting around.

5. Crock-Pot – This has been an absolute godsend. When you don’t feel like slaving over a full-course meal at dinner time, throw all of your ingredients into a Crock-Pot, and let it cook for a few hours. There are tons of Crock-Pot recipes out there, and my favorite one to make is Chicken Taco Chili. Trust me, having one of these makes life so much easier.

6. Lots of Utensils – Everything from spatulas to ladles to tongs, you’re going to need a bunch of utensils. What I use the most are my wooden spoons, which is why I’m forever buying more. Wooden spoons for life!

Have fun during this exciting time of your life, and while you’re registering for all kinds of cool stuff, but don’t forget to add things that make sense to stock your kitchen with.

xoxoxo
Ash

 

Life’s a Beach

5.25.2014

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Today was the best. Hands down. Caleb and I spent time with two of our sweetest friends and their daughter. After stopping by the grocery, to load up on beverages and fruit, we all headed to Hilton Head Island. Our first stop was the yummiest Mexican restaurant, where I gorged myself on a vegetarian dish with extra, EXTRA jalapenos and a frozen sangria. From here, we headed to the beach!

It was so fun watching the little one run around, giggling and making the tattooed Rangers follow her around and do whatever she told them to do. She definitely has them wrapped around her tiny finger, and I love it! We waded in the water for awhile, and the rest of the time was spent lounging on the beach, getting our tan on and hanging out in the sand. Fortunately, it wasn’t even that busy for Memorial Day weekend, which is perfect for my antisocial hubby. ;] We haven’t been to the beach in quite awhile, so I was happy to spend the day there. Even though we’re only about 50 minutes away, give or take, it’s so hard to get to Hilton Head or Tybee with Caleb’s crazy work schedule. Thanks goodness for three day weekends and best friends.

For dinner, we hit up The Salty Dog, which I’d never had before. I had Jake’s Low Country Boil and had my first run-in with crab legs. Caleb showed me the crab leg-eating technique (which really is an art form), and even though my hands were completely covered in butter and seasonings by the time I was done, it was so delicious. My dinner was accompanied by a kiwi colada, which, I kid you not, tasted like a smoothie from Smoothie King. There’s nothing like feeling like you’ve made a healthy life decision when you’re sucking down an alcoholic beverage.

Everything about today was just perfect. Hanging out with good friends, the beach, great food, and a bubbly little girl – what could possibly be better? I’m forever grateful for this life, where I get to meet, and make friends, with the sweetest people. I hope everyone else enjoyed this Memorial Day weekend, as well.

Until next time!

x0x0x0
Ash

Block Leave

5.23.2014

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I have finally gotten around to going through my photos from Caleb’s block leave! I wish that I would have taken more, but Hubs gets a little irritated when there’s a camera in his face all of time. Most of the photos I get, I have to sneak attack him. If he actually poses for a photo, it’s a real treat. Even though I don’t have quite as many as I would like, I’m still happy with how the above photos turned out. I love the ones of Caleb playing with the kids, and we had such a fun time the night of the bonfire. Roasting hot dogs on an open fire is one of my favorite ways to welcome the warmer season, and it’s especially lovely at my in-laws, where there’s lots of room for Capone to run and a clear, city light-free view of the stars.

We also happened to be home when my brother-in-law and his girlfriend went to prom! We drove up to the school to watch the walk-in, and they both looked great. It was a bit chilly outside, while we were waiting for them to arrive, but it was still a super fun time.

I love block leave, but the downside is that there’s just never enough time for all the things we want to do and people we want to see. Trying to find that balance has always been a challenge, but each time, we live and learn, and take notes for next time. It all just flies by so quickly!

In other news, here we are at Memorial Day weekend. Caleb has a four-day, which we’re obviously stoked about, but we’re definitely not forgetting what Memorial Day is all about. Our nation is forever indebted to those who go to bat for our country, especially those who do not come home to their families. This Memorial Day weekend, we are thinking of those men and women who gave all, and we will lift a glass in their honor.

Happy Memorial Day weekend to our warriors.

xoxoxo
Ash

The Little Things

5.20.2014

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In between running errands and cleaning/organizing the apartment yesterday, I snapped some pictures that I wanted to share. Most of them were just me playing with lighting, and such, but that last one is courtesy of Hubs. He dressed Capone up in some of his old Army stuff. We were very happy about it; Capone, not so much.

Though Caleb had an unexpected return-to-work text, it ended up being a lovely evening. While he was gone, I got the laundry washed and put away, made dinner, and caught up on this week’s episode of Mad Men. The job hunt has made me housewife of the year, let me tell you. Each day, I make a list of things that I need to get done for the day. I like to see my progress, and creating lists makes me feel like I’m actually accomplishing something. I even managed to get out and run yesterday morning! Whoa.

When the husband came back home the second time around, we ate hobo dinners for supper, sipped on some ciders, and watched a little bit of South Park. His choice, not mine. South Park isn’t exactly my fave.

Anyway, I better get moving today! Hopefully everyone has a productive Tuesday!

xoxoxo
Ash

This and That

5.18.2014

Happy Sunday, everyone! I have a bunch of random photos that I’ve snapped over the last couple of weeks, and I thought I would just dump them all here. I’ll write a brief description about each photo and what Hubs, Capone, and I have been up to. I hope your weekend was fabulous and full of good weather and happy things.

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1 and 2 – The Great Wall of Candy! I can die happy, now that I know this exists. This wall is a new addition at one of my favorite places in the city – The Savannah Candy Kitchen! I grabbed a bag and loaded up on sour gummies, and Caleb and I indulged on some gelato. I picked raspberry, and he went the peanut butter route.

3 – Photos of fallen Rangers hanging at Kevin Barry’s Irish Pub. The place is covered in military memorabilia, so it’s no surprise that it’s one of the guys’ favorite places to have a drink, or two.

4 – Hubs and his good friend, enjoying a celebratory drink! A fellow Ranger wife, and sweet friend, threw together a surprise birthday party for her hubby last night.

5 – Ranger feet.

6 – Gorgeous white magnolia (I think!) in bloom outside of our apartment. It makes for a great view when I let Capone out in the morning.

7 – Speaking of the devil. Here’s my little man, looking dapper. I believe this was taken a day, or two, before he had a horrible allergic reaction that scared us to death. The only good thing that came out of THAT was that we now know how to handle his outbreaks, should there ever be any more.

8 – Caleb bought me a record player as a graduation present, so I’ve begun to expand my collection. These are a few that I picked up at my favorite new-to-me record store. I chose Pity Sex, a local band called The Casket Girls, and some Stevie Nicks, of course.

9 and 10 – Chili preppin’!

11 and 12 – Some photos of the stunning Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in downtown Savannah. This place really takes my breath away.

And there you have it, friends! A quick update from our little family. Thanks for stopping by!

xoxoxo
Ash

Botanical Adventures

5.17.2014

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Caleb and I hopped in the car this afternoon, intending to pick some strawberries. There’s a botanical garden down the road, with huge signs advertising to do just that; there’s also a blueberry sign. I was pumped. We arrive, and there was, in fact, no berry-picking happening. It ended at noon, and the blueberries weren’t even ready to be picked yet. Needless to say, I was a little bummed, but the place actually turned out to be super neat. All kinds of paths, pretty fountains, and places to explore. They’re currently expanding/building, so pretty soon, there will be even more to see.

We killed a bit of the afternoon by spying on teeny turtles, big turtles, and even bigger carp. We stumbled upon a napping goose, forever-high bamboo plants, and a scary-looking black snake, just chillin’ in the water.

Hubs and I are guilty of spending lots of time in the air conditioning, binge-watching Breaking Bad or The Office, and we need to make the effort to get out into nature more. It’s always a humbling experience to be surrounded by trees and wild critters – as long as no spiders scurry across my feet, I can hike trails all day.

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This morning was a little chilly, but now we’re in the high seventies with lots of blue skies and sunshine, so it was the perfect afternoon to do a little exploring.

I hope everyone is having a lovely, relaxing weekend, so far. I’ll update soon!

xoxoxo
Ash

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