Michigan!

I made it to Michigan!  The time on the train was not as long and I thought it would feel.  I just tried to get in touch with my inner-photographer and go through about 200 pictures and end up with 10% of them to edit . . . that was the hard part.  :-]  Anyway, I went through pictures and watched a movie and listened to music and the next thing I knew, I was already here!
My Aunt ended up not being a masked-murderer that was out to ruin my life; imagine that.  She really was my Aunt!  :-]  Now, off to enjoy my day here with the family I never had.  I told myself that if I feel comfortable enough, I will break out the camera, which would result in you seeing pictures!  :-] 

Posted byAshley C. at 7:27 AM 0 Love Notes  

Homeboy?

Lately, I've been reminded of a shirt that I just had to have.  You've probably seem them around and maybe you thought badly about them, maybe you didn't.  I know I didn't (at the time). I was a "new" Christian, so I thought I was rockin' Jesus' name boldly.  Jesus was not my "Homeboy."  He is my Savior, my Lord, my Redeemer, my everything.  Not some friend that I just label as a Homeboy.  Heck, Josh is definitely more to me than a homeboy (although it would be cool to have a shirt with a picture of Josh and saying "Josh is my Homeboy.").  I thought I was the coolest kid on the block with my fitted pink shirt.  I wore it to every Christian event that I could.  How embarrassing!  Thank God (literally) that my ex's Aunt knocked me across the head and was the only one bold enough to say something to me about it.  I was in fact rubbing God's face in the dirt and belittling His name.  What was I thinking?  I'll tell you what I was thinking.  I thought that shirt was proclaiming my conformation against the world and not being afraid to say Who I identified with.  I wasn't afraid to be pointed and laughed at by my old friends.  I was wearing a shirt that shared my beliefs . . . or so I thought.
I wish I could go up to every single person (including some Christian singers) that saw me wearing that shirt and shout to them all through a megaphone that Jesus is NOT my homeboy!!!  He is my life, my best friend, my confidant; the only reason I live!!!!  But . . . I can't.  The only thing I can do (besides throw that $30 shirt away) is to live what I truly believe.

Is Jesus your homeboy or is He much, much more?   

Posted byAshley C. at 8:11 AM 0 Love Notes  

Jealousy and confidence

It seems like ever since I got my camera, it has been consuming my life.  I keep having photography dreams, I am constantly thinking Ooo that might work! or I wonder if I did 'X' wrong.  It's actually pretty annoying.  My mind has been taken over!  Haha, I suppose it's okay since I was begging for my camera for quite a while, but whoa!  I've been reading up on photography blogs getting tips and tricks (all of which seem like an entirely different language to me!) and hoping that I'll be able to apply it to my photography soon enough.  I'm also trying to get myself familiar with Photoshop, too (which I also begged for, got for Christmas, and has been left untouched since!); the program is sooo intimidating that it scares me off.  I've come across some very informational blogs and hope to continue referring to them in the future . . . that's if I can actually get some understanding from my camera's User's Manual! 
There is a bright side to all of this, though.  I admitted to Josh that when I look at other's photos, I have a bit of jealousy and really, really hope that one day I'll be just as good, but when I look back at my recent photos, I am actually very content with the quality (with it being my first time and all).  One thing that I am really hoping and wishing for is that I'll have just enough knowledge to take my friend Errika's maternity pictures (if she's up for it) before the little thing shows it's face!  I've seen some really cute ideas and think that I'll be able to pull it off.  :-]  I've got 4 months (I think) to practice . . . with the rate I'm going now, I'm actually feeling rather confident.  Wish me luck!

P.S.: My cousin is really good with photography and when he took a look at my photos, he told me, "I like your album.  Some really good stuff! . . . You've definitely got a great eye for framing and composition, so you're off to a good start."  :-]

Posted byAshley C. at 5:35 PM 0 Love Notes  

Breaking in the camera!

Since I have my awesome new camera, I'll let this weekend's photos do the talking!  :-]




Posted byAshley C. at 8:16 AM 0 Love Notes  

Introducing . . . !

Josh and I decided that since it was a Friday night, we didn't really want to sit in the house.  So, we decided to get dinner at Olive Garden and then walk around the mall and spend a little money.  As soon as we walked into the mall, Josh said, "If we leave right now, we will go get your camera."  I started laughing out loud and told him be quiet, come on.  "I'm so serious.  But we have to leave right now."  But, but, I wanted to get my free underwear and my perfume.  "You want that stuff more than your camera?"  So, I grabbed his hand and he really guided me back out the door! 

Now, introducing my new baby!  Notice my confusion haha!

He said it's up to me to purchase any books I want to get me started . . . Barnes and Noble, here I come!

Posted byAshley C. at 9:41 PM 0 Love Notes  

His first trip

Today when I woke up, my mom came in my room and asked me if I wanted to take Andrew (my nephew) to go see Shrek 3 with her.  I thought to myself, Hmm . . . skip my work out and tanning and go see a movie?  Actually, it was a harder decision than you would think because I promised myself that if I don't work out, I will not tan.  I held myself up to that and decided no workout, no tanning and yes to a movie with my sweet nephew. 
This was his first trip to a movie theater, so I was pretty excited for his excitement.  Get what I'm saying?  He kept saying, "Titi, mobie 'n pahcorns, pahcorns."  Since he wasn't feeling too well, I knew that we had a possibility of one of two outcomes: 1) He would throw the world's worst tantrum when he started to get bored, or 2) he would be an angel.  Fortunately he decided he would choose the latter of the two.  He watched the first 25 minutes of it and told me, "Titi, all done. Up."  I picked him up and set him on my lap and he was knocked out!  We enjoyed the movie just like all of the other little kids there while he had his big ol' cranium crushed against my collar bone, drool spilling down my shirt, and his shoe digging in my shin.  Honestly, I wouldn't have traded his vulnerability-induced cuddliness and that Titi-needing moment for any other.  :-]    Ahh . . . I'm proud to be his "Titi."

Posted byAshley C. at 1:12 PM 0 Love Notes  

Don't judge me!

I keep promising Josh that I am not addicted to couponing . . . that I can withhold from buying a "free" deal or money-maker.  I don't really think that's possible or sensible.  I need to.  And if that is what makes me an "addict," well then admit me because I can't stop!  What's so good?  Well, Walgreens has Gillette and Old Spice body wash free right now . . . you pay $4.49 and get $4.50 back in Register Rewards (which can be used at Jewel towards anything).  If you stack your coupons perfectly, you can actually make money from this deal.  Now I've got $27 worth of Register Rewards that need to be used towards groceries before May 31st.  Can I come clean about my so-called "addiction?"  I've bought Josh 10 already.  Hey!  Don't judge me . . . I have a clean boyfriend and know that we will not be buying this stuff again for a while, alright?  I've also been able to get 2 bottles of Motrin PM and 2 Benedryl itch relief sticks for free at Target!  Do I use that stuff?  Nope.  But maybe I might come across a family member that needs them.  Where do I put this overload?  I've got a designated drawer in my room . . . that is now quickly filling up.  The good part about this though is that I can look at all of my stuff and say I got this stuff for either really, really cheap or free.  Feels good.  :-] 

Posted byAshley C. at 8:00 AM 0 Love Notes  

It's my anniversary!

Today is day 365 of blogging for me!  To be quite honest, I didn't really think that I would have the interest or discipline to be able to maintain my blog; I proved myself wrong.  :-]  When I first started blogging, I remember saying that my reason to start was because I felt like my life was boring and uneventful and that if I began blogging, I would be able to track my excitements and see that my life really isn't that boring.  Well . . . blogging really hasn't gone in the direction that I anticipated.  I've talked to you all about some completely randoms things . . . things that really aren't even relevant to anything! haha  Thanks for listening anyway! 
Since beginning blogging, I've learned more about me.  I've learned some things that I don't think I would have really been able to learn about myself before doing this.  For example, who would have ever that I would be a "crazy coupon girl?"  I love couponing!  Through blogging.  :-]  I never thought of myself as someone that would be really interested in photography . . . as soon as I get my camera, you're going to see some talent!  :-]  I also learned a lot of unique things that I will want to do and try when I have a family . . . all through this whole big blog world.  The world of blogging is something big and you can learn a lot!  Boy am I glad that I started!  Here's to a whole 'nother year . . . even if I only have 2 regular readers!  :-D

Posted byAshley C. at 8:05 PM 2 Love Notes  

Of course . . . !

Of course . . . when I do good, I gain weight!  Go figure.  But honestly, I can't complain.  If you would have asked me last night, I would have put $100 on it that I lost at least 3 pounds; I feel more toned, less jiggly (haha!), and looked more tight and less bloated.  I only missed one day of working out and kept within my boundaries for eating but it still doesn't seem to be enough to bring numbers done.  Perhaps the number I should be looking at is my body fat percentage?  My clothes feel like they fit more comfortably, so really, I can't be mad. 
Josh told me that once my water weight evens itself out, I will lose more weight.  He also said that the more muscle you have, the easier you burn fat which means that if I just keep going and not give up out of frustration, it may prove itself worth while.
So . . . what am I doing tonight?  Going to pick up some newspapers and get my coupons, babyyy!!!  Okay, and after that, I am going to splurge on my favorite high calorie ice cream!  Yes!  I'm rebelling!  Oh, and not to mention, for family dinner tomorrow, Josh's family and I are going to Buffalo Wild Wings.  Boy, oh boy, when will this nightmare end?! 

On a more positive note, I just purchased my ticket to Michigan in two weeks!  :-]

Posted byAshley C. at 4:29 PM 0 Love Notes  

Dreaming

Life is always giving you lemons, but who says you have to make lemonade?  I've been learning more and more that life does not go as planned.  As a little girl, I've dreamt about growing up with both of my parents raising me, both of them being in my life every single day.  I've dreamt about dressing up like a princess and going to prom with my high school sweet heart.  I've dreamt that I will meet this handsome blonde-haired  fairytale-like man that will sweep my off of my feet.  I've thought about how nice it would be to get engaged during my senior year of college.  I've dreamt about graduating college and getting a high-paying job right away. 
I'm dreaming about how great it would be to be engaged and be married by next summer.  I'm dreaming about how great it would be to have a perfect, financially stable marriage.   I'm dreaming about starting a family very soon and having at least 4 kids.  I'm dreaming about being able to raise my kids and homeschool them until they are ready for college. 
BUT, life has not given me any of what I used to dream about and I highly doubt that life will hand me what I expect from it now.  I used to think that those things were perfect and that if they never happened, my life would come to a screeching halt and I must say, I'm doing mighty fine.  :-]  I must also say that I love my life and I would not change a single thing about it.  I'm just going through the motions and appreciating the unexpectedness.  It's funny how society has painted us this picture of what life should be and if it doesn't turn out that way, we have either failed or we just haven't tried hard enough.  Well, I sure am glad that I am not a cookie-cutter product that society expects me to be.  What fun would that be?! 

Posted byAshley C. at 4:46 PM 0 Love Notes  

feeling a little spontaneous

I've been feeling a little spontaneous.  Yesterday my dad texted me talking disrespectfully again.  I knew he would once it came closer to Mother's Day and I didn't text or call my stepmom.  I was so right; I know that mean man a bit too well.  I knew I shouldn't have responded to that text and should have just ignored him and act like I never got it because if I did respond, it would only cause things to worsen . . . but I cannot keep my mouth closed some times.  I like getting the last word and I like people knowing what I feel.  My dad and I have not talked since Thanksgiving when he sent me a mean text and that particular conversation ended with him telling me that I don't deserve him coming to my graduation (which would be in two months from that point).  I offered to pay for his place ticket, but I guess his time was the hard thing in getting.  Whatever.  Anyway, last night he told me that 1) "kids now days are so disrespectful," 2) he didn't come to my graduation because the "ticket you promised never came," 3) "you only call when you want something," 4) "are you still a church goer," 5) "you will never grow up," 6) "you are going to be lonely . . . this conversation is proof," 7) "everyone I've talked to said you're in the wrong."  Alrighty then.  I guess I learned that he knows that he's wrong, he's a lonely man, he stood up my graduation, and that he has never been there for me. 
With all of that being said, I shared that conversation with my Aunt Andrea (my dad's brother's ex-girlfriend) online.  She had custody of my sister and me for 3 months when we were younger (about 3 and 1 years old) and I haven't seen her since.  She recently found me on Facebook and we've chatted on several different occasions, but I haven't seen her since her guardianship.  She has two kids herself, Jennifer and Andrew; we were all really close when we were younger.  Andrew is getting married this July so I planned on going to Michigan for the wedding but after me and my dad's conversation last night, I feel like me sharing that with Andrea brought our lost relationship to a whole new level. Sooo, I proposed me coming and visiting with her a whole lot sooner . . . like, this month sooner.  She couldn't be more excited to reunite with "her niece that [she] never wanted to give back."  I am thinking of going up there at the end of this month and coming back the first couple days of June.  It will be cool because I'll be there for the bridal shower and my cousin Jenni will also be in town from Florida so I will be meeting this part of the family for the first time in 18 years!  Weird.  But, I feel like this is something that I need.  I need a part of that family that I can hold on to and introduce to my future family.  I want that family there that I know loves and cares.  The only thing that I need to do is by my ticket and I'm there.  On my own.  Meeting family again.  I'm feeling like this is yet another big step for me.  :-]

Posted byAshley C. at 5:37 PM 0 Love Notes  

Life is good!

I do not get the "case of the Mondays."  Why?  Because I have Mondays off.  How?  Because I used to have class on Monday nights, but not any more!  I have a feeling that because I'm writing about this, my free Mondays are going to be snatched away very, very soon.  :-]  Sure, I get Saturdays and Sundays off, but Mondays are nice to have off, too. 
I woke up at about 10:30 today and pulled myself out of bed to go work out downstairs.  Like I taught myself last time just do it!  Once all is said and done, the work out feels great.  I realized a couple of days ago that in order to get me motivated and really working hard, I need good music.  I cannot keep listening to the same playlist over and over and over again; so, I downloaded an app called "iHeart Radio" on my iPod; it is live streaming of hundreds of radio stations.  I didn't do it for a local radio station, but I was able to tune into my favorite Florida radio station . . . there's motivation for ya!  Just make myself think that I'm in Florida working out haha!  After the work out, Josh was still working on a homework assignment, so it gave me some much needed time to get things done that have been waiting.  I washed my sheets.  No . . . it has not been long, but if I had the time and patience (and the enjoyment of making my bed), I would wash my sheets about 4 times a week.  Is it just me or are soft, unwrinkled, smell-good sheets one of life's simple things to enjoy?  Aahh.  I vaccuumed my room, organized more coupons, did two online surveys to snag a couple of good deals, and went tanning . . . all while listening to my new Florida radio station. :-] 
But the most exciting part of my day . . . cold brew Lipton iced tea with lemon pieces in a water bottle . . .yumm, quenching, delicious, addicting! 

Life is good!

Posted byAshley C. at 6:39 PM 0 Love Notes  

My guy

The other day, one of the girls here, at the salon, let me borrow a book called Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.  It's a book very similar to Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.  I bought the book a couple of years ago when I took the train with my mom to Michigan.  It was a very interesting book and something that I was easily able to "get into," but it kind of made me think a little.

I don't know about your boyfriends or husbands, but there is no book that can tell me why mine acts or thinks the way he does.  I don't mean that in a demeaning way, I say that and mean that my guy is not the same that these so-called "Psychologists" have studied or hung around.  My guy is one-of-a-kind, unique.  My guy is one that knows and loves God and tries his darndest to reflect the attitude of Christ.  My guy is one that knows exactly how to read me and does not fight in order to figure it out.  My guy is one that is not in it for the sex but for a reciprocating kind of love.  My guy does not act differently in front of family or friends but loves and treats me the same whether in front of an audience of 10 or 1.  My guy knows how to communicate what he wants or needs from our relationship.
With that being said, I think those kinds of books are a little useless.  When I read the Mars/Venus book, the only thing I got out of it was that if I try to understand Josh more than I can at the present moment, I am only becoming confused and expecting things from our relationship that do not exist simply because he is not them.  I learned that I will only be able to understand and know what Josh wants, needs, or feels if we communicate with each other.  The books are basically saying that you can walk up to a stranger, not say a thing, and not know a single thing about them and be able to have a strong, enduring relationship because you simply read 300 pages in a book about the male race.  Nope.  Doesn't work that way. 

I love my unique guy.  He is different than yours, that's for sure.  :-]

Posted byAshley C. at 6:13 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

I heard back . . .

I heard back from the company that I applied to . . .

On Monday, they called back and apologized, but the position that I applied for was filled by another candidate, but they still want me to work with their company and want me to get my foot in the door while gaining some more experience (because I was lacking in that department).  He told me that the position they had for me would be working with the clients at their homes and that there were 2 positions open: a 32-hour and a 40-hour, both with the same pay.  I told him that I preferred the 40-hour because it was full-time.  He said that he would let me know, but he couldn't promise anything because there is another person they are considering as well.  So, he asked me to visit one of the homes with him and get a feel and look around.  At this point, I didn't want to mention anything to anyone because I was unsure about it.  I knew for a fact that I was not going to take the 32-hour position because the hours were Thursday-Sunday 2:30-10:20 p.m.; I didn't feel willing to give up my whole life for a part-time job that was not what I applied for in the first place.  So I kept this hush-hush until I knew, knew.
Fast forward to Wednesday afternoon . . . I met him at the home.  It was a duplex located just a town over and there was 8 residents total: 4 guys (on the "guy side") and 4 women (on the "girl side").  The clients seemed so happy, sweet, interested, and excited that there was a new person in their home.  They were people that I could see myself getting used to.  :-]  I could see myself cooking their dinner, packing their lunches, decorating their home for holidays, planning birthdays, get-togethers, planning game nights.  Then, when I began hearing about the day-to-day routine in the home, the mood changed completely.  I would have to help them bathe, use the bathroom, clean up feces, urine, throw-up (if necessary), worry about the guys walking around without pants on (which does happen frequently), drive them around so they can take care of their errands, etc.  All of which I felt completely uncomfortable with and in my opinion, this was not Social Work and I would not be able to complete my Social Work training under this position, so . . .

. . . I turned them down.  

Krissy sure was happy to hear that I would be staying at Omni longer.  Now, I am kind of in "job-searching limbo."  I don't know what I want to do.  I know that I need to complete the training for Social Work within 1 year or else all of the last 16 weeks was a waste of time, money, and gas.  I want to start a career, working 9-5, getting paid salary rather than hourly.  But, I want to know that I have worth even if I don't have those things.  I went to school to begin a career and as of right now, I'm unsure of what that ideal career is. 
You know, I could see myself being an Academic Advisor (at either the high school or college level) . . .  

Posted byAshley C. at 8:45 AM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

Some changes

My body is telling me that it is time to make some changes!  Lately, I have been feeling so bloated and unhealthy and have been thinking about doing Weight Watchers again.  And P90X again.  And the colon cleanse again.  I hate those thoughts!  I love my food too much but I have come to realize that this is my problem!  The other night (Sunday), I weighed myself and I was the most I have ever weighed: 146.3!  Holy moly!  I wanted to bawl!  I have never weighed that much.  Ever.  The following morning, I weighed myself and I was 143 exact, so we will go with that as my starting weight.  I remember that I used to tell myself If I ever get in the 130s, then it's time to lose weight then it became If I ever get in the 140s, then its time to lose weight.  Well, I have made it my goal to get down to a weight that I've wanted for quite some time: 125.  If I reach that and I see areas that still need work, I will increase my goal by 5 more (120, 115) until I am happy.  I am a short girl, so those goals are definitely healthy.  
Now, a 3 month commitment is not much to ask of myself, so I will commit.  If you look to the right side of the screen, I have added a little 12-week column so that you can help me track (and keep me accountable of) my weight loss.  I hardly ever tell people my actual weight, but there you have it . . . shhh!  I have added my start weight and body fat; hopefully those numbers will begin to decrease quickly.  I will be updating my weight loss (and gains) every Saturday.  I made a vow to Josh and myself that I will not quit either of those regimes until I have reached that ultimate goal.  Josh said that once I get to 125, he will buy me a new workout wardrobe and a new pair of workout shoes.  On top of that, I will have a nice, tight body for a wedding I'm going to (where I will reunite with some family) and hopefully engagement pictures won't be too far behind the weight loss!  I better get to work!     

Now, don't let me quit my goal.  If you see that column gone (or not updated), get on my butt about it!  :-]   

Posted byAshley C. at 8:05 AM 0 Love Notes  

The famous and the original

The famous Superdawg . . .


We had our dinner here tonight.  This yummy place was featured on the Travel Channel's Hot Dog Paradise.  And we can officially say that we now know why.  What we don't know is why they only have one "Superdawg."  Everything else is either hamburgers or chicken.


. . . And the (like, THE) original McDonalds

Who woulda thought that the original we're-gonna-get-people-fat-and-addicted restaurant was just around the corner?  Cool thing is that we found it by accident.  We pulled into McDonalds because I had to go pee and I became suspicious since this McDonalds was literally 50 feet away from the one we pulled into and I said to Josh, Eww . . . how fat can American get? Why is there another McDonalds right there? and then noticed that this one was gated in.  Google confirmed it! :-]  This #1 McDonalds restaurant is now a museum.

Posted byAshley C. at 7:33 PM 0 Love Notes