Capturing Those Everyday Moments

So I’ve been a  inspired to do a little more lately…. I recently came across (and maybe you did too) a photographer’s photos of her son in every day life that are so simple and yet so strikingly beautiful and captivating.  Now, bear in mind they are heavily photo-shopped, but still they blow me away.  They are done by Elena Shumilova,and you can check out her facebook page to see what I am talking about.   I would love to be able to capture my son’s life in a beautiful way too.  I hope to capture those every day moments and display them in a way that shows just how truly spectacular they are.  I picked up my camera after bath time the other day, I just love watching Ford grow, explore, and learn.

How incredible to see life through the eyes of a child once again….

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I’m posting these while I’m inside staying warm, riding out the latest snowfall  and doing what I love.  I hope you are doing the same this Saturday.

Much love, Ashley :)

It’s more than a bank holiday -reflecting on MLK Day

As I think about the kind of person Martin Luther King Jr. was I am wondering what kind of person am I? I believe Martin Luther would want us all to take this day to reflect on our own characters, and not just his. 

I choose to commemorate this day remembering it takes unimaginable courage to be different.  No matter whether it is due to race, religion, sexual orientation, ability or disability. How easy it is to fall in line with those around you even if it means doing,believing, and professing the wrong thing.  Do what you feel IN YOUR HEARTS to be right with others, and the world around you.  It is often times the most difficult thing to do, but the most rewarding in the end.  Love one another fully (even if you disagree) and take some time to help those in need.  If I had only one ounce of the bravery, courage, and confidence in my moral compass as Martin Luther King Jr. what a person I would be. 

Going forward this day is a reminder to stand up for those who have been marginalized, keeping in mind that others have dedicated their lives for the betterment and freedom of us all.  I strive to never take that for granted. 

Have a wonderful week, and I hope that you find MLK Day to be more than just a bank and work holiday my friends…. :)

What Infertility Taught Me

DSC_6356I recently read a blog post about infertility that I felt compelled to write a response to.   It ignited frustration and a pet peeve within me about the way couples affected by infertility feel they must cope.  And that is largely to become obsessed with their infertility, letting their life focus solely on the anger, frustration, and “why me”?  Now,  the article was written by a husband who had a period of 14 months or so trying to conceive with his wife.  They now have a 3 year old son and have been trying to conceive another child unsuccessfully for two years.  If you want to check it out you can read the post here http://natepyle.com/the-disgrace-of-infertility/.

It sounds awful but,  I read his blog post and could not help but think this is SO depressing.  Even the title, The Disgrace of Infertility makes me squirm.  Do we need to make ourselves think of it that way?? Should infertility take up this much of our efforts, thoughts, and purpose?  Those who are in the midst of infertility probably will not find solace or comfort from reading his post.  Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way bashing this couple or what they went through, or anyone who has or is suffering from  infertility.  In fact, my husband and I dealt with infertility for over 4 years and still have never been able to conceive a child.  However, if you read my last post you will see that we finally adopted our son 3 months ago (yahoooeeee!!!).

What I can tell you about infertility is that it taught me a hell of a lot.  I’m actually glad it happened to me.  Let me say that again – I feel BLESSED and lucky to be faced with infertility.  Coming from a generation that felt scheduling everything is the epitome of productivity and success, it showed me that life is NOTHING like that.  If you really take a step back and look at society,  at a young age we start kids on a busy schedule because it’s the right thing to do – i.e heading from school, to practice, to youth group etc.   But is it really?  We start to truly believe that we should be able to and need to schedule life events, including starting a family.  I think that being forced to take life as it has come for me has let me absorb all struggles in life more effectively.  Life isn’t perfect, not even close and lots of bad and terrible things can and may happen to all of us through the course of it.  I now know how we handle our struggles in life defines us.  It’s those times that make us who we are.  I know that I can handle anything that comes my way and that if it’s not on my terms it’s all going to be fine.  And you will be ok too.   If those kids/jobs/achievements (whatever they may be) don’t come right away, because let’s face it there’s so many things in life we are “waiting” for, use that time to develop your marriage, take a life-altering vacation, start  a business, or find your real passions. So many things are thrown at us in life and you have a choice, to be happy, or not.  Why not start through infertility?

People may have a problem with this next statement, but I never want my child or being a mom to define who I am.  Sometimes we all forget just how temporary life is.  I never know if my child will wake up tomorrow or if I will.  My parents, husband or family members may not wake up tomorrow and I have to be ok with it and able to go on with  life – it’s part accepting mortality and  part finding appreciation and gratitude for every day, through all of life’s events.  You know, despite everything I’ve mentioned I know it’s still hard, I get it trust me, I’m sending many hugs and thoughts to those of you are are dealing with infertility.  You know who you are – and let me tell you there’s light at the end of the tunnel whether you end up with kids or not.

Much love – Ashley

Changes are a good thing, right!?

Well, let’s see a lot has changed since my last post. Seems this blog has gone a bit dormant due to life, but really it’s no excuse and I find myself back to expressing myself on here as some sort of big therapeutic release. Lots has changed in the past year, we’ve purchased a foreclosure in June 2013 and renovated it top to bottom, sold and moved out of our house in July, and all at the same time my husband Travis left the world of a steady paycheck and became a real estate agent (which basically means he’s self employed in my book).

We also took home a baby boy on October 5, 2013 hours after Trav was done performing the marriage ceremony (literally, yes he’s ordained!) of his best friend. We made it to the hospital and held our son Ford for the first time 15 minutes after he was born. We were literally at the wedding when his birth mother contacted me that she was on her way to the hospital and so we couldn’t make it in time to witness the birth. But it’s all gravy because wonderfully and so anxiously awaited, our son Ford legally became our child on November 18th, 2013. November 18th marked almost one year to the day that we gave back our previous child Hudson. All after caring for him for 9 days, when his birth parents suddenly changed their mind. So it was bittersweet to say the least.

There’s lots more to come on each of these topics…and I will be sharing photos of our new home, fun projects, my journey on parenthood, and likely much less fashion these days as our little man soaks up the majority of my time, energy, and passion – and BOY is that a great thing!! Here’s to hoping for changes for you in 2014, I’ve found they bring much excitement, lots of learning, and a new lease on life! Cheers and Happy Friday all ;)

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Easy, Print Yourself, Downloadable Art

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So you want some cute art in your home for little dough – no problem, I’ve got you covered :)  I have been working in photoshop for many years and wanted to share with you the fabulous print I made for my nursery to be.  It’s not occupied yet, but hopefully soon!  You can also make your own art if you are handy OR you can check out the blog Dear Lillie and download some of hers for FREE.  Who doesn’t love free right??  She also has some other designs for purchase and a REALLY great large chalkboard download too.  Check out her shop HERE :)  But, if you want to download my creation for free and print your own you can do so HERE :) Happy decorating all and Happy Monday – hope your week is fabulous!

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HEALTHY Meal Planning & Organized Smart Phone Shopping Lists

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Image Source: Martha Stewart.com

Happy Monday all -I hope your weekend was splendid!  Mine was, although I am desperately awaiting spring and warmer weather!  Although, I will settle for some sunshine for now :)

I thought I would share with you all how and what I prepare for meals.  My husband and I are what you might call Flexitarian….what is that you ask??  Well, we eat meat very rarely and it’s usually turkey or fish, and we almost always are vegetarian.  I also try to stick to Organic items.  With spring around the corner and (ehem) bathing suit season, it doesn’t hurt to cut some calories and trim some fat from your meals.

I know a lot of people think that eating healthy is time consuming.  This is totally and completely wrong – it is just a different lifestyle, I actually think it takes the same amount of time to prepare meals.  I recently started using a grocery shopping app for my smart phone called, Out of Milk, that saves me lots of time and scratch paper.  It makes shopping so easy!  It has all your local ads and you can easily browse through and add items to your list as well as being able to type in your own items.  You can share it with anyone you like, so that way my husband or myself can stop at the store and there is no worry whether we forgot the list or he can’t read my hand writing.

I also love using Pinterest for meal ideas and I sure many of you do this as well!  If you want tons of healthy options – check out my Pinterest recipe pins HERE.  It makes finding recipes so easy and pretty much makes cook books a thing of the past!  If you aren’t using this as a meal planning tool you are missing out!

I also thought I would share what I plan on making this week with links to the recipes so you can give them a try yourself.  Also, keep in mind to it’s ok to try your own twist on meals – I know I do :)  If I am missing and ingredient I may substitute something else.  Luckily – there are no rules!  Happy eating everyone!! :)

Monday:  Mushroom & Scallion Frittata  

Tuesday:  Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos

Wednesday: Portobello, Broccoli and Red Pepper Melts

Thursday: Spinach linguine ( I will probably add more veggies to this than the recipe calls for just to spice it up ;)

Friday: Spinach & Mushroom Quesadillas

 

EASY 5 Minute Beachy Wave Tutorial is HERE!!

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Hey everybody, it is finally here – my quick and easy beachy wave tutorial! :)  This is where I show you how to achieve that beachy, sexy, full of body look in 5 minutes with very minimal blow-drying.  Iwill show you how I do it and what products I use!  All you moms out there or those of you (like me) who always seem to be running late this is perfect for you :)

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