Where My iBucks Went...

Where My iBucks Went...

Let me start by saying that there is no such thing as an iBuck... it's just the name I gave to the money on my iTunes gift card. So, don't go thinking you've missed yet another new thing... it's just me making up stuff. You aren't that far behind the curve yet.

Anywho, I was thrilled when my husband gave me an iTunes gift for my birthday. Other than one album I knew I had to have (Michael Buble's newest, To Be Loved... obviously), I was at a loss as to what else to buy. I mean, all this music! Showtunes! Disney! Classics! Where to begin? (Btw, I'm no stranger to iTunes, as indicated by my previous sentence. I just rarely buy a whole album at once, because whittling away your  bank account in 99 cent increments is far more justifiable, no?) And I wanted to make sure that I got songs I really loved, not just music that's "okay." (Deep thinking going on over here.)

So off to the vast abyss that is the iTunes store I went... and this is what I (painstakingly) decided upon.

1. Michael Buble's To Be Loved (entire album)

I've already talked about this a little bit, but this really is a fantastic collection of songs. There are a few new MB originals, like the single "It's a Beautiful Day" and "I've Got It Easy," a really sweet version of "You've Got a Friend in Me" (which is Michael's and his wife's "song" and finding out they went to Disney for their honeymoon confirmed him as my favorite singer ever) and, as always, several classics redone such as "You Make Me Feel So Young," "Young at Heart," and a jazzy rendition of "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You." He has some cool duets this time around too, including Reese Witherspoon (who knew, right?), Bryan Adams, and Naturally 7 (awesome as always.) 

2. Danny Kaye- "Lullaby in Ragtime" and "The Best Things (Happen While You're Dancing)"

Honestly, I wanted the entire soundtracks from both "The Five Pennies" and "The Court Jester" but I refrained and only bought a couple of songs, with no guarantee that I won't go back and purchase more of Danny Kaye's music. I never really thought of him as a singer until I watched "The Five Pennies" in which he plays a musician but I love to hear him sing and most of his songs are from some of my very movies (White Christmas, hello!) Lullaby in Ragtime is from The Five Pennies, which is a fantastic movie that I highly recommend (and it's on Amazon Prime! Hooray!). And The Best Things is from White Christmas and could practically be the soundtrack of my childhood, I watched that movie so often as a kid. It's cool to hear Danny Kaye sing these pretty songs and then turn around and do something so comedically difficult like the Jester song... the man is seriously talented and a comedic genius. But, I digress. Simply put, I love him.

3. "Are We Dancing?" from the Sherman Brother's score, The Happiest Millionaire

This movie is one of those obscure Disney films that even my family didn't know about until a few years ago, but we love it and have watched it countless times since discovering it. The fact that the Sherman brothers wrote the score did as much to endear it to me as anything (along with Fred MacMurray and John Davidson in leading roles) but the songs are just beautiful and this one is my favorite. John Davidson's voice is just magic. 

P.S. If you're unfamiliar with the Sherman brothers (Richard and Robert), they brought us classics such as The Aristocats, Summer Magic, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Follow Me Boys, The Jungle Book, The Sword and the Stone and my favorite, Mary Poppins. Their songs are so fun and their lyrics are SO clever. Yep, they are awesome. In fact, the only composer I know of that can rival them (comparatively... in this type of genre) is Alan Menken (Wicked, Enchanted, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin.) True talent.

4. Carpenters- bits and pieces of the 35th Anniversary Gold album

I remember so vividly the summer my parents purchased the two-disc Gold set of Carpenters songs and I flipped out- not just because I loved the music but because up until that time (I was 15) I had no idea that the Carpenters sang anything but Christmas music. If Disney music is the soundtrack of the Baines family, then the Carpenters were the soundtrack of our Christmases. Anyway, I was thrilled to have this whole other world of gorgeous singing opened up to me, because let's face it- Karen Carpenter is vocal perfection. Oh, that alto. I simultaneously envy and admire it. I didn't purchase the entire album (even though knowing what song comes next is part of the fun) but I did get ten of my favorites... including Only Yesterday, I Know I Need to Be in Love, We've Only Just Begun, Solitaire, Won't Last a Day Without You... you know, the best ones. =) Listening to the album that summer also helped educate me in terms of lyrics with some actual depth and meaning (unlike so much of pop today, which is, um... stupid.) 

So, there you have it... my totally eclectic mix of tunes. I really did want to buy all three Disney Classic albums and call it a day, but I figured since SO many of those songs play on my Pandora station (and I can't listen to my Carpenters station for more than like three consecutive songs before it turns into a hippie show and I feel like I might be getting high) I should go with the more obscure songs that aren't as readily available.  The only thing that I am really itching to get my hands (or, ears?) on next time is the marvelous discovery I made that is the Jim Brickman Carpenters album... whaaat? Yes, please! 

I am quite pleased with my "Happy" playlist right now. Every song I bought makes me smile, and that's what pretty much what I was going for. Now if I could just sing like Karen... is there an app for that? =)


Weekend Adventures...

Weekend Adventures...

Last week was crazy... no need to elaborate. I think you all understand that as a teacher, my days can include any number of the varieties of crazy, and pretty much every day last week contained at least one or two. So, by the time Friday afternoon rolled around I was ready to run for the hills rest and relax and maybe even venture out of the four walls of my house to do something besides sleep. (Rarely do such activities tempt me, but that's neither here nor there.)

The weather on Friday and Saturday was gorgeous... so nice, in fact, that I insisted that Jonathan and I take advantage of it by heading downtown. I'll probably have a post here soon about how much I adore downtown New Bern- the cute shops, pretty trees and the water, and just the all-around loveliness of a well-kept historic downtown. So, after running home from school to change we drove down to Union Point Park and started walking along the river there, ending up at the Pepsi store for (what else?) Mountain Dew and some popcorn. Then we went home, ate supper, and watched Full House because apparently we are 11 and 12, not 24 and (almost) 25. 

Saturday morning was spent at our church's Upward soccer games (Jonathan refs while I cheer for my students and pretend to know what's going on...) and afterwards we ran home and headed back downtown because, well,I was avoiding housework it was another gorgeous day that I couldn't bear to spend inside cleaning or organizing my closet (what I should have been doing.) So this time, we went straight to Cow Cafe for ice cream (my first mint chocolate chip of the season... but far from the last, I promise) and then walked to a bunch of shops I've never been in before, including a thrift store that had some really great stuff. (For real, designer clothes for like six bucks. Unheard of.) I was dreading not really looking forward to having to cook when we got home, so when Jonathan suggested we have dinner at Stingray Cafe I was all over it. Stingray is a little restaurant downtown and has really great seafood (Jonathan swears by their shrimp burger) and I highly recommend the shrimp or anything else really. Yummo.

A little hat shopping at Target...

A weekend with my guy that included shopping, ice cream, seafood, shopping, laughing, movies, shopping... was a pretty great weekend. We both were so tired from the long week and really needed to just spend time together and laugh and have fun (which we did) while satisfying my sweet tooth (check) and my need to shop (check, check.) 

Do anything crazy this weekend? (If crazy means watching 90's family television and drinking way too much Mountain Dew, then my weekend was out of control.)


It's Friday...

It's Friday...

This has been a crazy week, for reeeal. Not necessarily busier than usual, just a lot of "stuff" going on, you know? Anyway, as the end of the year approaches I am desperate  definitely ready for each week to come to a close, bringing us nearer to summer. (By the way, the frogs say 35 days left... woohoo!) Oh, and the warmer temperatures we were experiencing VANISHED and it was back to winter from like Tuesday on, which was unacceptable. Not that the weather asked me.

Anyway, someday I'll start my high five for Friday without yammering about the week or the weather or something but not today. My apologies.

1. I got to spend some time with my cousin Matthew this week, which is always a joy. (For him anyway. It's not as fun for me since he delights in mocking me and worse, ganging up on me with Jonathan. But he does look up stupid memes with me so I forgive his mockery.)

2. Facetiming this goose is never boring... even though all I can really understand is "Ashy! Ashy! Brudder! Hi! Jonananan!" and everything else is kind of a blur but she is still the cutest little thing, well, ever. And I am completely unbiased.

3. Tuesday night we went out for my birthday with Blake and Brook to my favorite place, Panera. Food! Friends! Cookies! A wonderful celebration (although as I look at this picture I'm still waiting for the Instagram filter that removes the frizz from my hair.) 

4. Um, this album is out and is now mine as of first thing Tuesday morning. And, I love it. My favorites right now are Something Stupid, Close Your Eyes, and Come Dance with Me, but I haven't listened to it long enough for it to be a part of me yet, you know? So, as I really get acquainted with each song that may change, but all around it is a fantastic album. 

5. I got to hang out with these sweet girls (our pastor's two oldest) last night and we had a blast watching movies, eating at McDonald's, and running around Target (of course.) And seriously, I have never had so much fun listening to my Disney station on Pandora... it's awesome to be with people who can actually sing along to every song and who know the words as well as I do. Meet the only two girls in the world who can rival me in terms of Disney knowledge. =)

Those are some of my highlights from the week... what are yours? Happy Friday, peeps!


P.S. Linked up with Lauren for H54F!



As a kid, I was called a bookworm more times than I can remember. Sometimes it was said affectionately by my mom, "Oh, Ashley's such a bookworm!"... but mostly it was said derisively by my friends who couldn't drag me away from the pages of my books to play, as in- "Stop being such a bookworm!" My cousin Charity would even hide my books from me (on those rare occasions that she deemed me worthy of being her playmate, aka when my sister April was unavailable; not that I am bitter or anything... =)

I always had a book with me... at school, on the way to school/church, at the table, in bed, in class. In fact, you could (and still can) find me by following the trail of books I'd leave lying around. And, unlike some people who are "once and done" when it comes to reading, I would read the same book over and over and over again. This did nothing to inhibit my already-forming love for fictional characters (nor did it lessen my quirkiness, unfortunately) but that's just how I rolled. What can I say? I was weird kid. (Ask anyone... it's true.)

So, what was I reading (and re-reading?) Here are a few of my very very favorites (and the ones I still pick up every now and then, just to say hello to old friends.)

1. Anything by Beverly Clearly, but mainly the Ramona books (and the pre-Ramona books about Henry Huggins.)

I remember a school parent telling me last year that she didn't let her kids read Ramona because she is such a brat (Ramona, not her child.) I was like "Whaaaa?" but after revisiting the books I guess she is bratty, but it's not like she gets away with it. She drives her family, especially her sister Beezus, crazy half the time, but she does eventually figure it out (by like, age 9) that it's better not to annoy the people you live with. And I just think that all of Beverly Clearly's writing is stellar. I was never tempted in any way to act like Ramona (except for writing Ashley Baines, Age 8 on all my papers for a while) so I'm pretty sure her behavior isn't too damaging. My favorite part of the series is when the Quimby family goes out to dinner and the nice old man pays for their meal because they look like "a nice, happy family." 

I also loved Mitch and Amy, Runaway Ralph, and Beverly Cleary's books The Luckiest Girl, Jean and Johnny, and Fifteen are some of the most adorable little teenage stories you will ever read. I highly recommend them...they capture all the angst of adolescence without so much of the smut of today's teen literature. 

2. The American Girl books, particularly the Molly and Samantha series but also the mysteries that came out later.

You may not know that American Girl is more than just (ridiculously overpriced) dolls and accessories. Each doll comes with a series of six books (and later some short stories). I was never a big doll girl, but I did looove those books. My favorite American Girl was Molly, from 1944. I didn't just like Molly, I wanted to be Molly. I already had the brown hair and glasses... I wanted the saddle shoes, the argyle sweaters, the Victory Garden... all of it. The Molly books- Meet Molly, Molly Learns a Lesson, Molly's Surprise, Happy Birthday, Molly, Molly Saves the Day, and Changes for Molly were magic for me. It was like reading about myself during World War II (you know, minus the older and younger brothers and best friends Linda and Susan.) Samantha was great too, and of course I read all of Josephina, Kirsten, Addy, Felicity, and Kit. Then each girl got a short story book, and THEN American Girl came out with a "History Mystery" series that I devoured, naturally. All around, good writing, great stories, and very relatable characters. Oh, and they teach history- how sneaky of them! =) If you have girls in your life, a set of these makes a wonderful gift. 

3. Nancy Drew- of course!


Who didn't love Nancy Drew- that titian hair, that blue convertible, those quick wits? Remarkably, Nancy could get herself, Bess, and George out of whatever "scrapes" they encountered, all while looking neat and tidy and ready with a fresh dress. Then there's Ned Nickerson (just admit you love him, Nancy... no need to be so coy!), the ultimate dream date- football star, handsome, and ready to break away from the evening's date to do a little sleuthing. What more could you want in a college man? Anyway, the only bummer I have about these books (and no, the unrealistic way that Nancy eludes death countless times doesn't count) is that I found out recently that the author, "Carolyn Keene," was actually just the person who started the series and that books 2-50 were written by a group of ghost writers. That took the wind out of my detective sails, but oh well. I'll always be a Nancy fan. Now if I could just have her endless collection of evening wear, I'd be set.

4. Random biographies- Like I said, I was a weird kid. 

So old, hardback copies of biographies of people like Anne Sullivan (Helen Keller's teacher), Horace Greeley (founder of the New York Tribune), and Noah Webster (um, the dictionary, obviously) were right up my alley. While these were not really "light" reading, I did enjoy them and I'm glad I read them because lots of the "extra" information I share with my history class comes from reading stuff like this. I had a "Meet" series (Meet Abraham Lincoln, Meet the Men Who Sailed the Seas, etc.) of juvenile biographies, and really any biography that included stories about the person's childhood were a winner with me. (Don't I sound like a delightful nine-year-old?)

5. Sports books- major tomboy, remember? Who fancied myself an athlete but really wasn't so I had to make up for it by reading books on the subject?

 One I remember in particular was Who Stole Home Plate?, but I had quite a collection, including a really old book about the top fifty baseball players of all time (which I think went through maybe the 1960?)... anyway. Fiction or nonfiction, I loved a good baseball book. (Sometimes basketball, but that was pretty much the extent of it. No rugby or tennis for me.)

Of course, there were some books that I feel like everyone is supposed to love, but I just didn't- the Hardy Boys, for example, were never a favorite, nor was I a huge fan of Judy Blume. And other than biographies, I didn't read a ton of nonfiction. But I have to say emphatically that any skills I have in writing are due in large part to the amount of reading I did as a child. Sentence structure, phrases, vocabulary choices- these aren't things you consciously pick up on but I can tell you that so many books I read became such a part of me that I use bits of them all the time, on purpose or not. And as a teacher I can now say with some experience that it is very obvious which students read (and were read to!) and which ones are not. It has something to do with their grades, yes, but even more to do with their general curiosity in the world around them. Most of all, I like to think that reading made me a more balanced young person. I didn't sit in a musty library all day, and I didn't play all day and avoid books like the plague- a lot of time time I was up in a tree with my book, pretending to be some fictional character. (Eccentric doesn't even begin to describe me, okay?) 

I'm no expert on any literature, chidren's or not... but if you want some really excellent (and informed) recommendations and reviews, head over to Everyday Reading, where Janssen will blow your mind with her vast knowledge of all books ever. (Seriously, she is so well-read and has the experience of a librarian to boot.) 

Now if you'll excuse me, I am halfway through Nancy Drew's Mystery at Lilac Inn and it's a real page-turner. 


Blog Love: Perfectly Taylored....

Blog Love: Perfectly Taylored....

...or, a shameless plug for a talented friend. =)

As you know, I'm not a terribly crafty person. I spent the first 23 years of my life avoiding all things artsy but in the past year I've ventured out and created a few things that didn't look entirely like first grade art projects... nothing truly noteworthy, but as long as my project turns out decent I'm okay with it.

However, I am fully aware that there are other people in the world who are not only "into" crafting, they're really good at it. One of those people is my best friend Brook, who is truly talented at making beautiful things. She can sew, paint, draw, arrange, and basically take an idea that I could make look like a flea market discard and make it look like it belongs in a Hobby Lobby display. She's that good! In fact, she handmade most of the decorations for her wedding and it was one of prettiest weddings I've ever seen... totally Pinterest-worthy and beautiful! 

SO, I have been telling Brook for a while that she really needs to start a blog that a) tells us less-crafty people how to make some of this stuff and b) allow those of us who are both un-crafty and lazy busy to purchase the lovely things she makes. A few weeks she got it up and running, and I am happy to introduce you to one of her products featured at her blog, Perfectly Taylored. (Her last name is Taylor... cute, right? =)

Since Brook and her husband (hi, Blake!) live across the street from us, I can always see her door and its beautiful wreaths (shaming me into trying to change my wreath more than at Christmas!) and recently, creeped across like a creeper to examine her new garden flag. Burlap! Monogram! Flower pins! Soooo cute... and when I complimented her, she did what a good friend would do and made one for me!

Aren't these flowers beautiful?

Chevron and polka dots... she knows me too well!

If you live around these parts, you definitely need to contact Brook about prices and about making you one of these (she also does wreaths and other pretty things, although you would have to talk to her about that specifically since I don't want to make promises that can't be kept. =) You can personalize your flag with fabric choices and a monogram or flowers or whatever! I promise you'll love it. And if you need some inspiration, check out her latest post about her other uses of burlap... seriously, the girl is gifted. 

 So, stop by Brook's blog and be inspired... and better yet contact her about getting yourself some of this loveliness (or buying one for someone else. Mother's Day? Done.)


Pretty in Pink...

Pretty in Pink...

One of the best things about having a birthday is getting presents. And one of the best things about having your mom come to town is that (if she is a nice mom like mine) she may buy you birthday presents and, if you ask nicely and prey upon her sorrow that you live far away from home, she may even buy you matching accessories for this present. =)

Such was the case when my mom visited over spring break and we went shopping at a nearby outlet mall. I found theeeee perfect dress at Banana Republic for a ridiculous clearance price and then we popped over to Belk (which, if you know my mother you know is a lie because she has never "popped" into Belk in her life... it requires a minimum of two hours) for the accessories.

And voila... I saved it for a rainy day (actually, my birthday), since I am an incurable outfit saver, and my 24th birthday outfit was born.

Dress: Banana Republic Outlet
Necklace: Belk
Shoes: Target

Okay, no more talk of my birthday, at least until next year. =) Happy Wednesday!


P.S. Linked up with Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy

What Could Go Wrong? (And What Did...)

What Could Go Wrong? (And What Did...)

You know, by now I wish that life would realize that when I ask, "What could possibly go wrong?" I mean it rhetorically. Nonetheless, everyone loves a good story, right? Especially one that exploits the misfortunes of others (namely me)? I'm always happy to oblige. 

So, picture with me if you will a van full of happy little school children on their merry way to enjoy an educational experience at a local art shop, spending the morning in an intellectually stimulating environment that would inspire their creativity and make them better citizens, I'm sure... and all this artistic enrichment would take place downtown, which I always love.

Anyway, the kids spent a couple hours making lovely art (actually, it was quite lovely... they painted the New Bern skyline at sunset, with the help of a stencil) and the plan was that we would eat lunch at the park before heading back to school. (Have you figured out yet that most of the time my life does not go as planned?) So, we finished up the painting, said thank you like good little boys and girls, and loaded back up on the van...

...and it didn't start. It made that dying animal sound a few times and then just decided to be rude and NOT turn on, while the entire sixth grade sat clamoring for lunch and playtime. (Their homeroom teacher was clamoring for lunch too...that would be me.) So, what should have been a lovely outing in the park turned into a eleven kids sitting on the curb next Bank of America eating lunch outside the dumpsters like homeless people. Hardly the sunny, fun-filled romp through the park we had planned... especially since we to sit and wait for jumper cables to arrive.

You might be thinking, "How long did you have to wait, half an hour? It couldn't have been that bad!" First of all, when kids think they are going to a certain place and they are told otherwise, every minute they wait feels like a half hour. Secondly, have YOU ever tried to keep a dozen preteens occupied and semi-quiet for more than two minutes AND make sure they aren't leaving enough litter to attract all the seagulls in a thirty-mile radius?! I have, and I would imagine that riding a blindfolded camel through a haunted desert would be easier. (Yes, that is the most out-there analogy ever. My creativity was stimulated today, apparently.)
It also includes fielding a million and two questions like this:

"Why don't we turn on the van?" Oh, we just want to sit here... the van is perfectly fine. 

"Will we have to walk back to school?" Sure... what's five miles on a major highway?

"Can we walk to the dumpster?" Um... why would you want to?

"Why can't I throw my orange peels on the ground?" Because we don't want to further the people's impression that we are uniformed orphans.

This was after I they had become slightly... out of control spirited and we played the "quiet game" until the van came. (The kind of quiet game where the winners escape my wrath and the losers get detention. hahaha)

So, the story has a happy ending in that the van finally arrived and we loaded up and went back to school, artistically enriched, disappointed, and only slightly soggy from our impromptu concrete picnic. It has a sad ending in that rather than playing around in the park, we sat in an industrial parking lot and got stared at by every ne'er-do-well that drove by.

Oh, and the magical morning was capped off by one ne'er-do-well in particular driving in BLARING rap music with EXTREMELY inappropriate lyrics that of course all the kids could hear, and they all managed to crane their necks and stare at the guy in disbelief (which made me a little proud, I admit.) 

So, next time you need to take a field trip, I highly recommend skipping on something as conventional as a playground... gather your young next to a place of business for maximum enjoyment. I promise, it will be met with rave reviews. I must also insist that  you bring along a knight in shining armor (or in my case, a knight in plaid and a sweater named Jonathan who was invaluable during our vehicle malfunction crisis.)

In fact, I am polishing my medal for Teacher of the Year as we speak. (My book on the subject will be out by 20-never... preorder your imaginary copy now!)


Hello, 24...

Hello, 24...

I've always been a person who gets extremely excited about my birthday every year. I look forward  to it, count down the days, pick out presents for weeks before, etc. However, this year I've not been nearly as giddy about turning another year older (while all of you older than me are simultaneously rolling your eyes, of course). I realize 24 is certainly not old, but I don't know, maybe I'm just growing nostalgic or sentimental or morose as I age. Anyway, I'm trying to shake off the melancholy cobwebs so, in honor of this year's April 21, I'm forcing more useless information on you sharing 24 things about myself. Enjoy.

1. When I was little, I wished and wished and wished for blonde hair. Who knows why... now I'm perfectly content to be a brunette. In fact, I've never dyed my hair... not even highlights.

2. My favorite Disney princess is Belle... because a) she has brown hair, like me and b) she loves books. Give me that library and and I'd marry a beast, too! =)

3. This is terribly embarrassing, but when I was really young (like 3... young enough to not know any better but old enough to still be humiliating) I wanted to be a boy and told everyone my name was Hoodoo, the name of one of the Boy Scouts in Follow Me, Boys! I know... cringe. 

4. Speaking of my childhood quirks, I was a major tree-climbing, baseball throwing tomboy. There are pictures that could prove this fact but I seem to have destroyed lost them all, tragically.

5. Every time I see any kind of show/musical/play, I become dissatisfied with my life and wish like crazy that I could perform on the stage in some way. Then I remember my incurable stage fright and that dream is once again laid to rest.

6. Up until this past year, I had absolutely zero interest in/aptitude for crafting of any kind, but now I kind of love it. My interest is definitely increased... hopefully the aptitude will catch up before too long. 

7. Thanks to a traumatic zoo experience when I was ten, I am deathly afraid of polar bears. They are not cuddly, Coke-drinking furballs- they are vicious killers, okay? Scary, scary, scary.

8. All I ever wanted to be growing up was a teacher, and now I am one. I am thankful for that every day (even the days when I'm ready to trade in my red pen for... just about anything. =)

9. Give me Kate Middleton's closet and I am pretty sure I would be perfectly happy for the rest of my life.

10. Okay, this is dumb, but I have this warm/fuzzy feeling and instant bond with anyone who calls me Ash. I don't know why, but I just love it (hence the name of my blog.) It is definitely my nickname of choice and if you call me Ash I'll probably love you forever.

11. The happiest thing that has ever happened to me was becoming an aunt. I am positively giddy over my two nieces and two nephews. 

12. In the last year, I've gotten in the habit of posting pictures of my outfits on Instagram, even though most people probably couldn't care less what I'm wearing. 

13. Buying an iPhone last summer was by far one of the best purchases I've made, ever. I hate to be one of "those" iPhone people, but I really do love it. Also, I'm not like a snob about it, just thrilled to not be dealing with phone issues constantly since every phone I had before this one was whatever free upgrade Verizon chose to give me every two years.

14. Some of my dream jobs (as in, I get paid to do this?) are writing (like, all the time), being a personal stylist (I lerve helping other people shop, for real... a fact that embarrasses my husband at times), or teaching specifically about writing in some format. Or, quoting movies for a living. I could definitely ace that job.

15. I'd love to totally geek out and go to the Psych panel at Comic-Con. Maybe someday...

16. For my 10th birthday, I got my ears pierced, but they got infected all the time (tmi? sorry) so I let them grow back. I didn't get them pierced again until I was 17 and I cried because it hurt.

17. My sisters are my best audience for telling a story, and making them laugh is a favorite pastime of mine. Actually, making people laugh is a favorite pastime of mine, period. 

18. Despite the fact that I was a tomboy, I am really not all that athletic. I enjoy sports but am not particularly gifted in any of them (unless spinning the basketball on my fingers counts.)

19. Anyone who knows my husband will tell you that I married UP, way up. The fact that this guy patiently puts up with all my shenanigans should tell you how awesome he is.

20. I still get super embarrassed when people tell me they read my blog, even though it's not a secret or anything. I probably need to come up with some kind of response other than "Oh, brother" or "Don't hold that against me" and a nervous laugh... maybe just a simple thank you will suffice? We may never know, since awkward is my middle name. (Not really... it's Michelle, silly!)

21. One of my greatest regrets is that I didn't seriously pursue my piano lessons through high school and college. I'd love to be able to just sit down and play, but alas... you reap what you sow, and I an reaping many lessons of distracting my sister and avoiding practice. 

22. If I could go on a shopping spree at any store, it would be Ann Taylor Loft. (Hint, hint, Anna.. give me your discount!)

23. I am the most boring person to go out to eat with because I have "Old Faithful" menu items at all of our regular restaurants, and if we go somewhere new I stick with something familiar. Pretty much any sense of adventure I possess does not extend to my taste buds. 

24. I could eat McDonald's french fries every day of my life. (Sorry, had to go out on a classy note.)

Now that your life is 24 times richer than it was at the beginning of this post, I will say goodbye and THANK YOU for coming back post after ridiculous post and reading my nonsense and even pretending to enjoy it. You guys are the best, for real. Now, if we're friends on Facebook you know that ABC Family gave me a beautiful present by playing five of my FAVORITE movies back to back today, so I will be occupied for quite some time enjoying them. =)  

I don't really look 24, right? Right.


The Last Round...

The Last Round...

I mentioned the other day that I had to finish up my bulletin boards this week. Well, after many, many hours, fingers sore from pushing straight pins into the wall, and hands grimy with sticky tack, I am all done. (Insert Hallelujah Chorus and fireworks here.) If you're at teacher or have any experience with classroom decor, you know that it's time-consuming, rather tedious work. But, since I'm a wacko I actually enjoy decorating my room; of course, that doesn't mean I wasn't doing a happy dance when I finished up yesterday. You see, this is my last round of boards for the school year- what?? How crazy is it that this year is almost over? (Again, no complaints... just excitement.) So, since I'm sure everyone out there is positively overcome with a desire to see my bulletin boards, here they are.

This board was the object of much labor and frustration last year, when I searched all over creation for a red and white checked tablecloth to no avail... so napkins were my last resort. (Oh, and as my luck would have it, I found the blasted tablecloth the very day after I put it up. Go figure.) Anyway, I went with it again this year since all children need to be reminded about laziness (although, I was tempted when I laid out all the letters to just put: "Don't be lazy." The irony is not lost on me...)

Of course, it's spring and I had to have at least one baseball board!

Believe it or not, even the older kids get excited when they see their name on stuff in my room. They act tough but they're really not. =)

It's always nice to have at least one board that's educational. BTW, last year I did this on an actual bulletin board and made the background look like notebook paper... easily one of my favorite boards ever. I think I blogged about that at the time so if you feel like digging through the archives be my guest. =)

These adorable bugs keep the caption from sounding too snarky, right? 

Aladdin quote, just for me.

You better believe Mrs. McNeese is visibly counting down the days til we're out of school!

Okay, so I saw this on Pinterest a few months ago and kind of stuck it in my back pocket... and then I found these neon sunglasses at Target for $1 and I just had to do it. And not everything I envision always ends up as cool as I thought, but I really love how this one turned out. 

I love these goobers!

So, my fingers have until August to recover from all this hard labor (not really, but seriously, try pushing several dozen straight pins into a cork board... it hurts!). Only a few weeks left until summer (41 days, according to my joyfully jumping frogs in the hallways.) Woohoo! 


Pencil Skirts and T's...

Pencil Skirts and T's...

... or, a post about clothing that may bore you so you have my permission to click away to something more interesting. =)

Up until the last year or so, I never really included pencil skirts in my arsenal of casual clothing options. I mean, they weren't super dressy all the time, but I didn't think to grab one with a t-shirt for a relaxed but polished outfit. Then Merrick posted a tutorial for making a pencil skirt, and while I certainly don't have her skills to just whip one up with some fabric and little magic, I loved how she wore hers with a tshirt and flat sandals. The shape of a pencil skirt is polished but the fit/style doesn't have to be. 

Anyway, I'm veering into some very fashion-blogger vocabulary here (in a minute, I'll start telling what I paired instead of wore... cause that's how I roll) so, suffice it to say that pencil skirts and t-shirts are a new favorite outfit of mine. 

Shirt: Old Navy
Skirt: Target
Wedges: Target

Necklace: American Eagle (very, very old!)

A privileged behind-the-scenes glimpse at the hideously angry faces I make at my poor husband when he is taking my picture. Or maybe I was just bitter that I will never master the half-tuck like  Kendi has. 

Shirt: J.Crew Factory
Skirt: Loft
Shoes: Target

New resolution: take pictures before it's dark outside and I am forced to pose in the dim light in front of my pantry.

Love the stripes and the flower embellishment! Oh, and these little gold flats were less than four dollars a few months ago... and they're sooo comfortable. 

SO, in case you haven't tried to put some of your more casual tops (like a t-shirt) with something you might consider a little fancier (like a pencil skirt), then do it! It's still comfortable but looks a little nicer that my go-to denim. Happy Wednesday, lovelies!

P.S. Linked up with Lindsey for WIWW!

First Grade Wisdom...

First Grade Wisdom...

Did you know that is a scientifically proven fact that teaching all day makes a person incapable of being productive past 3 pm? 

Okay, I lied. Science has proven no such thing. Science is apparently busy NOT testing my shampoo on animals (meanwhile, if they'd come up with a discovery that would prop up my eyelids long enough to actually get things done when I get home from school, that'd be great.)

In the weeks leading up to spring break, I had many lofty goals- things I'd accomplish during my days off. Organize closets! Blog! Switch out my clothes by season! (Blah! Blah! Blah!) Then, mysteriously, few to none of those things actually happened. Now I've got a semi-break because of a half-day schedule this week, and I'm faced with the same dilemma. So, in the spirit of procrastination (at which I am a professional)...

This picture represents me as a functioning, responsible, productive adult... one who would have already accomplished everything on the following list.

Things I Should Be Doing....

1. Attacking the earthquake epicenter that is our downstairs closet... since I don't have storage in my classroom, all my bulletin board stuff ends up in this closet and it's pretty much atrocious, so... yeah.

2. Finishing the two BIG bins of summer clothes in my room... and sifting through the lifetime supply of t-shirts they contain. Most of it needs to be given away, but I have an emotional attachment to clothes that is not unlike my emotional attachment to fictional characters. They represent memories, right? Fact is, I'm just an overly sentimental person and I should probably get over that before I get featured on Hoarders.

3. Decorating my classroom. I have two big bags of spring/summer stuff waiting to replace my Dr. Seuss stuff and I even made a special trip to Goldsboro to cut out letters today, so it wouldn't be a terrible idea for me to hole up in my room tonight and get it all done. Perhaps with the right Pandora station and a big Dr. Pepper it could be done...

4. Taking advantage of this gorgeous weather by walking outside, before the humidity strikes and I refuse to be outdoors for more than the time it takes to get in and out of my car/house/local Target.

5. Finishing this post before you go jump off a bridge.

Too late... crazy Ashley has taken over and responsible Ashley doesn't have a chance.

Things I'm Actually Doing...

1. Catching up on my recorded movies (including 3 Doris Day musicals from a couple weeks ago- jackpot!). Oh, and now that I have Amazon Prime, I can watch You've Got Mail whenever I want (which is pretty much daily.)

2. Pinning- the ultimate time waster. (BTW, it's Pinterest, NOT Pintrest- like interest, not intrest. =)

3. Re-reading this book. I know I've recommended it at least 5 times in the last year, and I probably sound like a broken record, but it's that good. 

4. Letting you all know that I will be 24 on Sunday, so... yeah. Five shopping days left.

5. Thumbing through my new InStyle magazine and lamenting my lack of the season's must have trend of pastels. (Not really... I'm more of a bright color girl.) 

6. Actually signing off... I've even lost interest... so if you made it the end of this, I commend you. 

My aunt always tells her first graders "Do what you ought to do..." to which they reply in unison, "Not what you want to do!" Okay, fine. Here I go, off to do what I ought to do. (Insert heaving, dramatic sigh.) Have a lovely Tuesday evening, friends.