I Know, You Know...

I Know, You Know...

In case you aren't friends with me on Facebook, don't follow me on Twitter or Instagram, or just live under a rock, you may have missed the fact that Psych season 7 started Wednesday night. I started watching Psych last fall (thank you, Uncle Mike! I'm forever in your debt!), seasons 1-5 on Netflix, and finished just in time for season 6 to start. Aaaand it is my very favorite of favorite shows and I have been very eagerly anticipating the return after 10 month (!!! so long!!!) hiatus between seasons. Finally the day arrived... I woke up feeling like it was Christmas morning. 

TONIGHT!!! Finally...

Like good Psych fans, we had plenty of pineapple!

Delicious flavor...

Our version of quatros quesos dos fritos... cheese fries from Outback =)

Decked out in my Psych gear (courtesy of Rory =)

FaceTime with my favorite Psych-os before the big premiere!

I may or may not have blown up Twitter with quotes throughout the episode. Sorry not sorry.

Anyway, it was a fantastic episode, hilarious as always, and I don't know how they do it but the writers and cast continue to top themselves with each season. (Do I sound like a crazed fan yet? I am... I admit it. Don't tell me these people aren't real!) It's rare to find a show with both truly funny dialogue/jokes and excellent story lines, but these guys have both. I won't give anything away (*cough* Henry lives*) because some people whose priorities are severely out of order have not yet seen the episode. So, I will refrain.  You're welcome.

Icing on the cake... getting retweeted by Psych =)

Well, now you know that I am an incurable Psych-o. Let me know if you watch too... I will gladly quote it with you at any given moment. And if you're not watching... well, you're a rabid porcupine. Or this crevice in my arm. 

I've heard it both ways.


Happy Birthday, Little Blog...

Happy Birthday, Little Blog...

For several months, I had tossed around the idea of starting a blog. I had several reservations, the main one being that I had no idea what it would be about. Then last February, I went home for a visit and a group of us (my sisters, my mom, and some friends) had a big discussion about what I could write about and what I could call it (All About Ash, Just Kidding... But Seriously, and something about "Rash" were mentioned... thank goodness none of them made the cut.) So, I got home and gave it a little more thought, then finally took the plunge.

A year ago today, I blogged for the first time. I wasn't really sure what I would write about on this blog, or if anyone other than my family would read it, or how long I would keep it up.

I still don't have any clear guidelines as to what I write about (my rule of thumb is "whatever I want"), my family and a few friends read along, and a year later I'm still going (strong? you tell me.) I really do love having this outlet for sharing about our lives, my shopping tendencies, the occasional rant, some recipes, and whatever else floats my boat... tickles my fancy... okay, I'll stop. Another thing I love about it is the opportunity to write in "my" voice... I've never had a chance to do that before (unless you count my diary in seventh grade, which I don't, since I burned it) and I really enjoy the whole conversational atmosphere.

Anyway, I'm so very thankful to each of you, whoever you may be, for reading. I've said this before, but it doesn't really make sense to me to spend time writing posts that no one reads. I'm not saying you have to have a huge following (since I don't myself) but I know enough of you read that I don't feel like I'm wasting my time. Every time someone "likes" a post on Facebook, or shares a post, or comments, it really does make my day. And every now and then one of you will come up and say "I really enjoy your blog," people that I would never dream would read it, and it makes me feel good. Honestly, if I am making you laugh, or think, or roll your eyes, or worry about my finances because of all my shopping (Mamaw), then I am doing my job. (Actually my job is an English teacher, but you know.) 

This year I have been able to meet some wonderful people through my blog, discuss some topics that I've enjoyed, and received some really kind and awesome feedback from so many of you. I haven't "grown" my blog in the typical sense of sponsors, lots of "followers," etc., and I would enjoy that in the future, but for now knowing that mostly people I know (and love!) are reading is enough.

So, the first of (I hope) many years here at A Dash of Ash is behind us. If I have even marginally entertained you along the way, it's been worth it. Let's see where this year takes us, shall we?

Happy birthday, little blog. I shall eat a cupcake in your honor.


If One Is Good, Three is Better (WIWW)...

If One Is Good, Three is Better (WIWW)...

You know the saying, "'If you love something, buy it in every color"? Well, I have taken it to heart. A few months ago, I was at Belk with my mom and tried on theeee cutest polka dot shirt. It was one of those "I'm trying this on because I'm bored, since it's only 30% off" things, but I resolved to watch it until it was on clearance. 

Two months later, there it was- adorable as ever and 85% off. Boom. Done.

In fact, I loved it so much that I went back a few weeks later and bought the pink one.

Exhibits A and B.

And while I also adored the burgundy color, I decided that three of the exact same shirt might be a little overkill...

...which I convinced myself of otherwise this week.

"Too much? Think anyone'll notice?"

*Pursed lips... I'm turning into my mother!



Gift from little seester- NY & CO

Aaaand the sun peeked out for just a second. How thoughtful.

Top: Belk
Skirt: Belk
Pumps: Target

So, if you think Belk is an old lady store (and I certainly know some old ladies that shop there!) give it another chance. You may have to do a little sifting, but you may end up with a really pretty ($8!) top. Or three. =)

What about you? Do you buy multiples of something you really love?


P.S. Linked up with Lindsey, as usual.

A Few of My Favorite Blogs...

A Few of My Favorite Blogs...

Later this week, I'll be celebrating my first blog-iversary... a very lame-sounding term that means it's been one year since my first post. (Crazy, right?) Anyway, I started reading a few blogs before I started mine but since I started blogging I've been exposed to lots and lots of blogs, some of which are really awesome.

I'm not the kind of person that subscribes to every little blog I find. Some people may have dozens or hundreds of blogs in their feed, but I just don't... mainly because I don't want to feel overwhelmed but also because if I want to see what someone is posting every day/week, I want to be genuinely interested. When you read someone's blog a lot, you start to feel like you know that person. You consider them a friend (even if they don't know you from Adam) and you grow familiar with their content, their personalities, and even their families. 

Strange, the ways of the blogging world. 

So, I'm pretty picky about which blogs I actually follow. Anyway, these are a few of my favorites- and why. 

1. The Small Things Blog- I know, everyone who has ever logged in to Pinterest has seen Kate's hair tutorials... but they're really good! I started using her curling iron tutorial last year and it pretty much changed my life. (Just kidding... but seriously.) She's got great hair tips (obviously) as well as cute outfit ideas and some really pretty DIY's. My only complaint? She's a Duke fan... which I'm willing to overlook since she has so many other redeeming qualities. =)

2. Merrick's Art- Merrick is a genius with a sewing machine... you would not believe some of the beautiful things she makes HERSELF! She has the cutest style and has done several "one pieces five ways" features which I always love. She also regularly posts about her adorable boys and their adventures in sunny California. (Did I mention she's also an artist? The girl is talented, for real.) 

3. Definitely RA- I found RA's blog through another friend and I love it, mostly because she is just such a good writer. While her posts range from nerdy (creating pie charts to document her reactions to sequels of favorite books) to personal (recently, a struggle with some changes in her schedule) she is really just a cool person (interested in lots of things, you know?) and so well-spoken. A self-proclaimed "word nerd," she inpires my writing every time I read a post. Oh, and she always has great pictures, too. 

4. Camp Patton- Oh, my. Where do I begin? I came across Grace's blog through Merrick's back in the summer and promptly read through the archives because I am a stalker and because she is soooo insanely funny. Her posts chronicle life with her three (!!!) very small children and her equally funny husband Simon, with an occasional (always cute) outfit or recipe thrown in for good measure. Grace is one of the most hilarious people I know and also a friend (well, she follows me on Twitter. That counts?) I frequently forward her posts to my sisters.

5. Everyday Reading- Janssen is Merrick's sister and I have loved her blog from day one. She is probably the biggest bookworm I know (not surprising, since she's a former librarian) and many of her posts feature reviews of a recent read. She is also good for a great recipe and pictures of her darling little girls, Ella and Ani. Oh, and some really cute craft ideas and pretty outfits... you know, the whole package. Oh, and she is funny... and a little sarcastic, like me. =)

6. From My Grey Desk- Lauren, Kate's sister, blogs here at FMGD and is always posting cute outifts, info about beauty products, and an occasional shopping guide, along with some yummy recipes and the occasional though-provoking post. =) I have Lauren to thank for introducing me to many new bloggers as well as allowing me to experience my first link-up with her High Five for Friday posts.

7. The Pleated Poppy- Lindsey is the owner of the Pleated Poppy, an online shop of handmade items and the lady behind the blog of the same name. She is a seriously talented crafter who makes beautiful items for her shop, as well as posting super cool DIY's and ideas for decorating featuring her own home. Oh, and her three kids are just adorable. Also, thanks to Lindsey, I get to be a pretend fashion blogger once a week by linking up to her "What I Wore Wednesday" posts. 

8. Putting Me Together- Audrey is so cute and has such a heart for the Lord... you can tell! You can also tell that she has awesome style because of her always-cute outfits and endless remixes. Her Building a Remixable Wardrobe series and Building a Wardrobe from Scratch series are both worth checking out! She features lots of great tips on how to take an outfit from good to great. Plus, she loves chocolate ice cream, which means we were meant to be friends. 
Check out these blogs for some great inspiration... and a good laugh, if you need it. =) Or go to my Pinterest board for these and other great blogs. Happy reading!


P.S. These ladies don't know I'm posting about them... I just think they're great and thought you might want to see what they're about. =)

Pinterest Challenge...

Pinterest Challenge...

If I haven't mentioned it before, I really love Merrick's blog and Janssen's blog. These two lovelies, along with their sister Landen, have a "sister" series going on and I always love to see what topics they cover. This time, they chose a Pinterest challenge... and, to paraphrase the whole idea, we all love Pinterest but usually go pin-crazy without actually following through the things we pinned, whether it be a making a recipe, doing a craft, or recreating an outfit. 

So, these girls (who are clearly better at blogging ideas than I am) have invited me (well, not personally, because I'd be way excited about that) and others to join in the fun. I'll choose six pins and attempt to get around to using/implementing them. Thank goodness I have six weeks to do it. =)

The first of these just happens to be from Merrick's blog. I remember her writing about this back in the spring/summer and loving it... but never getting around to it. No more excuses... I love all things nautical and this shirt is perfect. I sincerely doubt my results will be as flawless, but we'll see.

2. Framed Initials (the link was spam and couldn't find the original source... sorry!)
I've had the frames from Ikea to do this for a while, but have put it off because, well, I'm lazy and would rather do a myriad of things (such as poke out my eyes) other than hang pictures on the wall. But I really like the idea and look of it (plus the bare spot over our tv is becoming an eyesore) so it made the list. (Don't worry... I won't be lying seductively in any photos displaying it. =)

3. Stripes and florals (1) (2) (3) (4
I clearly have an inner desire to wear stripes and floral together since it is allll over my style boards. These are a few of my favorite looks, and I am really itching to get my hands on a floral scarf. (Target has some great options, as usual.) I'm not sure if I've got the confidence to pull it off, but we shall see.

I came across this little gem a few weeks ago and even bought the stuff to make it but then I blinked and my yogurt had gone bad. (That and I am very hesitant to try new recipes on a weeknight when I'm already tired and hungry and unwilling to mess something up.) But I'm anxious to try this since I love chicken alfredo but not the usual load of calories. 

Of course I had to include a dessert. This recipe that Janssen shared recently had me at hello (if by hello you mean chocolate, which I do) and when she described it as her favorite, I was hooked. 

I really wanted to make these as Christmas presents but, alas, did not. But I really want to find the correct chalkboard paint (needle/haystack situation) and give them over the next few months. While I'm not one those people who feels the need to slap chalkboard paint all over everything, but I think these are adorable. I, for one, would use it on my desk at school. (So, if you get a gift from me soon, act surprised.)

That's it... let's hope I can really get around to all of these! I'd hate to think my husband is right and that all my hours on Pinterest are wasted. =)




This weekend, I got to go home. (I know, I know... home is where my husband is. But you know... home home.) Since I'm the only sister who doesn't live in the same town, it's really hard to be away but nice when I visit because everyone's already in one place. =) And, since a picture's worth a thousand words, I present you with approximately 34 zillion words (don't worry... in picture form... I'll try to minimize the captions.)

A trip to the mall of Georgia included destroying the Disney store and a blurry ride around the carousel. (Leslie was less than impressed, Emily rode sedately on her steed, and Baby Steven shouted "Hose! Hose!" the entire time, while never catching on that his "hose" was not going faster despite the kicks from his chubby legs.

Oh... and I got to meet this little guy. Can I just say that I am completely and totally in LOVE with his adorable squishy face and sweet smile and ridiculous amount of hair. I asked, and I'm his favorite auntie, in case you were wondering. 

And then there's the fat man of many faces... I think here his sister was tickling him and he was throwing french fries while shouting "Fies! Lah-ley! Fies!" 

Did anyone else watch the Psych party on Friday night? We watched the first part and went home (because we're wimps) but our dears Rory and Claire hosted a lovely viewing party, complete with waffles, bacon and sausage. (The pineapples were there in spirit.)

More of the fat man... He got LOTS of kisses from Auntie Ashley because, well, his fat face just needs to be kissed quite frequently. (I'm annoying you now, right? He grew weary also.)

My darling brothers-in-law are so handsome, especially Jake.

And Leslie is officially the most adorable 2-year-old ever. She is like a doll come to life (Ashee! I luh you! I luh you!") and despite the fact that she attempted to rip every hair out of my head (as evidenced in the above picture) she is my sweet baby! 

The obligatory sister/mama photo shoot... complete with sassy candids from Apes and Ames. So confident, those two.

We had breakfast on Friday morning at Midway Meal House (soooo fattening! soooo good!) and Emily and Steven were, as usual, so very camera shy. 

Some random shots... baby Steven WEEPING after being sung Happy Birthday to, Landon's ridiculously fat cheeks, Mom's homemade chicken noodle soup (yum!), the BELOW empty gas tank on Friday night (with no! gas! stations! open! God forbid anyone in Cumming should have a fuel crisis between the hours of 11-2!) and Emily strutting on her way to church. That's the view I saw of her most of the day, since she is a 24-year-old in a 4-year-old body and does not care much about what I say by way of commands. 

Although most of time she is a real peach. (To which she replies, "No Auntie Ashley, I'm just a pineapple." Such a clever child.)

I went with Amy to get her new iPad mini... hooray for FaceTime! (I'm sure it's just me she's excited to FaceTime, too =)

Love this guy!

As usual, the trip was far too short and leaving was hard (even though coming back to Jonathan was easy =). As usual, my maternal skills were tested ("Baby Steven... please don't tackle your sister." "Leslie... get that mascara out of your mouth!" (no joke) "Emily, please don't run away while I am trying to make you pretty for church." As usual, I went shopping (and got some great deals!) As usual, my mom spoiled me (clothes! food! dessert!) and I stayed up way too late with Dad watching Dick van Dyke and Andy Griffith. And there was lots of sister-chatting, niece-and-nephew-kissing, brother-in-law-mocking (of me, mostly) and just a generally jolly time. 

So, back home it is... and my house seems very quiet without dogs barking INCESSANTLY, children screaming over pieces of train sets and a whole bunch of people talking at once. I do like it both ways. =)


Head to Toe (WIWW)...

Head to Toe (WIWW)...

After waxing eloquent last week about the pros and cons of my compulsive thriftiness, I have again found myself posting an outfit that includes a shirt that I just bought for a whopping $4. Clearance just calls my name, you know? And it occurred to me when downloading my pictures that everything I'm wearing is from Target... head to toe! (It also occurred to me that I desperately need a haircut because my split ends are out of control.)

Target (all of it!)
This shirt was soooo very cheap but the peplum actually hit at a non-unflattering spot (I hope?) and it is so very comfortable but not too loose and blousy. And I'm sounding pickier by the moment so I'll stop.

I found this necklace at Target a few years ago for I think $3? And it has continued to be the thing that I reach for when wearing navy. (or black... sometimes I cheat.)

Thanks, Target, for dressing me on Sunday. I'm sure my fellow church-goers appreciated that I was fully clothed. Hope all you wonderful people have a wonderful Wednesday! (I'm getting a haircut this afternoon, thank goodness!)


P.S. Linked up with Lindsey



So... our church is having a family conference this week, and tonight the sermon was on temptation. I listened attentively, took notes, and inwardly noted some areas in which I could improve. Then I came home and ate a stack of Thin Mints.

The irony of the situation is not lost on me.

Now, is eating Thin Mints a spiritual matter? No (although, it was a pretty heavenly experience.) The point is,  I am extremely talented in the area of justifying any type of "treat" that equals cheating on my diet. 
"I had a long day... I deserve Thin Mints!"
"We're on a date... I should order something special!"
"I'm out of town... who counts points on vacation?"

Ugh... why is this so hard??? (Yes, I'm about a go on a rant about dieting... again. Buckle up and hang on.)
Here's my thing... I just want to eat and not think about it. I may have mentioned this before, but I'm a major salty person... chips, crackers, salsa, popcorn, all that stuff appeals to me more than sweets (other than cookies, obviously.) But I don't want to count out 27 cracker chips, or a "handful" (or two) or pretzels, or whatever. I just want to EAT... is this too much to ask, people??? Don't make me number this stuff! What can I say... I just have an emotional attachment to food sometimes, and whatever the points are shouldn't matter. Can you put a price tag, or a points tag, on happiness? This is where people reach a low point... as in throwing in the towel and eating a shameful portion of Girl Scout cookies. 

Plus, when I do seem to really try and eat something "good" (and by good I mean healthy, not really good... and I know all my health nut friends are mentally shaking me and trying to say that the two are not mutually exclusive... agree to disagree) it backfires. Case in point: the other morning we went to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. Did I order a chocolate donut like I wanted to? Nope... obedient Ashley ordered something that was only a few points and didn't sound awful. 

Then we pulled away from the drive-thru and I unwrapped this bad boy. I tried to eat it, but didn't get any further than this picture. Gaaaag me. Can you even tell what that is? I'm pretty sure disappointment was listed as one of the ingredients.

In fact, I've become convinced recently that Eve ate the forbidden fruit because she was on Weight Watchers and was desperate to find a zero-point food that she actually enjoyed. See? Dieting caused the fall of man.

Now I'm just being melodramatic. 

But really... if I have the munchies, salad is just not going to cut it. Eating an orange is not going to satisfy my need for chocolate, and chugging a bottle of water will never truly give me the same feeling of joy that a large Dr. Pepper will. And yes, I'm losing weight (!!!) and my clothes are fitting better (!!!) but I am just a little weary of the whole grind of the process. 
*I am also deeply sympathetic for people who have actual dietary restrictions and am fully aware that this counts as full-on whining. 

So, yes, the diet is actually going fine... I'm just mourning the loss of my teenage metabolism and the ability to plow through a bag of chips without stopping to count them or track the points later. Poor, poor me.

I deserve another Thin Mint.


Cheapskate (WIWW)...

Cheapskate (WIWW)...

If you have heard me talk about clothes/shopping at all, you know that I'm insanely cheap. Part of this is by necessity (since the McNeeses aren't exactly rolling in the dough) but it's mostly by design... and by design I mean I'm convinced it's a genetic trait passed down to me from my mom. Basically, a good deal is 75% off... no questions asked. Anything higher, you wait for it to go on clearance. (Notice I said clearance, not sale. There's a difference.) Anyway, I've gotten a little better (or maybe it's worse) about paying a little more for something that I know I love and will wear quite a bit. For example, I paid full price (!!!) for my leopard print scarf from Target, a purchase I've justified over and over because a) it was only $14.99 anyway and b) I've worn the scarf countless times since. 

Soooo all that to say this... the other night I was perusing around TJ Maxx and picked up a little floral skirt in a style I've wanted for a while. It didn't have a price tag, which sent my imaginative little mind racing. "Hey! It might be really cheap!" I brought it up to the sales lady, who told me she'd have to find a similar style and let me know. A few minutes later she came and found me in the store and said, "This was as close as I could find... we'll just call it $5." 

Hello, new best friend at TJ Maxx. 

On its own, the skirt is slightly Little House-y, but with a complete outfit I really love it. (Okay, it's still slightly Little House-y. Whatevs.) But I love that I already had everything else to wear with it for now and that it will work in summer and it's got pretty fall colors for that season. Boom- all-weather skirt for $5. Ashley for the win.

And because it's apparently a little creepy that I look like the Headless Horseman...

Early-morning fake smile and frizzy hair, just for you.

Hooray for cheapness thriftiness! Have you had any super-cheap, awesome finds lately? Let me know! The only thing better than finding a great deal is telling someone else about it. (It's called bragging rights =)


P.S. Linked up with Lindsey today!

How to Feel Better...

How to Feel Better...

Today was a long day. Not necessarily a bad day, just very long, very full, and all in all pretty overwhelming. (Insert hatred of people who vaguely refer to personal circumstances and give no explanation. Sorry, I am one of those people, for now.) Don't worry... nothing's "wrong," I promise. =)

 Anyway, as soon as I got home tonight I remembered some advice that a very wise man once gave me. Dr. Paramore, my college English professor and one of the most brilliant people I know, shared this list with the senior education majors during my last semester of college. As much as I enjoyed hearing it then, I needed it tonight, and after a long and desperate search through my box of college stuff (and a joyous walk down memory lane.... nope, still don't miss physical science!) I found what I was looking for. I love how the Lord brings back things like this and uses them even years after we hear them the first time.

"How to Feel Better" (from my counseling class, 2011)

1. Put things in perspective.

2. Play out the worst case scenario.

3. Count your blessings.

4. Read the Bible.

5. Do something new.

6. Look for someone to praise.

7. Get some exercise.

8. Schedule joy.

9. Act happy! 

Amen, amen, and amen. (Oh, and to this list I would add, "FaceTime with a four-year-old." That certainly didn't hurt my spirit!

Try this list, even if it's just one or two items. I promise it helps. Thanks, Dr. P- I feel better already. =)