Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mind Your Feet

I woke up this morning, took a shower, got dressed, made lunch, and walked out my front door to my car, same as always.  I drove to work, singing along to Christmas songs and (lightly) cursing at drivers who insist on going 20 when the speed limit clearly states 35, same as always.  I pulled into the parking garage, and my spot was open on the second level, same as always.  I parked my car, stopped my iPod, grabbed my lunch and purse and headed for the stairs, same as always.  Halfway down the stairs, it suddenly wasn't the same as always.  My foot got caught on my jeans, and I was falling down a flight of stairs.  I could see myself, lying on the cold hard concrete, bleeding with some sort of broken bone and having the worst Christmas ever.  Then, with the grace and poise that comes with tripping over things A LOT, I miraculously caught myself, untangling my shoe in midair.  I hurried down the rest of the stairs and across the street through the arctic wind and into the office.  Another win for the balance-challenged.

Monday, December 17, 2012

In the Light of Tragedy

In the aftermath of the terrible, heart-crushing tragedy that took place on Friday, it seems utterly frivolous to return to my regular blogging without at least some remembrance or something to honor those who lost their lives to unprovoked violence.  My heart wrenches whenever I think about those affected by the tragedy, especially the families of those who sacrificed so much.  As stories of untold bravery pour in, such as the teacher who ushered her first graders into their classroom bathroom, and kept them quiet until the gunfire stopped, or the brave teacher who hid her children in closets and cupboards then lied to the gunman to save them, giving up her own life in the process, I am overwhelmed by feelings of great grief and haunting images. This sort of thing should never happen, let alone have happened four times in the last two years.  That's not even counting the minor (if you can call them that) incidents where only a few people were killed by someone going apeshit with a firearm.  I don't know what needs to happen in our country to stop these, but something needs to be done.  Whether it's harsher gun control or more focus on mental health issues, or both (which I think is what needs to happen), something needs to be done to stop these terrible, horrible occurances that seem to be becoming more and more mainstream day by day.  My heart goes out to those who are suffering the affects of the Connecticut shooting, as well as all of those who have been affected by the smaller shootings that seem to occur on an almost daily basis.  May God bless us all and keep us all safe, and help guide us in the direction that will lead to an end to such senseless heartbreak.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I am not a fancy girl.  Tulle makes me itch, makeup takes too long, and I'm not really a fan of pink.  I can't fix my own hair, I bite my nails, and I'm about as clumsy as one person could be.  But sometimes I get this itch. This fancy itch that just won't go away no matter how I wish it would.  This fancy itch wants me to do fancy things, like attempt to curl my hair on a regular basis, or paint my nails a bright red (which by the way helps me not to bite them).  But the real main itch wants me to be fancy to all my friends.  The itch wants me to throw a fancy pants dinner party.  You know, like the ones seen on all the blogs and all over pinterest.  Where the decor is fancy, the people are fancier and the food is fanciest.  Now, every time I've thrown a dinner party in the past, it has not turned out how I thought it should.  Don't get me wrong, they've been a blast, and I'm a damn good cook if I say so myself, but they never turn out the way I think they should in my head.  So here is what my dream fancy pants dinner party would look like.

The Theme

I always find that just having a random dinner party is fun, but usually works better if there's some sort of theme or current.  For this one, I like Twelfth Night, because it's an underrated holiday which people don't celebrate anymore, and it is the end of the Christmas Holiday!  So we'd have a traditional dessert and someone would be crowned the King and Queen of the party.  Then we'd play games!

The Table

I'm a fan of the plain with splashes of color or pattern.  So I'd go with these plate settings from Anthropologie:

Fleur De Lys Dinnerware

with these from Williams-Sonoma as an accent:

12 Days of Christmas Dinner Plate

For flatware, I'd use these, again from Anthropologie:

Rediscovered Flatware

with this tablecloth (Williams-Sonoma):
Antique Floral Jacquard Tablecloth

and these napkins (it's a fancy party, you use real napkins) (Williams-Sonoma)
12 Days of Christmas Napkins, Set of 12

Now for glassware, this is my favorite part.  You have regular water glasses such as these:
Horta Water Glass

wine glasses: 

Frosted Panes White Wine Glass

and of course, cocktail glasses, such as these beauties:

Platinum Petals Coupe

And of course for hot beverages after dinner (what dinner party is complete without Wassail or coffee or hot buttered rum?)  these would fit the bill nicely.

12 Days of Christmas Mugs

The Food

The food, oh the food.  It'd be fancy, I'll tell you that!  I'm thinking this on the menu:

Appetizers (served as people arrive, along with cocktails)

  • crab cakes
  • stuffed mushrooms
  • pigs in a blanket
Served with:
  • Gimlets
  • Cranberry vodka sours
  • Simpleton cocktail
  • Main Course:
    • Beef Wellington
  • Sides
    • Duchess Potatoes
    • Roasted green beans
    • Salad
    • Rolls
  • Wine
  • A mix of Christmas cookies 
    • Sugar
    • Molasses
    • Chocolate Crinkles
  • Wassail, coffee, hot chocolate
That is my perfect fancy pants dinner party.  I may try to put it on soon!!!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Major Crush Alert

I know I've written about this before, but I feel like it deserves reiterating.  You know how some people have celebrity crushes on people, and they change every few weeks, months, years?  Well I have those as well, but there is one celebrity crush that I ALWAYS ALWAYS come back to.  I discovered him when I was in high school, and it was love at first sight.  And it's been a one sided love affair ever since.  I love his curly brown hair, his big brown eyes, and his slightly large, off center nose.  And oh my his voice.  He could sing the alphabet song and I'd swoon.  Who is this amazing specimen of man?  Well, it's the one, the only, Josh Groban.  I've had other crushes of course, some in a musical capacity (Michael Buble, Jamie Cullum), some in a theatrical capacity (David Tennant, Channing Tatum), but none have ever come close to the love I habor for Mr. Groban.  He's adorable, funny, a fantastic nerd, and of course amazingly talented.  He always brings me up when I'm feeling blue, and no matter my mood, the addition of Josh makes it better.  You may be wondering why I'm going on and on about him now.  Well, I just got done watching his new vlog on YouTube announcing his new CD song list, and it just made me love him even more.  His new CD comes out in February, and I cannot wait.  So in conclusion, I love Joshua Winslow Groban, and I have a feeling I always will.  PS if anyone knows a way for me to meet him so we can fall in love and go on with our lives, if you'd let me know, that'd be fantastic.  Thanks :-)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

An Open Letter

Dear World,

Hi there.  How's it going?  Oh I'm all right, but I have a little complaint for you.   So I know it's getting to be Christmas time, with all the love and the joy and the people.  And trust me, I am one hundred and fifty percent behind all of that, plus so much more.  I am a Christmas fiend.  I mean my house was decorated the week before Thanksgiving for crying out loud!   However, this year is different than others have been in the past.  I've lost loved ones before Christmases before, and it's always hard.  Slightly less hard when you think about the fact that the loved ones were old and happy to go.  This year, I've not only lost a loved one, but I've lost a person who was something to me no one else can be.  And I'm all right, truly I am.  On a normal day, I can handle it no sweat.  It gets easier by each day. But world, you magical place full of miracles and love, you are not making it any easier.  In fact, with all this Christmassy stuff, you're making it downright difficult to go on with a normal existence.  Almost every non-religious Christmas carol makes me break down in tears.   I can't even BEGIN to listen to Josh Groban's "I'll Be Home for Christmas".  Just the opening chords bring me to tears.  Today I found myself crying at not one but TWO versions of Mariah Carey's "All I  Want for Christmas is You", and one of them included Jimmy Fallon playing a kazoo.  So I'm just asking a tiny favor, world.  Can you knock off some of the over the top sweetness?  If it's this hard for me, I can only imagine what it's like for others.  It would save me and my heart a lot of trouble, and it would make my friends and family worry about me less.  Thanks so much, I really appreciate it.  I do love you world, and I believe in all the sappy gooey utterly wonderful stuff you're serving up.  I just can't handle all of it right now.  I know you understand.  Thanks again world, and oh Merry Christmas!

Love, Ashley