Category Archives: Design

Friday Design: Me!

Alright so yesterday I said I changed a big thing in my life. Well here it is, I got a hair cut! Haha. To some people, men especially, it may not seem like a huge deal but, to me, it’s huge. I chopped off about 6 inches of hair and now have a cut comparable to that of Justin Beiber. And I love it!

Here’s a short story for you: When I was in kindergarten, my mom was having my three siblings and my stress levels were through the roof (anxiety from a young age!). I never wanted to leave her side and when I did, I would pull my hair out. Literally. I would twirl it around my finger and pull it out. Eventually my parents had to cut it very short and everyone in my class called me a boy. It was awful. Every Christmas and birthday all I would ask for was “long hair like a princess.” My hair grows VERY slowly and, needless to say, when it finally hit mermaid length (long enough to cover the ta-tas) I was very attached to it.

I have had a couple of chops since my senior year of high school but nothing like this. The first one was to shoulder length and truly a terrible haircut so it scared me away from hairdressers for several years. Now, as a working adult, I realized that my hair was thin and straggly and it was an effort for me to look at all professional and put-together.

^ This is the “before.” I was just a little nervous.

So 5 days ago I decided to cut it all off. Thankfully, my mom has a pixie-like cut and looks beautiful and sexy in it so I had high hopes I could pull it off too. My main fears were that a)I would look like a boy, b) I would no longer be sexy, c) it takes a spunky and fun kind of person to pull off a haircut like that and d) I would look like a boy.

^ That’s a lot of hair.

Well check it out for yourself. I think that, yes, people could mistake me for a boy, until their eyes travel down and they see the curves I have going on. And yes, some people may not find a cut like this sexy, but who cares because Mike loves it! And yes, I AM a spunky, fun person and I CAN pull it off. It’s pretty crazy how a new cut has absolutely changed my perception of myself. I keep getting startled by my reflection, then eyeing myself and thinking, “dang, that’s actually kinda cool.”

^ And here it is! According to Mike it looks much better in person than in the photos. But I love it! ps. I did not color it, all natural baby!

BIG shout out to my Dad today. One year ago he started his own big redesign when he signed up for the Challenged Athletes Foundation Million Dollar Challenge. Together, he and his awesome friend Steve have raised $20,000 to help physically challenged athletes get back on their game. But that’s not all. Starting tomorrow and over the next 7 days, they will be riding 620 miles from San Francisco to San Diego. 620 MILES! I have no doubt that training and raising money for this ride has changed my dad’s life. He has been touched by so many athletes that he’s met along the way, and I’m pretty sure he’s been amazed at what he can still make his body do. I can say that I am in awe of his drive and enthusiasm for the cause. He has, once again, proven himself to be an incredible role model and wonderfully giving man. Go dad! I love you.

I hope you’re all having wonderful days. And don’t every be afraid to take the plunge and do something crazy.

🙂

GO DAD!!

 

Friday Design: The Bike/Exercise Room

 

Alright, back by popular demand (kind of): Friday Design days! As you all know, Mike and I recently moved to Peoria, Illinois and we moved from a tiny space to a much larger one. Seriously though. We moved from half an attic and sharing a bathroom with another couple to a two bedroom apartment with a deck and a community pool. It’s awesome! Another awesome but expensive thing was that we had absolutely no furniture, aside from a bed, when we moved in.

I decided that I wanted to decorate this right by taking the time to paint the walls pretty colors and search for cheap, cool furniture. Until I found out that we weren’t allowed to paint the walls and no furniture is cheap. Haha. But alas, our apartment is pretty much done and we both love it. It’s comfy and cozy and has some really cool touches here and there.

One of our favorite rooms: The Bike/Exercise Room.

Our goals:

1. Keep our THREE race bikes, workout, outdoors gear plus everything else (like travel stuff) in this room.

2. Make sure it could double as a guest room.

3. Clear enough space so that I could do my daily workouts in there.

4. Make sure we could do all kinds of dirty stuff, like clean our bikes ;), in the room.

The Solutions:

1. Install our wall-mount bike racks and all the other nifty but ugly storage gadgets in this room only.

2. Find a cheap futon on Craigslist.

3. Keep everything off the floor and on the walls.

4. Cover the whole floor with puzzle-like foam mats. They’re cheap, comfy for workouts, and keep the carpet clean.

 

^This is before any kind of organization. It was a daunting task. Thinking back, I’m so glad it’s over.

 

^The same corner with our kits all hung up and a lot of our other gear in the closet (I really wish I could find my real camera for this). Everything on the walls are things that we loved but deemed not classy enough to be in our other living spaces.

 

^ Our beautiful bikes with our “bike care” center on the right and our new futon in the left corner. I was so stoked last week when we found the futon on Craigslist for $40! Also check out the floor mats. Bought those at a Menard (similar to Target) for $30 total. Everything else in the room we already had or “acquired” for free!

Anyway, I work out (and dance) in here every day and absolutely love it. I still can’t believe we have all this space 🙂

Ashley Life Update: Did the bad habit again last night and got a solid night’s sleep. Yesterday was a rough day for me, I was lacking motivation which is not allowed for my job. The sleep helped me wake up this morning feeling refreshed and ready to get people healthy. Pre-sleep experimentation will continue next week. Until then, I am going to look forward to sleeping in on Sunday.

I hope you’re all having great days and making progress in whatever area of your life that you’re struggling with.

xoxo 🙂

 

Sunday Seriously Fun Day!

Whew! What a weekend! Mike and I just finished unpacking from an action filled, awesomely adventurous weekend in Chicago. We did a little bit more of celebrating my birthday and a lot more of exploring Illinois. I can officially say that, as an architecture nerd (aka Archie), foodie, and culture lover, I LOVE Chicago. It’s like a perfect cross between Boston (my most favorite city) and NYC (my least favorite). So many gorgeous parks and mindblowing architecture. I just love it.

Because of the fact that I workout and eat right pretty much every day of the week, when I go on vacation, I’m on vacation. I learned this from my Momma and it works out pretty well. You get to enjoy the leisure of sleeping in and eating whatever strikes your fancy for a few days AND it’s a fantastic reminder of why I live the way I do. I now feel like a donkey’s rear end. An ass’s ass you might say. I am incredibly lethargic, having stomach cramps and bloating, and sore everywhere from a lack of stretching and muscle strengthening.

On that note, here is a photo montage of our weekend in the Windy City.

Question: For those of you following via email, can you see these photos in your message?

^ View of the skyline from the ferris wheel on Navy Pier.

^ Had to hit up Trader Joe’s to stock up on the cheap almond butter and other treats.

^ Mike and I at the Bean (aka Cloud Gate) in Millenium Park. Definitely my favorite area of the city.

^ We went to the Grand Lux Cafe for my birthday lunch. SO GOOD. Thanks Mom and Dad!

^Let’s start with a pineapple basil mojito and fresh calamari with zucchini and onion.

^ Kobe Meatballs with Cheesy Polenta.

^ Happy Belated Birthday to me!

^ Lava cake. When I broke it open the chocolate sauce poured out. I almost hyperventilated with glee.

^ Aw. He’s my best friend and my love. 🙂

^ Gorgeous drive home. Go sustainable energy!!

It was a fantastic weekend with my wonderful boyfriend. Thanks to my Mom and Dad for giving us a chance to live like we have money. I’m such a happy camper.

Maybe my smiles tonight will radiate all over the world and rub off on you guys 🙂

Friday Design: Remember the Love.

I have piles of Birthday, Christmas, and Graduation cards from loved ones. You know the cards that they’ve really put some effort into writing? The ones that you can’t bear to throw away. I thought of a solution!

This is in our hallway, across from the bathroom door. It’s great at taking up wall space without seeming too imposing. Our hallway is tiny and this fits just right.

^ This is the literal version of Pintrest! Pinned to it are lots of special cards, postcards to remind of places we’ve been, and happy photos of us. I smile every time I look at it.

^ Just some hemp cord, wooden clothes pins, and thumbtacks. All bought at Kmart!

I hope you’re all having a happy Friday. Even if you don’t have room for this, take a look through your old cards, its sure to put a smile on your face.

Our Office (corner of the living room)

There is one space in our apartment that, after six weeks, I finally feel is finished. Our “office.” Before we moved in I had three goals for whatever space we decided to put our desk:

1) A library! I think it’s so interesting to look through other people’s libraries and I’m proud of my book collection. Also it really encourages me to read instead of watch TV.

2) Two distinct spaces for Mike and me. We need our space when we’re working and I didn’t want this to be something we resent each other for.

3) A secluded area to focus completely but with enough natural light to stay awake during the day. I do a lot of my real job work at home so it’s important that I feel encouraged to work.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of the blank living room corner before we populated it with stuff but I can assure you, it was a definitely a blank living room corner. Our living room is huge (compared to what we’re used to in Boston) so it was the perfect opportunity to develop a little space tucked away in there.

^ It’s in the corner between that wall on the left and the door.

We bought a ton of our hardware and basic needs at Menards. I had never heard of this place until moving to the Midwest but its AMAZING. Its like Home Depot, Lowes, Target, and Best Buy all rolled into one much, much cheaper store. On top of all that, the people that work there are so nice. I think they may actually enjoy their jobs. Its pretty much heaven. One of our purchases there was the shelving. Which cost about $40. It was steep for us but that and the picture frames for our degrees (Menards-$8 each) were the only things we bought for this space!

Everything else:

– Table = My contribution from a previous apartment. Perfect for our two individual spaces. And so easy to fold up and move.

– Plastic drawer set and computer monitor = free from the previous tenant in our last place and free from Mike’s parents!

– Two Red Lights = Free from a great friend of mine who moved to China the same time we moved here. When we finally decided to move, I sent out a blast email to all our friends in Boston asking to check with us before they threw anything away. This particular friend donated almost her entire bedroom. Her stuff is scattered throughout our apartment. They’re plastic too which is extra cool.

Anyway, here are the photos. I’m pretty stoked on the space. Definitely accomplished all our goals for a total of $64. Heck yes.

^ The overall look. I wish that we could afford nicer, matching chairs and non plastic drawers but I think it still looks pretty put together.

^ The “library.” The only negative about this is we want to buy more books! The positive is that if we do we can adjust the shelves and add another one.

^ It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s the miraculous folding desk! Love this thing. Expensive when my ex and I bought it back in 2011 but so worth it. Solid cherry, comes with 4 folding chairs that store in the middle, and has wheels. What more could you ask for? FYI, we bought it on Amazon as a Valentine’s day present to ourselves. $300. Thank goodness he gave it to me when we broke up because I’m in love with it and could never afford another one!

^ Just a little detail but makes all the difference. Now my cords don’t get lost when I unplug them from my laptop!

I feel like this post was full of exclamation points but I just love this stuff! !!

Hope you’re all having good days. And don’t forget to smile, they’re contagious.

Time for Design!

If you’ve checked out my “About Me” page, you know that health is not my only passion. I recently got my Masters in Architecture and I love anything to do with design. Building, furniture, walls, structural, ANYTHING! So when my boyfriend and I moved to our new apartment in Peoria, I was pretty stoked to decorate. Our only restrictions were that we couldn’t paint the walls and we had almost no money (which was a problem since we also had no furniture).

Over the last several weeks we’ve been scouring thrift stores, garage sales, and soliciting free stuff from friends and things are turning out pretty well. I’m also really proud of how creative I’ve gotten with a lot of the spaces we had to inhabit. So I’m gonna post every once in a while about design, maybe it will inspire some of you!

^We drove from Boston to Peoria on a budget so we had to sleep in the back of the car. I put down a foam mattress topper and it was surprisingly comfortable!

^We literally had NO living room furniture, aside from Mike’s giant new TV.

^ We picked up this awesome IKEA bed and mattress for $200 from a friend back in Boston. Then sold my old, ugly one on Craigslist for $220. Profit!

Stayed tuned on how all these rooms morphed over the last several weeks.

ps. Keep smiling! They’re contagious.