Tag Archives: family

One Year Later

Yesterday was my blog’s birthday. It’s been 365 days since I wrote my first post on Anxiety and Depression. When I started this little blog space, I actually had almost no idea of what a blog was. All I knew was that I had a lot of ideas and was tired of getting up on my soap box in the grocery store line. I was tired of talking to people who didn’t want to hear my advice. (Fair enough for the poor people who mentioned one thing about gluten and then had to hear me talk about it for 30 minutes straight).

One year later, this blog has given more than I could have imagined. Of course, I’ve cut back on my number of posts, everyday is just too much. And I’ve narrowed my focus to life updates, health experiments, recipes, and workouts (yep, that’s a narrow focus, hah). But this thing is still a lot of work and there’s a reason I keep going.

This blog has connected me with long-lost friends and new awesome strangers. It (and some advice from my bff) led me to start my Happy Bootcamp. It has helped me focus my cooking energy on healthy meals and my workout energy on a manageable routine. It holds me accountable.

This blog helped me channel my design energy when I couldn’t get it out at work. And when I finally moved on, it helped me get a new job! And now, when my work isn’t health related and I want to talk health, I come here!

But finally, and most importantly, this blog has helped me stay in touch with friends and family all over the world. When I reunite with family after a long time and they know exactly what I’ve been up to, I know it’s all worth it. Because although I may not have any clue that they’re even reading, I know that if they want to pipe up and say hello, they can. The loved ones in my life are my main reason for writing. I miss you all so much, I just don’t want to lose a connection.

This blog has become an extension of me. It represents such a huge part of my personality, health and happiness.

So please … keep reading and I’ll keep writing. I hope you’re all having wonderful Wednesdays. Hugs and a big smoocheroo (yep, you’re all getting birthday kisses today) – Ash

 

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Marvelous Monday: Ashley Life Update

Whew! What an incredibly busy and awesome last two weeks. I’m not sure I’ve mentioned this yet, but since getting hired at the amazing new architecture firm, I also scored myself a second job!

I recently sold my car (we are now a one car “family!”) and had to get a bunch of work done on it. It turns out the mechanic I saw was looking for an office manager and voile! I’ve been working there about two weeks now and it’s perfect. A few hours tacked on to my normal Mon-Fri work day. Easy work, great atmosphere, perfect.

So one week after I started there, we left for a nine-day vacation to Maine. It could not have come at a better time. This was at the tail end of several months of uprooting and settling and then starting my 60 hour weeks. I was exhausted.

We, of course were on our way to Maine to see Mike’s family. Everyone of his family members lives there so we try to go back as often as possible. Mike’s parents have a “camp” (Maine word for awesome uninsulated house) on a lake there. It is, as my dad so perceptively named it, “my happy place.” So quiet you can actually hear the woodland animals, surrounded by huge, beautiful trees, great Maine sight seeing and hiking in the area, and they have a speed boat for wakeboarding, tubing, and water skiing! Doesn’t get much better. Continue reading

Tasty Tuesday: Sweet Ricotta Bruschetta

My parents AND siblings came down to see our apartment this weekend. Over the span of Friday and Saturday I had a crazy night with my parents, an awesome last bootcamp workout with new/old friends, and amazing Mexican food/Hot Dogs/dessert eat session with my siblings and Mike.

It so odd to be interacting with them as adults now. With my parents, its like I’ve returned with valid opinions and the ability to handle responsibility. WHAT?! Weird. With my siblings there were always arguments. Put together 4 boisterous, confident, outgoing, smart kids and there’s no way to avoid head butting. However! As we enter adulthood together, we’ve learned each other’s quirks and are actually starting to get along! Siblings as friends, who knew??

Anyway, my parents came over for appetizers before we went out for dinner. I have learned from many mistakes with this, not to shoot too high when it comes to apps. I settled on 1 reach plate (falafel which was a total disaster), rice crackers with this amazing local sauce called Bitchin’ sauce (too easy to mess up), and this Ricotta Bruschetta (great success!). I got the original recipe from Martha Stewart.

Disclaimer: It’s not entirely to my “no cow dairy” rule since each piece has ricotta but it didn’t actually irritate my stomach at all. VICTORY!

This recipe is unbelievably simple. It’s tasty and light and delicious. It’s probably best at breakfast time or when balanced with a different, more savory dinner app. Enjoy!

Sweet Ricotta Bruschetta Continue reading

Blog Morphings and Ashley Life Update

Blog Morphings: Before I left Peoria, I was voicing a concern to my coworkers. What would my blog become when I wasn’t surrounded by health all day? It was so easy to produce content and be constantly researching and “in the know” when I’m giving exercise, nutrition, and chiropractic advice all day. My coworkers, in their infinite wisdom, just proclaimed, “you can do whatever you want!” Oh yeah! It’s my blog, my space, I can do whatever I want. MUAHAHA!

Continue reading

Mindful Monday: Time for a Change

My loved ones and regular readers know that moving to Peoria came completely out of the blue for me. This time last year I was cycling in Collegiate Nationals, packing for a trip to Italy, and finishing up my thesis. Then, suddenly I realized that I would do many crazy things to stay with that man I love, Mike. So we graduated, went to Italy, and then moved to Peoria. Continue reading

Thriving Thursday: Mom’s Shepherds Pie

Happy Thursday to you all! It’s almost the weekend and I’m excited about it. This last couple months has been absolutely crazy at work. It’s really wonderful to see so many people starting their path to health but I’m a little glad that it’s starting to taper now. I was starting to miss my relaxation (and cooking) time. So here is a great recipe directly from my Momma’s kitchen.

My mom is a fabulous cook. She claims to hate it but how can you hate something you’re so good at?? I think she gets tired of cooking every single night (who wouldn’t) but goodness knows we would have been a MUCH less healthy family without her daily meals.

She is one of those people who can whip up a meal when the fridge and pantry are completely empty. If friends stop by for a chat, she has the most creative and delicious appetizers on the table within 5 minutes. She has mastered the art of feeding AND socializing with people. Those who have tried it know how hard that can be.

She taught me this recipe before I left for college and it quickly became my signature dish. She uses mashed potatoes from the box (understandable with 4 kids and no time) but I love mashing potatoes. They taste better and I get to let out my pent-up aggression on them. So I turned to my friend Alex for some further input. She is also an amazing chef and trained in the art of food.

So here is my combination from the two lovely ladies. My mom’s was quicker but slightly healthier and Alex’s was a little more time-consuming but richer and more savory.

ShepherdsPie-Published

Mom’s Shepherds Pie

Note: This is a delicious dish but if you’re trying to lose weight, do not eat it for dinner. You don’t want the potatoes sitting in your stomach all night. Unless you use the energy, it will turn into fat.

Ingredients:

  • 5 medium potatoes
  • 1 cup organic butter
  • 1 cup milk (unsweetened almond, coconut, whatever…)
  • 1.5 lbs ground turkey
  • 2 Tbsp high heat oil (like coconut or grape seed)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 zucchini
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup gravy (I use Bisto but it contains trace gluten so be careful)
  • salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to its lowest setting.
  2. Chop potatoes into small pieces. Boil them in a large pot of water until soft when stabbed with a fork.
  3. While they’re boiling, chop the onion, carrots, and zucchini.
  4. Drain the potatoes and mix in a large bowl with butter and milk. Mash them all up! Set aside.
  5. In a large pot (yes a large pot) sauté the onions, carrots, and minced garlic on medium heat. Cook until onion is transparent, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add turkey and zucchini to the skillet. Cook for 5 minutes then add gravy. Continue to cook until meat is browned.
  7. Spread out the turkey mixture evenly in the pot then layer the potatoes on top.
  8. Heat in the oven for 5 minutes to let juices mix.
  9. Enjoy!

I hope you’re all having wonderful days. Love and a grin. – Ash

 

Just Turn It Off.

Have you ever run into a pole? Fallen off a curb? Swerved into the other lane? Crashed your car? Ignored your friends or significant other? Have you ever checked out of reality and into technology?

If you have a phone, TV, computer, tablet, or game console, you have. Technology is awesome. It has absolutely morphed our world and the way we communicate with each other. For instance, I can have a quick text conversation with my friend in China when she wakes up in the morning and I’m just about to hit the hay. And I can have a weekly conversation with my Gran just to hear each other’s voices.

But the real question is: do you know when to turn it off? When was the last time you turned off everything with a power button? Unless you were on an airplane or suffering a power outage, when was the last time you turned off all the screens?

In this crazy modern world, I think we need to be very careful that we don’t lose all forms of social interaction. But also, how do we just shut it all down and relax?

This weekend, Mike and I are going to have Simple Sunday. We will turn off the TV, our computers, and our phones. We will read books, play board games, and talk to each other. Maybe we’ll even cook together or something hoity toity like that. But we WILL NOT have any connection to the outside world unless we go out and talk to people.

I’m excited. But I’m also weirdly nervous. How do I relax my brain without TV? What if there’s an emergency and my family needs to reach me? Board games are boring! And what if I want to do a little online shopping? These sound like stupid questions but wouldn’t you be feeling the same way?

That’s terrible! So why don’t you try it? A simple day without technology. Talking to people. Face to face. And teaching your brain to relax without any outside help.

Let’s reconvene on Monday. Happy weekend Ya’ll!