Monday, February 23, 2015

Goodreads Reading Challenge | 50 Books in 2015

Around this time last year I tried and failed to get back into reading. I was getting my books from the library but it wasn't convenient enough for me to keep going, so in the end I just stopped reading altogether. For a few months, at least. It wasn't until August that I really started reading again. While I was browsing books at Barnes and Noble the movie cover for The Maze Runner caught my eye. I was like 'Hey, I recognize a lot of those actors!'. ha. Adrian had heard about it and said it sounded interesting so we picked it up. It took me a bit to get into the book, but once I did I became obsessed! I quickly read through the entire series. After that I started reading book after book.

Because of that I decided to start using my Goodreads account again. I noticed they had a reading challenge so I chose to read 25 books by the end of the year. Honestly, I didn't really expect to complete 25 books in less than 5 months. In the end I ended up reading 32, which to a younger Ashley would have been nothing, but to an adult Ashley it's quite an accomplishment.

Since I did so well in such a short amount of time last year I decided to up my books to 50 this year. So far I'm not off to a very good start. For Christmas Adrian and I bought ourselves Nintendo DS's and quickly became obsessed with Animal Crossing. At the same time we were binge watching Community (re watch), then Scrubs (a favorite of Adrian's and the first time for me), and now we're onto Friends (again a fave of Adrian's and a first time for me). Not a whole lot of reading was getting done at all.  On top of that the third and fourth books I've chosen to read are pretty long (514 and 763, respectively). Hopefully the rest of the year goes a little better. I'm going to be doing a recap of the books I've read so far after each ten I read, with individual reviews of my favorites in between.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Three months gone

Wow. It's been almost three months since I took a break from blogging and, honestly, it feels like so much longer than that. I guess that's what happens when you stop doing something during the busiest time of the year. I hadn't planned on starting back up again until we had internet back at the house but I've missed it so I'll just have to work with what I've got (aka the data on my phone).
Instead of writing a seperate post on what I've been up to since November I thought I'd just give you some highlights. I added links to some instagram pictures so I don't go crazy adding all of them to this post. Here we go!

  • We had a short but sweet Thanksgiving, as Adrian and I work in retail and had to be at work at 6pm on Thanksgiving day!! In the early afternoon my younger sister, Kendall, and her boyfriend came over to have an early dinner with me, Adrian, Adrian's brother Gabriel, and Gabriel's friend. Afterwards we were able to squeeze in a quick board game before we had to get ready to leave. 1 // 2 // 3

  • In early December I won a contest on instagram run by Diana Willard. The prize was a beautiful painting by Diana. I've never won a contest like that so it was pretty exciting. I also had a really nice birthday. Again, my younger sister came over. We went to dinner at Old Spaghetti Factory and saw Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One. 1 // 2 // 3

  • Our truck schedule went from 6am to 4am for 4th quarter, so we basically were zombies for a couple of months. Going to bed at 9pm is very weird for us.
  • A few days before Christmas I said goodbye to my sister before she flew back East for Christmas. Unfortunately I wasn't able to go and it was really upsetting, again.. retail. ugh. It was the last time I'm going to see her for a really long time. Almost as soon as she and her boyfriend got back from their trip they moved to Washington. I'm really happy for them, but I miss her a lot. 1 // 2

  • The morning of Christmas eve Adrian and I opened most of our presents since we were driving to Anaheim to spend Christmas with his mom. We got a lot of really amazing gifts and I couldn't be happier. That night Adrian's mom made us dinner before she went to a Christmas party. While she was gone Adrian, Gabriel, and I drank cocktails and watched Home Alone. In the morning I made breakfast and we kind of just lounged around all day. It was nice and relaxing. In the early evening we drove home. 1 // 2 // 3
  • New Years eve was weird because we weren't able to watch the ball drop. I think we ended up making some food and watching Scrubs. Or was it Community? I don't remember.. // 1 //
  •  In mid January we were feeling..weird. I don't really know how to explain it. Antsy, I guess? Or maybe just bored. Anyway, we decided we needed to get out of the house so we rented a hotel room in Ontario, which is about a 45 minute drive from our house. We stayed at an Aloft hotel. It was seriously the prettiest hotel I've ever stayed at. I'm considering writing an actual review eventually, so for now I'll just say we had an amazing time. 1 // 2 

  • At the end of January we bought a new mattress and an actual bed frame. We are getting a little too old to still be sleeping on mattresses on the floor and it definitely wasn't doing Adrian's back any favors. It's so comfortable! This prompted us to do a deep clean of our bedroom and I'm happy to say that we've been doing a pretty good job of keeping it clean. 1 // 2

  • Now that all of the holiday craziness is over we're back to our regular routine. I'm mostly reading and watching a lot of you tube videos. I've gotten really into daily vloggers, although it's kind of hard to find good ones. If you have any recommendations, let me know. I've also started exercising somewhat consistently again. I've already noticed a difference so I'm really motivated to keep going. We're also going to try eating a lot healthier in the coming months. We want to come up with a really good meal plan.

Alright, so that was much longer than I originally intended! Finally, I just want to let you know/warn you that I'm probably going to be posting a lot more book related posts in the future. It's something that has kind of taken over most of my free time so that'll be reflected in my posts. I'm so happy to be back to blogging!!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Temporary hiatus.

Unfortunately, for the time being I'm going to be on a temporary hiatus. I don't have access to the internet and I don't really know when I will get it back. I'm able to use the internet on my phone but I dont really see myself posting much from it. Hopefully it won't be for much longer! :)

Monday, November 3, 2014

October 2014 Photo a Day Recap.

You may have already seen my post about it, but over on instagram I decided to do a photo a day challenge during the month of October. I was mostly successful, I only missed two days. I had a lot of fun coming up with things to take pictures of. I definitely don't think I could do this every month, though. I'll probably do it again in December. Below are the pictures I took all month!

1. Something wicked // Hocus Pocus! I didn't end up watching it this year. We were too busy watching 31 horror movies.
2. Childhood costume //  I believe this was a last minute Esmerelda costume. I even carried around my goat beanie baby. The skirt belonged to my mom and I kinda wish I still had it. I loved that thing. 
3. Ghost // I don't know if I've shown our Casper doll before, but it's a 1960's Casper doll that we found at a antique store a few years ago. It's a little dirty but the voice still works!
4. Halloween Snack // I did a lot of Halloween decoration shopping this day but I failed to buy an actual Halloween snack. This worked.    
5. Me // Me in my costume from last year. I'm still really proud of it.                          
6. Leaves // I was very tempted to buy these bags. They were at a really cool costume shop here in town.                      
7. Sweater // I love sweaters so much. I'm so happy it's cooled down enough where I can wear them.
8. Black and white //  Do you guys remember those little izone polaroid cameras from the early 00's?  This is a picture I took at least ten years ago of my cats. I can't believe I've been able to hold onto it this long.      
9. Watching // You have to watch the horror Boy Meets World episode during Halloween. You have to.
10. Homemade // My Halloween banner I made last year.           
11. Cozy // I got the days mixed up somehow. This day was supposed to be 'In the dark' and vice versa. I was still pretty sick so I was drinking more tea. I still have a little bit of a cough, but it's mostly gone.         
12. In the dark // We started making our Halloween Mood Table.                        
13. Mask // I've been looking for a green mask for my Robin costume for a while. This one was perfect.                      
14. Dinner // I was too busy enjoying dinner to take a picture so I took one later of my dessert.
15. Scary Movie // This was pretty much the one night we didn't watch a horror movie all month. Then I forgot to take one the next day to make up for it.
16. Tradition // Making a Halloween mood table is going to be our new tradition. I loved it so much and I was sad to take it down yesterday.
17. Morning // Painting my nails. :)
18. Leaves // I don't know how I missed it, but when I was making my list I somehow put 'leaves' on there twice. Oops.
19. Six pm // Our neighborhood looks really pretty when the sun is setting. 
20. Nostalgia // Our Halloween costumes from 2011. That was a really good Halloween. We had a snow storm which was pretty crazy. It never snows that early in Virginia.
21. Orange // One of many painted pumpkins decorating Fun Corner.
22. Decorations // We didn't really do much decorating outside the house this year, aside from this one headstone. No one was home on Halloween night so I don't think anyone cared. 
23. What I'm wearing // I was only able to wear this sweater for a few hours that morning, but it was worth it.
24. Collection // A few months when these came out we bought all of them. I think they look really cool in this display case.
25. Pumpkin // We didn't buy any pumpkins this year (again, no one was home on Halloween so no point) but I saw these at Ralph's. I love tiny pumpkins.
26. Bake // We have had that can of pumpkin for a while and I was dying to make pumpkin bread. I should have put bake earlier on the month! 
27. Scary // Adrian made such a cool mask for his Halloween costume. He was Professor Pyg from Batman. The costume was super creepy.
28. Black // A ghost pillow that I forgot I had until the month was almost over. I used to have a blanket to go with it.
29. Words // I made this because I love the Haunted Mansion. Adrian did the words and I made the painting.
30. Candy // Another baking day! I made a few treats to take to my sister's Halloween party.
31. Halloween! // My sister and I on Halloween. You can't really tell but I wore this. I was supposed to be Man Bat from Batman and my sister was Harley Quinn. It was the most comfortable costume I've ever worn.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Halloween Mood Table 2014

The concept is from Dinosaur Dracula. For Christmas you put up a Christmas tree, but for Halloween you have the mood table. Every time we light it up it feels so much like Halloween in our room. I really love the atmosphere while we're watching horror movies. Adrian decided he wanted to watch 31 this month, like I tried and failed to do last year. I think I would have done a much better job had I not been trying to watch them on my own. I'm so happy he's in the holiday spirit for Halloween, hopefully that carries on into Christmas. Anyway, here is our 2014 Halloween Mood Table:

The hand painting in the middle is by my fiance, Adrian. :)

These Left 4 Dead posters are currently hanging above our bed. They were a gift from my younger sister. 

Underneath the tv, behind everything, there are a couple records and a piece of art we got from comic con a few years back. Over the windows we have two Friday the 13th movie posters and a Nightmare on Elm Street poster, all from the remakes. Since they're theater posters the light comes through them and it looks pretty spooky.

1. // A vintage 1960's Casper doll Adrian and I bought a few years ago at a thrift shop. It's a little dirty but the voice box still works
2. & 3. // Light up pumpkin and skeleton honey comb decoration; both from Fun Corner, a local costume shop.
4. // A vintage Halloween candy dish I found last year.
5. // Baskets holding Hostess Scary Cakes and Halloween Twinkies.
6. // Carved pumpkin and werewolf Vinylmation's.
7. // We bought these skulls at Olvera Street in Los Angeles a couple of years ago. We have them out all year anyway, but we liked them for this table too.
8. // Adrian got a pack of 8 of these bear things from Fun Corner.
9. // The extra Ghostbuster's Krispy Kreme box they gave us.
10. // A weird head trick-or-treat pail on top of a Halloween music record sleeve.
11. // The Halloween banner I made last year. I originally had it hanging in front of the windows, like last year, but we moved it once we put up the posters.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Too sick to post and what I did this week.

I've been pretty sick the last two weeks so I haven't really had a chance to post anything. I'm finally starting to feel better so I thought I'd post some pictures I took this weekend and the last couple of days.

I did a lot of eating again this weekend. We also spent most of Saturday with my sister and her boyfriend going to different places to look at Halloween stuff. We then spent the evening at their apartment playing games (video and board). It was a lot of fun.

Other (kind of) interesting stuff I did this week was drive an hour round trip to get the new Ghostbuster's Krispy Kreme donuts. They were delicious and well worth the drive, but the filling did not taste like marshmallow. Which was fine. I also tried their pumpkin cheesecake donut and it was amazing. We also went to our local costume shop, Fun Corner, to check out what they had and to get some more stuff for our Halloween mood table. I will get into that more in a later post once it's finished. I'm really excited about it.

Just a reminder, if you want to join in on my October photo a day challenge you can get the details here.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Inspiration; Halloween Party

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1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8

I don't think I've ever had a Halloween party. I have one vague memory of a friends party as a kid, but the closest I've got is community Halloween parties. When I lived in the little town in Maryland where I grew up, the town always threw holiday parties. My mom was on the committee so my sisters and I would always be recruited to help decorate. I always had so much fun going to the community center at night when it was empty and help get everything set up. I felt very important. ha. During the parties we had cupcake decorating, games to win candy, and costume contests. At least one of my siblings and I would always win a prize because my mom always made amazing costumes by hand. One of the things that gets me most excited about having kids one day is celebrating holidays. 

I absolutely love vintage/vintage looking Halloween decorations. More than any other kind of vintage things. They're just so much spookier and interesting. A lot of the decorations I currently have Adrian and I found in various thrift/vintage shops when we lived in Virginia. My favorite by far, however, is the Halloween candy dish I found after Halloween last year. I'm excited to get to use it this year. I already filled it with candy corn my mom bought me.

 I would probably never actually use tarot cards. They've always freaked me out, along with Ouija boards. I had my palm read once with Adrian at Knott's Scary Farm a few years ago. That was enough for me. I'm not really sure if I believe in ghosts, but the possibility scares me and I don't want to mess with that.

As of now I don't have any plans for Halloween, but hopefully we can come up with something fun to do this year. Do you guys have any fun Halloween party memories?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Photo-a-day in October!

I really wanted to participate in an October photo a day challenge on my instagram this year, but all of the ones I found had 1-2 (or sometimes more) prompts that I wasn't really happy with. After much searching I decided to make my own. Below is the challenge I made. If you'd like to follow along with my challenge use the hashtag #SEphotoaday. I am so excited that October starts tomorrow!!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dream Closet; Sweaters from Sheinside

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9

I first heard about Sheinside from Kristina Horner's clothing haul videos. She's done a few videos with their clothes in them and everything is always super cute. I finally checked out their site the other day. I've barely even begun to look at the loads of stuff they have and I already love most of it. These are just a sampling of the sweaters I found that I liked. Their prices are pretty reasonable too and it looks like they do a lot of sales. It's finally cooled down here this weekend and I just pulled out my fall clothes that I had put away at the beginning of Summer. I love Fall!!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Looking back; Summer 2014

The weather is finally starting to cool down, so I guess it's now the end of summer here in California. This summer wasn't nearly as exciting as the last one, but there's no way I could top moving across country and having a Disneyland pass. We did our best sweltering in this miserable heat, especially the last two weeks. Here is a little look at my summer..

As you can see, we didn't get out very much. We didn't want to go over board with our spending like last year and the heat has a way of making one lazy. This summer I started reading full on again, I started painting and I'm having so much fun with it, I spent some time with my siblings, dyed my hair blonde again, tried gardening (until it got too hot and everything died), and ate way too much ice cream.

Goodbye, Summer. You were hot and mostly boring, but not the worst summer I've ever had. Next year I promise (to myself) I will take an actual vacation.