Saturday, March 31, 2012

Happy Birthday to ME!!

As I have mentioned on here several times this month my Birthday is on St. Patricks just about everyone celebrates my birthday and most don't even know it!!!

I have a birthday tradition of going out to FX McRory's in Seattle for my birthday. It is an Irish pub/restaurant that does a HUGE St. Pats Day celebration with a slew of Bag Pipers, a Three Piece Band, Drumline and Dancers. The restaurant is decorated with Irish flags and banners and they have a special Irish Day Menu on my birthday. (Though I never order from it, I always get the Prime Rib!! YUM)

(Me and my Daddy with the cake he brought!!!)

This year I celebrated with Thomas, my Daddy, Deanna (MIL), Robert (FIL), Tyler (BIL) and Roz (BILGF). We had a wonderful time drinking green beer (thanks to the addition of green food colouring brought by Tyler) eating great food and blowing the candles out of the cake my Daddy brought!! I wore the birthday hat that my mom got for me last year...and I will continue to wear it every year! ILY Momala!!

(Playing "When Irish Eyes are Smiling")
(Playing the "Happy Birthday" song)

Sadly this year they only had the 3 piece band and a couple of Bag Pipers...we have noticed a downsize in the celebration at the restaurant over the last couple of years probably due to the economy...but it still is a really fun place to go!! But its so fun when the band plays for you at your table...It never gets old!!

After dinner we all attended the Opening Season game for the Seattle Sounders and they were victorious with a 3-0 win over Toronto.

(Deanna is taking the picture)

I received wonderful gifts from everyone.

Deanna and Rob gave me one of these Arrows from a store down in Sumner called Folkart Gatherings. I always croon over these arrows each time we go in there. So Deanna decided it was time for me to stop drooling and start having!! I love it and I love that she got me the Shamrock to hang from it. They have so many different styles and designs of "signs" to hang from the arrow and I believe they are a competitive price (though I haven't seen these anywhere else) In addition to the Arrow they also got me an adorable Gnome to put in my garden (yes I put those things in my yard...I think that they are cute and add character!!) I will have to get a picture of the gnome another time.

Tyler and Roz got me these adorable Owls from Pier1. One is a figurine, one is a lotion and the other is a lip balm. I think they are adorable and are the perfect addition to my decor.

My dad gave me a generous gift and I was so appreciative to have him be a part of my special day.

My Sister gave me a beautiful Gold and Green bracelet that I have worn several times.

Thomas gave me this, I have been dreaming of one of these for what seems like forever and my dream finally came through. We just picked this puppy up today and I love it already!! I still have to work on figuring out how it works. But I just wanted to apologize to all you married ladies out there... I know you think that you have the best husband but I love/hate to break it to DON"T because I DO!!!!

Its a Nikon DSLR D3100, with two lenses and a carrying case.

Do you have any traditions for your birthday? Let me know about them in the comments section!!

♥ Ashley

This was an emotional birthday for me as it was my first one without my mom (the ones in college don't count because I wasn't home for them) but I have to say that the company kept my spirits up and helped me to celebrate and have a wonderful time. I am so thankful for their kind and generous spirits and willingness to go the extra mile to ensure that I had a good time. I also received many text messages and FB posts on my wall from friends. THANK YOU!!

Friday, March 30, 2012


LSo I have been catching up on E's blog here the past few days (ok maybe a week...but she has been blogging since like 2009 and I find her life fascinating!!) anyways she does this post on her blog call OOTD (outfit of the day) I wanted to "copy" her - best form of flattery right? - so I am doing a LOTD (look of the day). Here is what I am wearing today to my mom's memorial - she LOVED pink. Her memorial is in Bellevue at 2pm.

Cardigan - Banana Republic circa 2010
Dress - Xhilaration for Target - March 2012 (best thing - it has *pockies!!)
Shoes - Xhilaration for Target - circa June 2008
Ladybug Fashion ring - Aldo - November 2011
Watch - ceramic Style&Co - Macys - May 2011
Mani - SHELLAC hot pink

My cousin (she just started High School THIS year) drew the caricature for us as a wedding present - isn't she talented?
I think that I probably need to have a lot more practice for making these posts better...but here is a girls first try!!

Let me know what you think in the comments section! Should I continue to do posts like this?

♥ Ashley
* pockies = pockets

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Manicures - Like or Dislike?

I know I have posted about my dislike of manicures on here before...but whats wrong with a little repeat?

Well I don't actually "dislike" manicures I just find fault in them. Here is what bothers me about mani's:

* since they cut your cuticles you tend to have A LOT more hangnails afterwards
* after digging your wallet out of your bag to pay for your mani, you nick you nail(s) and either have them fix it or just walk out embarrassed.
* once you get home you have one or two nails left that look perfect
* you paid all that money and spent the time to end up with chipped nails and extra hangnails or little bits of skin peeling off your fingers around your nail bed
* where was SHELLAC when I was getting married back in 2008?

Now here are some things I LIKE about a nice mani:

* they cut and shape your nails just the way you like it
* you get an awesome hand, arm, and finger massage
* you get some moisture locked in with the lotion massage
* if you go to the right place you get a hot rock massage
* your nails look nice and pretty
* if you SHELLAC your nail color lasts A LONG TIME without the many chips and nicks

So there you have it take on the mani.

Now I love me a mani and I look forward to the two or three I might get a year. But now that I have been introduced to SHELLAC!! I will never go back to a regular mani. You just can't beat a mani that looks just as good the day you got it a week+ later!! AND I found a cure to all those little extra bits of skin that pop up after your mani...don't have them cut your cuticles. I know I know it sounds crazy -- that's part of the reason you go in there. But this is what you do. You have them put on that cuticle diminishing cream and push back your cuties, then have them JUST cut what the pushed back nothing on your skin around your nail bed. Don't worry your manicurist will be more confused than you are right now but TRY IT AND YOU WILL THANK ME!!!

So you probably are wondering what brought on this post, I just got home from getting a SHELLAC mani and here are the pictures to prove it:

after looking at these pictures I am finding that I REALLY need to get a new camera that does better close ups! My little Casio from 2005 just isn't really cutting it nowadays.

SO what do you think of my hot pink colour? I know its brave but I figured since spring break is next week I can pull it off. And its pink so my (late) Momala would approve. Love you mom!!

Let me know what you think of your SHELLAC mani and if you took my advice on not getting your cuties cut in the comments section!!

So all in all Manicures - iLike as long as its SHELLAC!

♥ Ashley

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ultimate Wedding Week - Bridal Shower

Natasha over at Schue Love is participating in "The Ultimate Wedding Week - 2012 Link Party" She is actually the focus for today's topic: The Ceremony

While I do not have any pictures saved on this computer of my ceremony I did find some pictures of one of my many bridal showers!! This one was hosted by my MIL's best friends at my MIL's house. This was by far the most outrageous shower I have ever attended. It was fabulous and I still smile when I remember this day.

We had a lovely Tea Party, games: Video Q&A, and Bridal Gown Runway (where yours truly was the model), and gifts. Big shout out to all of the attendees thank you for taking part in my special day!!!

Please enjoy the pics from this fabs event!

the two Hosts with their adorable aprons!

the video Q&A. My Dear Husband to be was video taped answering a list of questions. Everyone at my shower got to watch the paused after each question was asked and I had to give the same answer as DH. I got a sticker for every wrong answer! Sorry Love for not knowing you a little better.

Opening the gifts.

My MIL, Deanna, me and My MOM!

Me and the Girls, My BF, Me, my sis, and my SIL.

The Teas!

My fave teapot....can you guess why? (yes because of the clovers!)

The food table. (and some gifts!!)

The bridal dress runway fashion show game. Though the guests were not informed that this was a game (that made it the most entertaining)
The premise: We are going to show you a few of Ashley's options for her wedding gown.

Dress #1

Dress #1

Dress #1

Dress #2

Dress #2

Dress #3 (sadly this is the only picture taken with this dress) It reminds me of Anne of Green Gables.

After the fashion show the guests were given a sheet of paper with questions on it. The one with the most correct answers wins!! Questions included; Which dress had short sleeves? Which dress was all lace? Which dress had a collar? Which dress had a V-neck? It was SO fun!

*the dresses were from my late Aunt-In-Laws stash of wedding dresses she picked up at various tag sales "just in case someone needed a wedding dress" she has an armoire full, at least 20 dresses.

enjoying the tea and conversations.

Me and my Momala!! (miss you!!)

Well dearies!! I do hope you enjoyed this look back to 2008. Did you have a memorable bridal shower? What were some of the games you played?

And in case you were wondering my dress was from Macy's, idk the details but I know it cost less than $50.

♥ Ashley


I was looking at pictures that I have saved on my computer and came across this one. I really like it. Granted its a car photo and the Hubs is the one taking it, I really enjoy it. We are both wearing our "favorite" tops. I am in love with my Eddie Bauer outlet cardie in coral and Thomas wears this grey striped sweater from Express a lot.

Monday, March 19, 2012

[recipe] St. Patty's Day Feast 2012

Yesterday I had a St. Patty's Day celebration feast. Since St. Pat's Day is so big in my family (ok maybe just me -- cuz its my Birthday) I like to try to do something for it. This year I decided that I want to start having an annual St. Patrick's Day Party. I think it sounds fun! On the menu this year was Irish Lamb Stew, Irish Soda Bread and Salad. We also had a delicious chocolate cake made by Deanna (MIL). Both of my Irish recipes were adapted from Martha Stewart. The Bread was amazing though a little sweet...maybe not use quite as much sugar? The Lamb Stew was divine! I used Guiness Black Lager for the beer it gave nice flavor. You will see my adaptations/changes in green font.

Irish Lamb Stew


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 pounds boneless lamb stew meat (preferably shoulder), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2-inch cubes [I used leg of lamb]
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried [fresh] thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups dark beer (one bottle)
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium new potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut 1/2 inch thick diagonally
  • 1/2 pound celery, cut 1/2 inch thick diagonally
  • 1 pound mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • 1/2 Knorr Beef Bouillon cube
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


  1. In a large bowl, season flour with salt and pepper. Dredge lamb in flour mixture, shaking off excess. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Working in batches, brown lamb on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Pour 1/4 cup water into pot, scraping up browned bits from bottom with a wooden spoon. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until water has evaporated and onion is beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Return lamb to pot; stir in thyme, beer, and 1 1/2 cups water. Cover; simmer until lamb is tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Add potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, celery, bouillon and 1/2 cup water. Cook, covered, until vegetables are tender and stew has thickened, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool completely before storing. Stir in parsley just before serving.

Irish Soda Bread


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan (Kerry Gold)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup raisins *optional
  • 2 tablespoons caraway seeds *optional
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, raisins (if using), caraway seeds (if using), baking soda, salt, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk, eggs, and 2 tablespoons butter. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients to form a dough.
  2. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth, about 4 minutes; add more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Form dough into a 9-inch round; place on prepared baking sheet. Brush loaf with remaining tablespoon butter. Using a sharp knife, score an X on top of loaf.
  3. Bake until skewer inserted in center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool on wire rack before serving.
All in all I would say that the dinner was a success and I am looking forward to having an even bigger/better party next year!! If you wanna come..clear your calendar cuz it will be on Saturday March 16th!! (can't have it ON my birthday as I already have a tradition of going somewhere else for that....) To see my decorations for St. Pats in my house click HERE. My apologies for not taking any pictures...I am a bad blogger.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day!!!

Happy St. Patricks Day!!! Today is a great day...not only are people celebrating and wearing green (my favorite color) but they are also in a weird way - Celebrating my Birthday!!!

Happy Birthday To ME!!!

♥ Ashley

Friday, March 16, 2012

a week

I don't know how to write this post. Maybe I will edit it and change it later, but right now this is what I have and how I am feeling.

I can't believe its been a week. Last Friday, before I left for work I posted about Gweniviere, my "new" Cockatiel, that I took from my parents house so my dad would not have to care for her anymore. Shortly after my post, and after I arrived at work, I received a phone call from my dad informing me that my mom had passed away. Talk about an emotional weekend/week. I was also plagued with a really bad head cold, sore throat, congestion, earache, body-ache, and a sensitive tummy, maybe it was God giving me something else to think about? I am not sure because I am still trying to get over this sickness.

On Monday we had a private burial, the lot that my dad picked out for my mom is beautiful, she is right next to a fountain with a view of Bellevue and Seattle. Our Pastor gave a very nice sermon and we were able to adorn her casket with flowers from a very close family friend. We will be having a larger memorial service for her at the end of the month in Bellevue.

We all have our different grieving processes and I respect how others are coping. I still can't believe that when I call my mom will not answer the phone. I can no longer just call her and chat or ask her advice anymore. She was a beautiful woman with so much strength and faith and energy. She will always remain in my thoughts. I love my mom. I cherish all of my memories with her. She loved the color pink.

If you would like to know more you can check out the blog we have set up for her HERE

♥ Ashley

Hop over for a giveaway

Jennifer Rizzo is having a $500 giveaway on her blog!! hop on over to her blog to enter. She has some GREAT things!! Even if you don't win and I am sure that you will enjoy reading her blog..I know I do!!

♥ Ashley

Friday, March 9, 2012


11 years ago, my mom got a cockatiel. We named her Gwenivere. She bonded with me. She used to do my homework with me. She used to cook with me. She used to go driving with me. She used to go in the shower with me - on occasion. She used to do a lot of things with me. Then I went off to college. She has since been living in the piano room at my parents house in a lovely cage and rarely ever getting out. With the advancements of my moms battle with cancer, she has become one more thing that my dad just does not want to deal or worry about. We were toying with the idea of giving her away. Or taking her to a bird rescue. Or taking her to a bird store for them to re-home her. But it was just talk and I wasn't that worried about it. Then we found a potential home for her. And I began to rethink this whole re-home thing. We have 3 bedrooms in our house and only use one of them. Could it be possible for her to come and live with us? I met the potential owners at my parents house...I got there early so that I could work with her a little bit to re-introduce her to being around people. I thought that she was going to take a long time to get used to being with people again. But she took to me right away. She was behaving like no time has passed since the last time I took her out of her cage. My heart melted. How could we be seriously thinking of getting rid of one of our family members? Would I ever see her again? How would she react to not only having a new cage to live in (because I was NOT willing to part with that beauty) but to also have new humans start to care for her? Birds can get easily stressed. I cleaned out an old cage of hers (since the one that she currently lives in NEEDS a new paint job) and brought her home. I feel a little bit like an animal hoarder. But I just can't part with animals that have been in my life...that were in my mom's life. Who are these people that are going to give them new homes? Are they going to love them more than me? The uncertainty is something I am not willing to deal they just come to my house.

So there you have it. We have added another to our menagerie...Gwen. So far she is working out. I have taken her out of her cage EVERY DAY this week. She spends time cleaning the house with me and hissing at the dogs. I LOVE her! I LOVE my mom!!!


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Extra Day

Yesterday was Leap Day aka February 29, 2012. I took advantage of the day to do some shopping...I cannot say that it was much needed but it sure was fun.

Over the years my style has changed...a lot!! In High School and my first couple years of college I tried to be really trendy...and you can tell in old pictures. While I loved my acid washed whisker jeans (they are still in my closet) and my short tops...I have found as I have gotten older that it takes a certain body type...think Jessica Alba or Ashley Hebert (from the Bachelorette) which I do not have. Also many of the trends I tried to pick up on were very short lived. So the past few years, while trying to stay "in trend" I have been leaning for a more classic and flattering style, more natural. I have really gotten into the skinny jeans with tall boots or ballet flats and I LOVE cardigans and scarves (I have ALWAYS loved scarves).

So, on my shopping trip, I found a few more items for my St. Patricks Day decor as well as for Easter and some clothes for myself! Since we purchased our home I have found it more challenging to buy clothes and would rather get items for our home..but my styling has taken a turn for the dated and old. So I think I took great advantage of my extra day this year.

I got two great cardigans from Anne Taylor Loft Outlet and a nice oversized sweater.

This morning was blessed with icy road conditions which meant a 2 hour delay for work! I had the BEST breakfast. It sounds weird but it was really good. Cottage cheese with a little salt and fresh ground pepper!! It was delish and I would recommend it.

Hope that you are enjoying your first day of March. It is a fantastic Month (mostly because I was born) we are on the countdown for my Birthday... 16 days away! The only problem with having another birthday is that you are getting a year older. In a way its sad because it reminds you of all they things you have not yet accomplished in your life plan when you made it up at age 15!! Oh well God has his own plan and I rejoice in my blessings!

♥ Ashley