Tag Archives: family

My Christmas Bests

6 Dec

Between Marquette’s insane snowfall the past few days & the holiday cards that have started to trickle in, it’s safe to say I’ve slipped past my usual excitement around this time of year & into full-on Christmas fever. I love it! Today I received a card from my cousin, Dana, in New York. I would love to be there visiting right now!

What I would give to see Central Park in the winter!

I’ve compiled a list of my favorite Christmas movies and songs to share. They may not be the same as what you like… but then again, they might. : )

Movies

6. How The Grinch Stole Christmas The old cartoon, that is, because Dr. Seuss is absolutely amazing!

5. The Polar Express It’s such a charming story & the author of the book, Chris Van Allsburg, is from Grand Rapids!

4. The Family Stone If you love your mom, watch this movie.

3. The Holiday This movie is just perfect. It’s a huge favorite of mine to watch with my dear friend, Robbie. Berry kiss!!

2. Elf I don’t think I’ve ever quoted another Christmas movie more than this one : )

1. White Christmas This is the B-E-S-T Christmas movie ever! I watch it on Christmas Eve every year & finds its way deeper into my heart every time I watch it. If you like old movies (it was made in 1954), musicals, comedies, dancing… It’s all of those things!

Music

6. Christmas Time Is Here Oh Charlie Brown : )

5. I’ll Be Home for Christmas I love this song so much more now that I live so far away from home. And good luck finding someone better to sing it than Frank!

4. I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm sung by Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong. Billie Holiday does a great job singing this song too. I can’t decide which one I like more.

3. A Marshmallow World It’s just plain cute : )

2. Baby It’s Cold Outside This is such a close second to my favorite! Zooey Deschanel sings such a beautiful version of it as well!

1. White Christmas There is only one person I want to hear sing this song & it’s the same person who stars in the movie: Bing Crosby. His voice is amazing & the timelessness of it makes it my number one!!

Nothing better!

Oh BOY!

8 Nov

It was this past spring when I found out that one of my best friends, Andrea, is pregnant! From that moment on, I knew I wanted to take on the responsibility of planning her baby shower. I spent months looking at decorations, thinking about themes & bookmarking a zillion webpages that contained ideas I wanted to incorporate (I now have a party planning tab on safari just so I could keep it all organized!).

We found out in July that she’s having a BOY! Mattyx Anthony Nicely is due to come into this world on December 18th & I really hope he comes on his due date- I hear the 18th is a good day for awesome people to be born. ; ) Once I found out the gender, I was able to hone in on color schemes & I was hooked. My apartment was converted into a short-term decoration warehouse & I don’t think anything or anyone could convince me I was going overboard with my planning! We held the baby shower October 3rd at the Marquette Commons & it was a success! I was a happy host but more importantly, I think we finished with a happy mama & happy baby. : )

A Phil's 550 onesie!

Baby Uggs to match mama's

Candy Bar!

Yumm! Homemade chocolate-covered pretzels : )

sweet...

... tooth.

Andrea with her mom & sisters : )

Andrea & Matt (dad!) & his mom

You can see them in the bottom right corner of the photo of Andrea with her mom & sisters, but I made a TON of these paper poms I found at the Martha Stewart Weddings website. Technical difficulties made it so they didn’t hang from the ceiling like intended, unfortunately, but they’re adorable & affordable. Since you can make them in any tissue paper color imaginable, I’d recommend them for any kind of party! You can also purchase them pre-made from Etsy because they are very time-consuming to make on your own. Woooo I can’t wait to be an auntie!

“A new baby is like the beginning of all things- wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities.” – Eda J. Le Shan

Helloooooo Twenty-ten

20 Jan

I’m about halfway through my second week of the new semester & I can say this much: I was right. I have a lot of work on my hands with these classes. However, I know I really let my blog fall by the wayside while I was home for break so I’m going to make a conscious effort to stay up-to-date with it now, even if it kills me (or just cuts off an hour of sleep). It shouldn’t be that bad though, considering I’m trying to adopt the “old lady” habit & only going out one night a week instead of two…. Three… Wait, isn’t that called acting “grown up”? My apologies to any elderly I may have offended.

Well I can definitely say that I FEEL older. I definitely don’t have the crazy energy I used to have. I have little-to-no tolerance for listening about petty fights & stupid gossip/rumors. I’ve decided to take up sewing as a new hobby. OH, and the number one reason why I feel older: the most exciting thing coming to me in my life right now is the cat I plan on adopting. Other than that, I’m the same old Ashley. Promise : )

I took very few pictures while I was home. That’s always more of a time for me to lounge, nap with my dog & hang out with my mom. Don’t worry though, now that the semester’s started again, you won’t be seeing a lack of photos for much longer!

My little bruva, Ty Dwight

 

We played in the snow one day & I got these close-ups : )

 

post-new years, packing up the decorations until next year!

 

And of course, I can’t resist showing off my mom’s Christmas tree. She works so hard on it every year : )

O Christmas Tree

2009

30 Dec

I know. I’ve been horrible and negligent to my blog. My excuses: finals & winter break. Between studying & family, I haven’t had much available time to update. But here I am now! Since tomorrow is New Years Eve, I’ve found myself reflecting on the past year, as I’m sure many others are as well. It’s been tough- more challenging, heartbreaking and difficult than probably any other year of my life & I’ll be glad to see it pass. However, keeping that in mind, I think I’ve learned more about myself & what I do/don’t want in my life in this year than any other previous one. For that, I’m thankful.

I’ve composed a list of things, observations & ideas that I’ve learned and want to remember from this year. I can’t wait to see how 2010 adds to it and transforms the things already present on my list.

  • Just because the chips might be whole grain and the cheese is a source of calcium, nachos are still not a healthy snack.
  • Secondhand books are just as good as brand-new ones. Maybe better.
  • Your intuition is with you for a reason. Trust it & it will serve you well.
  • If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then take 1,000 pictures & more. Leave yourself & others with as many thoughts and memories as you can.
  • Yes, for you and most other people, your waist size is bigger than it was in high school. It’s supposed to be like that so stop obsessing. (but please, stay healthy.)
  • When you watch your younger siblings have an attitude & act like little punks, you may say “GOSH, I would never have talked/acted like that.”…. Oooohhhh, yes you did.
  • People make enough of their own excuses. There’s no need for you to make more for them.
  • Getting a tattoo, lip piercing & drastic new haircut all within a couple months of each other causes people to think you’re trying to make some kind of statement or undergoing some kind of transformation. Cool it. (& no, I wasn’t trying to do either of those things!)
  • People will only change for themselves & if they want to. Nothing you say or do is going to change someone’s ways. LET ME REPEAT & CLARIFY: YOU CAN’T MAKE YOUR BF/GF CHANGE. PEOPLE ONLY CHANGE FOR THEMSELVES!!
  • Does it come with age? Because I’ll never understand how an older person can pour a glass of scotch or sip on straight vodka and not gag.
  • New Moon is just as good the 2nd time around… & the 3rd…
  • Forgiveness may be divine, but sometimes forgetting is just too damn hard.
  • The closer I am to graduating college, the more I am considering joining the Peace Corps & it excites me.
  • There is no elegant-looking purse for going to a social gathering that’s big enough to carry around my big ol’ Nikon.
  • Facebook chat is and always will be the worst instant messaging program ever.
  • Go to New York City. Once you’re there, walk everywhere & find places you love that DON’T have the publicity & big names. Once you’ve done that, then of course go to Rockafellar Center, Ellis Island, etc. (& by the way, hailing my first cab was even more thrilling for me than I thought it would be!)
  • Online window shopping is almost as good as actually buying the stuff you’re looking at. Just remember to X out of that window before you give them your credit card number.
  • Your ex is your ex for a reason. (This goes back to people only changing for themselves) That doesn’t mean, though, that after time, patience & a lot of self-pampering & loving, that you can’t become friends.
  • You can only say ‘yes‘ to favors for so many people before you have to stop and say ‘yes’ to yourself. I’m still trying to learn this one.
  • Bolthouse Farms drinks have some sort of addictive drug in them.
  • Don’t think that cars are watching out for you & your bicycle. Even in Marquette.
  • According to Stuff White People Like, I’m probably one of the whitest people ever.
  • My heritage is German. That doesn’t make me a Nazi, people.
  • No matter how much it sucks, any music sounds a little bit better after a couple gin & tonics.
  • I still want a lemur.
  • No matter what, 2010 HAS to be a great year because of all that I can apply to my life that I’ve learned in this long year.
  • For gosh sakes, guys, BE NICE TO PEOPLE & TREAT OTHERS THE SAME WAY YOU WISH TO BE TREATED!

GR bound!

23 Nov

Holy wow, when I said I had a busy weekend ahead of me, I had meant it. I’ve neglected this for 3 days & now I’m squeezing this post in between packing & cleaning before leaving for Grand Rapids for my Thanksgiving break! I’m so excited to see my family that I haven’t been able to sit still for days. My friend Chris & I will be making the trip downstate & I’m playing DJ so I hope he’s prepared for my awesome music selection!

So… My weekend. I had the chance to take some fun photos of my friends Kim & Shannon for a Christmas gift for the their parents. I haven’t had a chance to get really far into the editing process but I started on a couple of them last night so I’ll let you take a look : )

Also, this was the weekend of New Moon, in case you didn’t figure that out before with me running my mouth about it. I saw it Friday night with my best friend, Michelle. AMAZING. I loved it so much that I went to see it again last night! (SPOILERS– skip the rest of this paragraph if you haven’t seen it yet & don’t want details) Kristen Stewart finally convinced me that she was Bella & I’m really pleased with how well they followed the book. Favorite scene? The wolves chasing Victoria through the woods/Bella’s cliff jump/Harry Clearwater’s heart attack all-in-one. Cheesiest scene? When Alice ‘sees’ Bella becoming a vampire & her vision shows her & Edward frolicking in the woods together, for lack of a better word. Pfffffftttt give me a break! I said it last night though, screw all of this ‘team’ business. If I had my way, I’d take Edward AND Jacob & Emmett, Jasper & the werewolves too. I’m sure I’d find a way to split my time between all of them!

Okay, enough of that. There’s some more work to be done on them & a lot of others to edit but here are some photos from this weekend…

Kim & Shannon : )

these ones were sweet. i can't wait to edit more

Leapfrog!

Finished!

19 Nov

After tomorrow morning, my week from hell will finally be over! No more projects & papers! Then it will be the weekend, followed by 2 days of [easy] classes & I’ll be headed home to Grand Rapids for THANKSGIVING!!! It won’t be a moment too soon either because my body NEEDS mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie- mmmmmm : ) For a week straight I’ll be able to concentrate on photographs that I want to take and no one  else can tell me what to do!

Remember my friend Katie that I raved about (see: I like your FACE!)? Her sister, Jesse got a hold of me yesterday & their parents want me to take pictures of the 3 sisters for holiday cards! Then today my friend Kim asked me to do portraits of her & her sister for a christmas gift they’re doing for their parents– pics, pics, pics!! I’m crazy excited for it all!

BACK ON TRACK- I presented my mock 303 piece today and no, I don’t have the final pieces to show you yet, but I have the next best thing! I went through and edited a few extra photos so I thought I’d share them with you here : )

Click on the images to see them in their full resolution!

Brittany aka B.Pops : )

B.Pops

Jess- i took a gajillion of her b/c the light was difficult....

... but then we just ended up with a ton of awesome ones : )

tree swings are sa-WEET!

jess

told you i had a million of her...

michelle 🙂

and here's britt's that i wasn't able to get onto a canvas : (

P.S. NEW MOON comes out in 2 DAYS!! I’d say I’m definitely Team Edward but WOW does Jacob look good in this one ; )

Oh you know what? what the hell- while I’m at it, I’m going to go ahead and pull the awesome card and give you guys my mom’s pumpkin pie recipe in light of the Thanksgiving spirit. It’s probably close to the same as any other pumpkin pie recipe but it was in the recipe book SHE made for me so it’s HERS!!

Mom’s Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 cloves
  • 1 can (2 cups) pumpkin solid pack
  • 1 can (13 oz.) evaporated milk
  • single crust

Heat oven to 425°. Prepare crust. In large bowl, beat eggs slightly. Add remaining ingredients, mix well. Pour into crust-lined pan. Once oven is heated, bake for 15 min. then reduce oven temperature to 350° & continue baking for an additional 45 minutes. Knife should come out clean.

TIPS: Cover the crust around the edge with tin foil for the last 15 minutes so it doesn’t burn. If you’re going to use store-bought crust, stick with Pillsbury. Other off-brand crusts can be much dryer. For the Pillsbury crust, roll it out with a rolling pin to make it slightly larger than what they are in order to fit your pie pan well.

Woo Hoo, pumpkin pie!! Top it with a dollop of whipped cream– and I mean the REAL stuff that you have to use beaters to make and add sugar to! Hope this gets you as excited for Thanksgiving as I am!

It runs in my blood

16 Nov

Let’s just cut to the chase- my Uncle Craig is seriously one of the coolest people on this planet. You think I’m joking or making a crazy exaggeration, but I’m not. A quick and less-than-thorough rundown of his life: graduated high school & joined the U.S. Coast Guard in 1980, met & married my awesome Aunt Sue, had 2 of the greatest cousins I could ever ask for, Dana & Ryan, worked at the U.S. Embassy in Venezuala for a really long time, retired from the Coast Guard but still works I dunno… like 3 jobs? One of them puts him over in Abu Dhabi for a couple weeks every month. Like I said, definitely not thorough, but you get the idea.

He got me my first hookah (which I named Aaminah, meaning ‘lady of peace & harmony’) from Abu Dhabi, which I’m totally in love with. Oh and here’s my favorite part: he’s an amazing photographer. I’m starting to think this hobby runs in the family! He’s gotten into a lot of hdr photography and if you want to see some really stunning pictures of his time he spends in Abu Dhabi, visit his photography blog: http://craigcorlphotography.blogspot.com/. The best part about his blog is that he gives you advice for improving your own photography & shares with you all of his awesome experiences. Seriously, camel races?!! That’s not something that most of us get to see everyday. I urge you to check it out. Whether you like taking your own pictures or not, you’ll be amazed at everything you see on his blog. (He’s also got a wicked sense of humor which makes the reading even more fun.)

Meanwhile, I’m stuck here in Marquette, which is no U.A.E. and I’ve got a few projects, presentations & papers due in the next 3 days. Thank you, blog, for providing me with another unnecessary distraction. Now I get to go hunt down a friend who’d like to be my next portrait victim for this mock art review presentation that I have due on Wednesday. I’m seeing a lot of caffeinated beverages in my immediate future.

Want to see my first, lame attempt at hdr?! please don’t judge too harshly- I just sat my camera on the table surface and shot what was already there. It’s no sweet landscape but the moment I read about it, I wanted to try it out.

HDRlily

so lame in comparison to uncle craig, but i had to start somewhere!