My impressions of “Fifty Shades of Grey”



I’m a little behind the hubbub, but I wanted to share my thoughts anyway.

I tried reading “Fifty Shades of Grey” a few years ago. The hype around it was huge at the time, and I wanted to see what it was all about. I’m not sure if I was being a literary snob, if I’m a little too prudish, or if the writing/story was really that bad, but I stopped reading it about halfway through. I haven’t attempted to read it since then.

When the promotions for the movie began, I was pretty intrigued. It managed to avoid an X-rating somehow, and reviews said the movie was better written and had more of a storyline than the book. This was something I thought it desperately needed. Yet, I was still on the fence about seeing it. I decided it was only two hours of my life. Why not see if it’s any good? We waited until the week after it was released to watch it. I’m not sure if taking Brett was the best idea. He couldn’t stop laughing at how awkward some of the scenes were. But I have to agree, it got pretty weird.

I thought Dakota Johnson as Anastasia was wonderful. She was cute and funny and had much more independence and determination than the book version. It was Jamie Dornan that I thought was terrible. I get that his character is tortured by his past and has problems showing emotion, but all I could think was that Anastasia should run away as fast as possible. Besides being handsome and rich, there was little else I thought was appealing about his character. He didn’t come off as charming, witty or even very seductive (at least to me). He was just intense and kind of creepy. I thought he was great in “Once Upon a Time,” but I did not like him at all in this. Plus, I didn’t feel like there was a whole lot of chemistry between the main characters.

I thought the writers and director did pretty well with the material they were given, but I should have realized after my attempt to read the book, this is not a movie I would enjoy.

If you aren’t a “50 Shades” fan either and are looking for a great book to film/television adaptation of a romantic story, check out “Outlander.” The storytelling in the books is wonderful, and the romance between Jamie and Claire is epic. Plus, the portrayal of the characters on the television show is fantastic. And if you want to go to the movies this weekend, I highly recommend seeing “Kingsman: The Secret Service.” It’s a fast-paced, funny, action film and is definitely worth two hours of your life!


This is only the beginning

I have decided that mid-20s is by far the hardest, weirdest and best time of life (at least so far!). I’m 25, and there are times when growing up and getting older is absolutely terrifying.
The transition from high school to college isn’t easy, but at least it’s a similar routine. You still have classes to attend, homework to do, someone who cooks for you (if you live on campus) and possibly a part-time job.
Fast forward four years when 17 years of being a full-time student comes to an abrupt end. Say goodbye to Christmas and spring break, wearing sweatpants the majority of your life and seeing your friends on a daily basis. If you planned accordingly, you may have a job waiting for you or just an idea of where you want to wind up. I had a part-time job working as a reporter when I graduated, and it soon turned into full-time work. I was thrilled to find a job in my field. Yet, going from a college student who woke up at 10 a.m., went to class most of the day and worked at night to a working woman who was in the office by 6 a.m. and working a 40-hour week was strange. I was paying my own bills, trying to figure out dilemmas like why my hot water heater wouldn’t work (my dad was fielding lots of calls from me at that time) and navigating marriage.
Jump forward to a few years after college, and I find myself scrolling through Facebook comparing my life to my peers. Who’s getting married? Who is pregnant or already has babies? Who is globetrotting? Is my career where it should be?  Am I measuring up?
It’s at this stage of life where we are fully immersed in the “real world.” It is a world filled with college loan payments, finding the right insurance plan, paying rent or a mortgage, trying to live life on our own (or with a significant other), raising children and hoping we make an impact on the world in some way or another. Things I didn’t even care to think about at the age of 20 are now looming over my head constantly. Are 401Ks really that important? Do I really need to save my money instead of splurging on new boots? Is my biological clock ticking already?
But while this stage of life is confusing, scary and sometimes feels hopeless, it has also been the best time of my life. It is full of new possibilities and adventures. I have traveled on my own, met my soul mate and gotten married, moved away from home, made strides in my professional life and adopted four, furry children. Instead of comparing myself to what everyone else is doing at my age (and despairing over the fact that a famous person I admire is much younger than me), I am trying to embrace the fact that this is my life to live. Not every single day is going to be Instagram worthy, but some of the best moments are the ones we don’t post on social media.
There is no straight path for anyone in this life. What is right for my best friend, my sisters or high school classmates may not be right for me. We shouldn’t feel pressured to do what is expected of us at this age, but instead do what makes us happy right now. There is always room for improvement. If you want something different, then go after it and make it happen. Don’t compare your life to what you see on Facebook. I can almost guarantee that other twentysomethings are just as bewildered about life as you, and no one’s life is glamorous 24/7.
I’m proud to be where I am and what I have accomplished in my life so far. I still get freaked out when I think that my high school reunion is only three years away (how the heck did that happen already!?), and I know I’m going to continue to worry about making the right choices. But I also know that the journey of my life has been glorious. I can’t wait to see what comes next.
And for those of you feeling like your going through a quarter-life crisis, this is for you. 🙂

Brett’s birthday and Valentine’s Day

I hope everyone had a very happy and loving Valentine’s Day. 🙂 My hubby’s birthday is two days before Valentine’s Day, so there are a lot of gifts, going to restaurants and indulging on these two days for us!

Brett's birthday dinner at Shogun.

Brett’s birthday dinner at Shogun.

Brett’s parents came to visit us for his birthday, and they arrived the afternoon of his birthday. We ate at Shogun Japanese Steakhouse to celebrate. Brett and I have been there multiple times since moving to Casper. The food, service and entertainment are all delightful!

Since Brett’s birthday and Valentine’s Day are so close together, I usually give him all his gifts at once. My theme for him this year was “Brett’s Favorite Things.” I got him a graphic novel of his favorite video game, “Mass Effect,” a book about another favorite video game, “Dragon Age,” a “Star Wars” T-shirt, a Starbucks giftcard and a “Doctor Who” phone cover. I also made his birthday cake, Better Than Sex Cake. Click here to see the recipe! It’s sooo good.

We spent Friday doing some shopping, dining out and capping off the night by watching “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” a fantastic and funny spy film.


For Valentine’s Day, Brett spoiled me rotten! He got me a beautiful, red peacoat that I have been wanting for ages, four purple roses for four years together, Starbucks coffee and Runzas! His parents hauled 20 frozen Runzas from Nebraska for me. If you don’t know what a Runza is, check this out.

On Saturday, Brett’s sister was near Casper picking up their family’s new puppy! We made the short trek to see them, have lunch and love on their adorable new puppy, Edgar. 🙂

Sweet little Edgar! I wanted to take him home. :)

Sweet little Edgar! I wanted to take him home. 🙂

After getting back to Casper, we strolled through downtown and did some window shopping. Brett and I even played a quick game of chess in one of the stores!

We ended the night by taking a long walk in the glorious, unseasonably warm weather, grilling steaks and playing cards.

Brett’s parents left early Sunday morning to beat the snow (weird Wyoming weather!), so Sunday was an extremely lazy day for us. I crawled out of bed at about 10 a.m. and watched a movie, “Love, Rosie.” It was OK. We caught up on some of our TV shows, and I started a new book, “The Rosie Project.” (No connection to the movie. Just a strange coincidence)

We capped off the night by watching one of our favorite shows, “The Walking Dead.” The episode was pretty depressing, but it was still a great way to end the weekend!

How was your Valentine’s Day? How do you celebrate birthdays and Valentine’s Day with your spouse?

Ashley’s Favorite Things

Some of my favorite blog posts from fellow bloggers are about what items they are loving right now. So I came up with a few things I’m obsessing over at the moment!

I like to make smoothies for breakfast, and the blender I bought in college is a pretty sad excuse for a blender. So for Christmas, Brett bought me a NutriBullet. It is amazing! It blends almost anything into a smooth, delicious concoction. Plus, I have been able to get way more fruit in my diet this way. My next goal is to try my hand at green smoothies.
xbox fitness


Xbox Fitness
I don’t love working out, but Xbox Fitness makes it really easy to roll out of bed and get in a quick workout. There are a large variety of free workouts and many are only 10-20 minutes. I can’t say I don’t have time to work out when it only takes 10 minutes.

I’m sure I’m way behind on this one, but after purchasing a flight via Expedia last year, I began getting their emails filled with deals and coupon codes. I usually trash those pretty quickly, but then I started paying closer attention to what they were offering. One email had a coupon code for $50 off a hotel stay! Brett and I we saved $50 on our hotel in Billings by booking through Expedia and using the coupon. Score! 🙂
Huffington Post

Huffington Post

“Happy Valley” on Netflix
When Brett works on the weekends, I’m usually lounging around the house with the dogs and cats. Netflix is also a great companion. I think all things from the UK are pretty amazing, and “Happy Valley” is no different. I watched all six episodes within 24 hours, and I still can’t stop thinking about it. It’s a gripping and emotional crime drama that follows a feisty, protective cop trying to solve a kidnapping. I’m trying to persuade Brett to watch it so I have an excuse to watch it again!

I’m happy I moved away from home

I don't know what I would do without this guy and our furry children!

I don’t know what I would do without this guy and our furry children!

Moving is never easy. I have lived in three different places in my life, and I’m OK with that. When Brett and I received the opportunity to move to Wyoming, I was definitely on the fence about it. For one, it’s Wyoming. It’s the middle of nowhere in my mind — even though I’m from Nebraska. But I was born and raised on a farm in Nebraska. I met Brett at a Nebraska college, and we got married in a beautiful Nebraska church. Most of our family and friends live there. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. But when that opportunity arose, we had to make a decision. Stay in a place we loved and were comfortable, or take a risk and try something new? After weeks of discussion and agonizing, we decided this could be a good thing for Brett’s career. We made the decision to move.
While many people move thousands of miles from home, we only moved a few hundred miles. However, it still felt like a whole new life to me. You can gaze at the mountains from our window. Snow in April is normal. Wind is a given. Brett’s family isn’t a short drive away. The friends I made in college are no longer around to have a girls’ night with me. And impromptu trips to visit my best friend aren’t exactly in the cards. It’s a little jarring sometimes, and it was incredibly difficult for me to leave the place I loved behind.
I cried when I quit my job. I cried almost every day for a month once we moved. I agonized over finding a new job I liked. I was miserable being at home while Brett worked all day and I sat on the couch scrolling through employment opportunities online. I felt useless, inadequate and ready to give up on this “adventure.” I wanted to take the first job that came my way just to have something to do. But Brett, my family and friends encouraged me to be patient. Good things would happen if I just waited. I secretly thought they were insane.
But soon, I found a job I love. I found friends I adore. Brett and I began getting back into our normal routine of going to the movies, finding great places to eat and parks to walk our dogs, and visiting new places on the weekends. Life was good again.
I don’t consider myself a Wyomingite, and I probably never will. However, I’m proud of how far we have come, especially myself. I can’t say I have learned to be patient (definitely not), but I realize now I’m capable of so much more than I thought I was. And best of all, this move brought Brett and I closer together. He was there for me when I needed him most, and he encouraged and supported me when my confidence was lacking.
I never really had a desire to move away from home, but I’m glad that I did. It has pushed me to step outside my comfort zone, go after the things I want and understand more about myself. In the long run, I think it has made me a better person.
Taking risks are scary, but sometimes they can be worth it. There have been ups and downs in this journey we have embarked on, but it has also put into perspective what Brett and I want out of this life.
I stumbled across this on Buzzfeed. It fits perfectly with my feelings about home. 🙂