How my parents have become my closest friends

My grandpa and me :)

My grandpa and me πŸ™‚

We sat side by side on a beautiful spring day, gazing out over the Nebraska landscape. The dogs sat by our feet begging for attention. I have done this numerous times with my grandpa, chatting about what is happening in our lives. Of all the times I have sat next to him in a lawn chair or across a dinner table, I don’t ever remember asking him about his life in the military. We only chatted for a few minutes about it before my niece and nephew yanked me away to play, but I learned so much about this great man in just a few moments.

I have always had a pretty close relationship with my parents and grandparents. Yet as a kid, I never really thought of them as more than that. They were the people who loved me the most and were my biggest supporters. I’m pretty sure I thought their lives revolved around me and that’s how it had always been. I never really stopped to think about the lives they had before I came along.

My parents, Brett and me at Ayers Natural Bridge in Wyoming.

My parents, Brett and me at Ayers Natural Bridge in Wyoming.

As I have established a life of my own, I have become more interested in learning more about my parents, in-laws and grandparents. There are stories they tell that utterly surprise me, and I think to myself, “Holy cow, you are amazing!” Because they are!

In high school and my early college years, I would never have thought of my parents as being my closest friends, but they truly have become just that. I think it began to dawn on me about my mom and dad being more than just “parents” when they began going on adventures together once they had an empty nest. They have gone on cruises, driven their motorcycle to Sturgis, go on dates and double dates, attend concerts and so much more. I admire not only how they have continued to pursue their dreams, but how they are still inseparable after all these years.

They are the people I call when I need advice, when I want to chat about things happening at work or home or just need to hear a friendly voice. I love them for bringing me into this world and helping turn me into who I am today. As I have grown up, the love I have for my parents and grandparents is filled with more respect and appreciation than ever before.

With Brett and I starting to think about starting a family of our own, I look to my grandparents, parents and in-laws as an example. I can only hope my own kids will look at me one day as I look at them: as loving, fantastic people who are revered by younger generations.

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Disney’s “Cinderella” is a visual feast

Flickr

Flickr

Two little girls adorned in blue, sparkly dresses squeezed their way past us. I smiled to myself as they settled into their seats to watch the new, live-action “Cinderella.”Β 

I don’t know many girls who don’t have a favorite Disney princess. While I do think Belle from “Beauty in the Beast” is wonderful, I have always loved the Cinderella story. So much so that my wedding dress was called “Cinderella.” (Seriously, if you are looking for a “fairy tale” wedding dress, check out Alfred Angelo.Β There is a whole Disney princess line.Β The gowns are Ah-mazing!)

My favorite version of the Cinderella story is probably “Ever After” with Drew Barrymore, but I was really excited to see that Disney was creating a live-action “Cinderella.”

The movie started off fantastically with a “Frozen” short called “Frozen Fever.” I love “Frozen,” and this short was absolutely adorable. It made me excited for the sequel!

If you are looking for a film that diverges from the classic Disney “Cinderella,” this isn’t it. While the storyline isn’t incredibly inventive, the characters were wonderful. Lily James as Cinderella was sweet and endearing. Richard Madden (AKA Robb Stark from “Game of Thrones) was a great Prince Charming, and I liked that they gave his character a little more depth. One of the best parts of the movie had to be the evil stepmother and stepsisters. They were deliciously wicked, outrageous and so fun to watch. Another wonderful part of the film was the stunning visual effects, especially the costumes.

I truly enjoyed the characters and the film, but it definitely played it safe. Yet, that didn’t really bother me. I knew how it was going to end, but I still enjoyed the visual feast. If you are fond of fairy tales or know a little prince or princess who is, check this one out!

Ashley’s Favorite Things

It’s time for my favorite things! πŸ™‚ I had fun with my first favorite things blog post, so I’m at it again. This is what I’m loving right now.

Bath and Body Works body scrub and plug-ins

Bath and Body Works sugarcane scrub is so yummy!

Bath and Body Works sugarcane scrub is so yummy!

I have used BBW’s body lotion and body wash for a long time. They smell incredible and make my skin feel great. I have never used a body scrub before, so I decided to try it out. I got the the Lush Pink Dragonfruit Sugarcane Scrub. My skin felt so soft after I showered, I absolutely loved it! And of course, the smell is fantastic!

image

Another product from BBW that I love is the Wallflower Fragrance Plug. My parents gave it to me for Christmas. Not only are there a multitude of scrumptious scents to pick from, but it’s leopard print! It doesn’t get much cooler than that. πŸ™‚

Mossimo sandals from Target

target.com

target.com

Wyoming’s bipolar weather has been giving me some intense spring fever. One day, the sun’s rays will be enveloping me in it’s warm embrace. The next day, a storm will rip through town, leaving behind piles of snow, frigid temperatures and extreme wind. It’s ridiculous, but that isn’t stopping me from buying adorable sandals at Target. I’m a sparkle fanatic, and I couldn’t pass up these cute shoes.

Hobby Lobby decor

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I love inspirational quotes, thus there are many to be found in our home. After I took down my winter decorations, I was ready for something new and different. I found some cute pieces for our kitchen table, an end table in our living room and the walls in our bedroom. Like I said, I was in the mood for something new. πŸ™‚

“Peaky Blinders” on Netflix

I mentioned in a previous post that I have been watching this show. More like binge-watching it like a fiend. I have been trying to get Brett to watch this one with me for a while, but period dramas aren’t really his thing. So when he was at work, I started watching it. Now, I’m hooked. There are two seasons available to watch on Netflix, and it has been renewed for a third season. Yippee!

Books that have changed my life

Happy World Book Day! Books have been an enormous part of my life for as long as I can remember. I would read three to four books at a time as a child. While I tend to stick to one at a time now, I’m always looking for the next literary treasure to add to my book shelves. (They are getting extremely full. I need more shelves…)
In honor of this momentous day, I have listed a few books that have had an incredible impact on me.
Amazon.com

Amazon.com

If you know me, this is a given. “Harry Potter” came into my life when I was 9, and I have never been the same since. It yanked me into a fantasy world that I wanted to be a part of, and the characters were like my friends. Not only is the story fantastic and epic, but you can relate to what the characters are going through. They are still young adults trying to navigate being a teenager in a magical and wonderful world. I grew up with Harry and the gang, and they will always, always be a part of who I am.
little house

Amazon.com

It was with these books that I discovered my love of reading. They are the first books I can remember not wanting to put down (as a second grader), and I ended up acquiring the entire series. They are now in storage at my parents’ house, but I love them nonetheless.
anne

Amazon.com

Just writing out the title makes me want to find my copies and reread them. Anne was truly a unique character that I felt was my kindred spirit. I related to her thirst for life, love and knowledge. Her spunk matched her outrageous, red hair. I couldn’t wait to see what happened next in Anne’s journey beginning as a preteen girl to a mother of many children.
sarahdessen.com

sarahdessen.com

I gobbled up Dessen’s stories when I was in high school. They were all about teenage girls dealing with life, love and growing up. Some were more dramatic than others, but she created beautiful stories with characters who had problems anyone could understand and sympathize with. I love her books, and I’m always on the lookout to see if she has written something new.
Amazon.com

Amazon.com

5. “Pride and Prejudice”
I adore Jane Austen, and it was with this novel that I fell in love with classic literature. The premise is simple and timeless. There is a reason it is still so popular today.
hunger games

Barnes and Noble

This is by far one of my favorite trilogies to read over and over again. It’s incredibly fast-paced and keeps you guessing. Plus, Katniss is an incredibly strong, smart and courageous woman β€” a fantastic role model for any one.
Amazon.com

Amazon.com

I actually think I saw the movie version of “Little Women” before I read the book, but they both are fantastic! In a time when it wasn’t exactly the norm for women to be independent, driven and career-minded, Jo March was exactly that. She was a writer who was focused more on living out her dreams and being successful than finding a husband. It’s a book that will make you laugh and cry, and something I think all young girls should read at some point.
What are some books that have changed your life?

Disconnecting for a weekend

I took a little break from social media this weekend. I thought it would be a struggle, but it was refreshing and fairly easy!

I’m on social media quite a bit. I’m in charge of the social media sites for my job, and I also spend my own time on Pinterest, Instagram and of course, Facebook. My phone is with me almost everywhere I go. If I’m standing in line at the grocery store, I scroll through my Facebook feed. During commercials while watching TV, I glance at photos on Instagram. And as much as I hate to admit it, I often look at Pinterest while I’m laying in bed.

When I got up on Saturday morning, I headed to the couch and pulled open my computer to check my email. As I was deleting emails and perusing deals at Old Navy, my dog, Pippin, placed his head on the top of my screen and stared at me. Talk about a guilt trip. It dawned on me that it wouldn’t kill me to disconnect for a couple of days and pay closer attention to the important things in my life. I snapped my computer shut and spent the rest of the weekend avoiding the digital world. I did get on Facebook Sunday morning to wish my niece a happy birthday, but that was the extent of it.

It was really easy on Saturday to resist the urge to tap into my phone. Brett and I went to brunch and hung out at home before he went to work at about 3:30. I ventured to Target and strolled through the store for over an hour. When I got home, I cleaned up the kitchen and made myself dinner. I spent the rest of the night camped out on the couch with our dogs and cats watching “Peaky Blinders” on Netflix. (It’s an awesome show. I highly recommend it.)

Sunday was a little bit harder. Brett left earlier in the day for work, so I had more time to myself. I spent over an hour reading a book (something I need to do more often!), went to the grocery store, took the dogs for a walk, cleaned our bathrooms, vacuumed, swept the kitchen floor and made supper. My phone buzzed a few times with Facebook notifications, but I resisted.

All in all, it was nice not having my eyes glued to a screen throughout the day. I’m pretty good at putting my phone away when Brett and I are on a date or if I’m with friends of family, but it still is a bigger part of my life than it should be. I enjoy seeing what my friends and family are up to and to be in the know about news and events, but I was more focused and productive when I wasn’t distracted by my phone. It’s something I plan to continue to do in the future. πŸ™‚