Sunday, December 27, 2009

2009: At a glance

As I begin the obligatory end-of-2009 post at home in Florida, I can hardly believe how much this year has held. A year ago, I would have never imagined that a year later, I would be where I am -- in a completely different city, hours and miles away from everyone I know and love. 2009, I've found, has been nothing short of pushing myself to the limit, testing my own personal boundaries to find any innate resilience. It's hard to believe that a little over six months ago, I was still in undergrad with little idea that I would have my own D.C. apartment in a few months. And now, as a new D.C. resident, I'm so frequently asked the question, "Why did you move here?" And besides the cliched hope of following my career dreams, I don't have much more of an answer other than, "Why not?" What better time to push yourself and explore the world than in the moments after graduating college, where energy and excitement for the future still pervade your life.

So, now as I look into what 2010 holds, I think I've found the perfect New Year's resolution: To stop over-romanticizing the next steps in my life and enjoy where I am. Or, in the words of Ida Scott Taylor:
"One day at a time--this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering."

Hope everyone enjoys their last few moments of 2009!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Map it

I've ultimately come to the decision that in a previous life, I must have been an urban planner. Despite my innate lack of directional sense, I have a serious penchant for maps. Maybe it's just my passion for travel, but I love the details in maps and the sense of exploration they evoke.

In case you share the same inclination, here are some of my recent, favorite map-like finds:

DIY Dove Ornament via Little Red Roost

Mileage Journal - Etsy via Bury the Hatchet

Custom map coasters and trays - Etsy via Carolina Cottage

Vintage map gift tags - Etsy via Tanith's Odds & Ends

Locally inspired, letterpress postcards - Etsy via Gooseberry Press

D.C. via Ork Posters

A favorite from my Eastern Market artists, D.C. by Mary Belcher

Hope everyone is having a lovely and relaxing Christmas Eve.

Monday, December 21, 2009


This weekend, I experienced my very first blizzard-like snowfall. While I've seen snow before, never have I dealt with nearly two feet. It was quite the experience, needless to say.

Tomorrow, I'm headed back to Jacksonville for Christmas and I could not be more excited to see my dad, brother and friends! I can't believe Christmas is only a few days away, though. I'm still feeling unprepared.

Here are some highlights from this weekend's snowmageddon:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas cheer

First of all, I saw this today and have decided that I absolutely need it. If only I actually had my home office set up... Alas, it may have to wait.

But nevertheless, I had an absolutely amazing weekend here in D.C. IT SNOWED! That's right, for the first time in 10 years, I witnessed legit snow. I saw the weather forecast on Friday predicting "rain/snow" for Saturday and everyone was telling me, "Oh, no, Ash, it's not going to snow, it'll just be cold and wet." But, I held my hopes high and sure enough Saturday morning the flakes began to fall. This of course quickly prompted me to call/text/message everyone I know to share my excitement.

Last night, the roomie and I headed down to Georgetown for the annual tree lighting. Despite the frigid weather (now lacking snow), it was lovely.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Reppin' regional pride

Pardon the geek post, but a recent Twitter conversation has the wheels a churnin'. Mark Zuckerberg, of Facebook fame, recently posted an open letter in which he detailed the impending changes coming to Facebook, namely the removal of regional networks. After a bit of tweeting between my good friends and social media nerds, Patrick teased that regional pride on the Internet is a bit outdated. Now, I'm not sure if it's my general position as an all-around sentimental fool, but I'll be honest, I like regional networks on Facebook. Not that I find them particularly useful, but there's something interesting about tagging yourself to a particular domain. Perhaps it's the fact that I'm just a small-town, Southern girl at heart with a true understanding of the benefits of a "community" in all sense of the word (online and off) or maybe it's the fact that as a PR professional, with experience in community relations, I quickly become passionate about my surrounding community, always searching for what makes Jacksonville/Orlando/D.C. unique.

But as social media, and the World Wide Web in general, develops we become connected with one another via niche online outlets, rather than distinct regional communities. So ultimately, Patrick poses a great question: What is the use of physical, regional networks when the vastness of the Internet is our new domain?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Week's end recap: Thanksgiving edition

I've been thoroughly enjoying time with the family in South Carolina during the holiday. Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving - I'm still stuffed!

It's been nice to take a little break, despite the fact that I feel utterly disconnected in that I haven't been online or checking my e-mail non-stop, but every once in a while it's really refreshing to unplug. It's a little quieter here now that my brothers just left, leaving me free reign over the tv/remote control/computers. But of course I didn't get by without their latest enlightenment on all things techie: computers, software and some engineering lingo that was way over my head. But it was a full and bustling house, exactly what I love most. I'm so thankful to have an amazing family and friends to share the day with.

And in light of the holiday, this week's favorites:

Prior to my eight-hour long drive drive from D.C. to S.C., I of course stocked up on audiobooks. This was the perfect novel as I found myself en route back to the South. Set in Louisiana, it only made me more excited to be driving South-bound. And I'm so glad I got the audiobook, because the accents are spot-on.

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is a serious tradition in my book. I can't ever remember not tuning in and one day, hopefully I'll catch it in person.

And last but not least, Christmas music is now officially in full force. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

T minus 2 days

A co-worker of mine sent me this video courtesy of The Huffington Post and in the spirit of Thanksgiving I thought it was too cute not to share. Oh, kids.

Tomorrow afternoon I'm heading home for Thanksgiving and I could not be more excited to see the family. It's been since graduation when I last saw my brother and grandparents, I don't think I've ever gone this long. Since my mom and step-dad moved to South Carolina this summer, we're celebrating at their new "mountain home" as my step-dad refers to it. And we use this term loosely as they are in Columbia, not the Appalachian Trail. But I guess compared to Florida, mountain might not be too far off. It's a little weird to not go home to the house where I grew up for the holidays, but I'm also really excited because I've planned a (insert accent here) Charleston day trip with my brothers and their girlfriends.

Tonight, I'm headed to a Tweetsgiving event here in D.C. - my first "tweet up" and a philanthropic one to boot!

So, in keeping with the thankful-aura of this week, I thought one of my favorite quotes would be quite appropriate. Happy Thanksgiving!

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. - John F. Kennedy

Friday, November 20, 2009

Week's end recap: Prepping for Turkey Day

In preparation for one of my favorite holidays, I've decided to dedicate this week's edition of "week end recap" to Thanksgiving decorations. Less than a week to go and I could not be more excited!

Via Martha Stewart

Via My Home Ideas

Via Country Living

In other news, I am a terrible blogger for neglecting to update the blog award details. Thank you so much! Here goes: Post 10 random facts about and pass it on to 10 bloggers.

  1. I'm a complete e-mail fiend. I check it non-stop and have a huge pet peeve when there are unread e-mails lingering in my account.
  2. Most days, I am completely happy staying in with a book versus partying all night.
  3. I'm on a first-name basis with most of my college professors in my major and still keep in touch at least weekly.
  4. I have a favorite letter of the alphabet. (nerd)
  5. I have a favorite word. (double nerd)
  6. I was in band - for a very long time too!
  7. I love to bake but can't cook to save my life.
  8. I joke that I have motor-skill dyslexia due to my utter lack of coordination.
  9. One of my favorite magazines isn't Cosmo but Southern Living.
  10. I have a life goal of running a marathon. Eventually.
Ok so I'm pretty sure by now all my favorites have been tagged. I'll be back for editors notes soon.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mason jar mania

My good friend LW and I quite frequently discuss our favorite decorating ideas from across the World Wide Web. As two avid blogosphere addicts, we're always trading ideas and pretending like we can actually afford nicely decorated homes.

One idea that we always come across is incorporating mason jars in seasonal decor. And as two Southerners, born and raised, we're both fully appreciative of this sweet simplicity. No longer just elements of kitchen paraphernalia, they set a homey, rustic ambiance in an affordable way.

And as I come from a family of computer programmers, engineers and financial folk, I generally take it upon myself to provide the creative inspiration for holiday decorations when at home. This year, I'm hoping to scour around the house to find some jars for the centerpieces - wish me luck!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Football, friends and Florida

This past weekend I headed to UCF for homecoming and I have to say, it was so surreal being back as an alumna. It was only about 6 months ago when I was last there, as a student, but so much has changed since I left. I'm feeling a little old, not gonna lie.

But regardless, it was an absolutely amazing weekend being reunited with my best friends. And to make it even better, the homecoming game was seriously one of the best games I think I've ever been to. For the first time ever we beat a top 25 ranked team. I know, I know, it sounds a little ridiculous but being a relatively young school, it was a glorious moment for my Knights!


Game time!

A beautiful win

Our lovely, new sorority house

Friday, November 13, 2009

Week's end recap: These are a few of my favorite things

This afternoon I'm headed to the beloved Sunshine State for UCF's homecoming. I'm beyond excited to catch up with my best friends and finally have the opportunity to see my sorority's brand new house!

But, before I jet-set, thought I'd leave you with part two in my fun, Friday series "Week's end recap." So here's my favorite lovely, finds from this week:

Because we all know I love me some words
Kishani Perera via Elements of Design

And all things nautical - especially fireplaces this fall
Steven Gambrel via Completely Coastal

And my addiction would not be complete without the cup
Oh-so-cute coffee cups via Bailey Doesn't Bark

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A daydream in a cup

Last week I posted about my excitement over the Starbucks holiday cup debut 2009. But I didn't really get to fully enjoy my Starbucks till this week, when 2 gingerbread lattes later I actually stopped to inspect my festive cup o' joe. It was then I realized the words adorning the side of my oh-so-addictive morning beverage:
Apologies for the poor phone-quality picture

We invite you to listen to your desires
and to renew your hope.
To see the world not as it is,
but as it could be. Go ahead, WISH.
It's what makes the holidays the holidays.

I loved this inspirational note so much I found myself wishing that the cup wasn't milk-laden so I that I could keep it around throughout the season. I guess it struck me as particularly poignant becuase I never really think about the holiday season as a time of renewal. New Year's, sure, but the holidays, I've always set aside as more of a time of thanks and reflection rather than renewal. So as I read this, I felt once again inspired and refreshed. Perhaps it was the coffee kicking in, but I truly do think it's time to renew, refresh and rebuild. It's been a long and winding year, from graduation to moving to job hunting that some days I just find myself so completely overwhelmed. Despite my penchant for spontaneity, at heart I really am just a girl starving for stability. So this holiday season, I'm looking forward to refueling on hope and seeing the world (and my life) not as is, but as it can and will be. After all, it is the holiday season.