Thursday, November 28, 2013


Happy Thanksgiving, m' dears! I hope you have a safe and relaxing holiday.

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013


One afternoon a few weeks ago, I started sifting through snapshots and note cards in an attempt to create a makeshift mood board for the wall above my desk. Ever since I was in grade school, I've always had a bulletin board covered with layers upon layers of inspiration. Our temporary digs didn't feel like "home" yet because it was lacking in color and personality. Nothing really made it feel like it was ours; I thrive in an area that inspires. Like a tornado, I barreled through our stuff and started cutting up keepsakes and plastering them on the wall with Washi tape. My mom laughs at me because I have a tendency to rip out pages from our coffee table books. If you ever come to our house, please don't leaf through the displayed books. You'll more than likely find a page or two missing. As someone who respects a gorgeous book, this just doesn't seem right. I know! It's just sometimes the pages are SO gorgeous they deserve to be seen daily. Once our books are artfully stacked, I don't revisit them as often as I should. If a page speaks to me in a way that makes me incredibly giddy, I MUST find a way to frame it, or cut it up and add it to a collage. I know I'm making some of you cringe at the idea of this, but it happens when I get in a creative tizzy. 

Unfortunately, this was bound to happen when I started running out of momentos at our apartment. Can we just have a moment of silence in remembrance of our household goods, which are currently being held hostage in some storage unit far far away?! I lied. They're actually in the same city as we are, but that tidbit of info hurts too much! Why don't we get back on topic? I turned to my Kate Spade Things We Love book and started flipping through the pages for ideas ONLY. I swore to myself that I would NOT rip out any pages from my favorite book. Then, I read the Henry Miller quote above and it made sense. I re-read the quote and I smiled. I started looking at other pages, but kept coming back to that quote. I broke my rule and pulled an Ashley by ripping it from the book. I closed my eyes and looked away because I couldn't believe what I was doing. Once I taped the page to my makeshift moodboard, I beamed. 

These words speak to me; they're the perfect reminder when I'm uncertain as to what my future entails. When you move and your beloved routine is turned upside down, it's so easy to cling to your old ways and wish you could just GO BACK. Although I try to be strong and find joy in each day, looking back leaves me feeling nostalgic. Yes, they're memories, but our past in Hawaii is still too fresh. Right now seems uncertain and unsettled, so it's easy to want to look back. Instead of merely reminiscing, it can be a crutch and a way to avoid and accept the NOW. I think I've done a fair job at embracing this current season of life, but that doesn't mean I don't have my moments. Reading Miller's words each day allows me to reboot and just be grateful for right NOW. It's never about where we live, it's about the company we keep and how we CHOOSE to look at each day.
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Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Featured Jewels: Sarra Earrings in Crystal // Mara Bracelet // Alex Cuff // Small Sarra Cuff // Sunburst Studs // Zoe Bow Cuff // Perla Cuff
Several months ago, I was approached by Loren Barham, the founder and designer behind Loren Hope, to spread a little sparkle. I was tickled she reached out to me and jumped at the opportunity to style images that include her stunning work. If you follow either Loren or myself on Instagram, you've probably seen some of these images pop up on your feed. It's been a treat to play dress up with her jewels and style them with a little Type-A(shley) flair. Of course, that's incredibly easy when you're working with such colorful and sparkly pieces!

What I love most about Loren's work is the inspiration and hope it's offered me these past few months. When we spoke on the phone, she mentioned that Loren Hope jewelry was born when Loren lived in the UK; her husband was also in the Air Force and they were stationed at Lakenheath AFB. Creating jewelry gave her a way to make a little extra money and satisfy her itch to create. Upon sharing that detail with me, I couldn't help but smile. It was just so nice to connect with another military spouse — someone who never allowed their mobile lifestyle to stifle her dreams of creating and successfully turned her passion into a career. I had a sense that Loren understood exactly the way I felt for so many years. Although I'm not sure what I want to be when I grow up, that phone call with Loren made me want to dream a little bigger. I felt a sense of encouragement to keep creating and to explore what brings me joy.

While the opportunity to play around with her jewels has helped me satisfy my creative itch, it's also been a treat to work with such beautifully crafted pieces. It didn't take long for me to realize that Loren's passion is evident in her design. Each detail is carefully thought out, just as each piece from her line is hand crafted. Inspiration comes from unexpected color palettes and geometric designs. Her work has a vintage feel, which goes back to the days when she first began designing jewelry, at age 14, from vintage pieces she collected while plundering around her grandmother's thrift store. Based on Loren's commitment to keeping her business local and manufactured in the U.S., each piece has a sense of heritage and innovation that honors the rich history of jewelry manufacturing that can be found in Rhode Island, also the location of Loren's fabulous design studio. It might just be the Magpie in me —attracted to shiny objects and talks a lot— but I could continue to dote about Loren and her gorgeous jewels. They're magical! 

Take a look at Loren's latest batch of baubles here
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Friday, November 22, 2013

The Friday Five

Here's what left me feeling grateful this week...
ONE: Creative Confidence is currently on my bookshelf, and it's been a practical and inspiring read. I've highlighted a handful of helpful passages and tips that push me to dig a little deeper in my own creativity. The transition of this past move has been a lot easier because I've had the opportunity to express myself creatively. It's unfortunate that as we get older we categorize people as "creatives" and "noncreatives", when in all actuality there's a creative side to each of us just waiting to be unleashed. We just have to allow ourselves to rediscover it.

TWO: This is the first Thanksgiving in two years that Flyboy and I will spend together, and I'm pretty excited! I haven't a clue what's on the menu yet, but it's so nice to know that we'll celebrate the holiday with each other. Part of me lost sight of this a few weeks ago when I found myself worrying about every little detail. I tend to do that a lot. I guess I wanted the day to be perfect and felt a little frazzled by the idea of not having our "stuff." I know it's just stuff, but there are certain dishes and napkins I like to use for the holidays, which make me feel like I pulled off some sort of Martha Stewart spread. Once I let go of the fact that I'd be without my snazzy stand mixer and trusty kitchen gadgets, there was room to remember the whole point of the holiday. I'll be celebrating it in the best company.

THREE: Over the past week, I've laughed a lot. It just feels good to giggle. Better yet, it's nice to be surrounded by family and friends who really "get" you and will laugh with you. They see the beauty and humor in each day the same way that you do — no explanation is needed. That's the best gift ever!

FOUR: On Sunday morning, I woke up and had a hankering for a donut with sprinkles. I shared this sentiment with Flyboy, but he's used to my silly and fleeting food-related obsessions. I started making coffee and fed the dogs when I realized he was headed out the door. I asked where he was going and learned he was Shipley's bound. Fifteen minutes later I was dunking a donut in my coffee. What a guy! 

FIVE: You guys, I'm absolutely baffled by the response to Monday's post. It's clear we're a paper lovin' crowd that's armed with pens and ready to whip out some washi tape. I love it! There are over 60 people signed up for the postal-pick-me-up. Pen pals are scattered from SoCal and Mid-Missouri, all the way to England and Portugal. Thank YOU for joining me in this effort to bring postal back. You've left me smiling from ear to ear!  

Alright, enough about me... 
What made you feel happy or grateful this week? Enjoy your weekend to the fullest, m' dears!

P.S. Thoughts about Holiday Gift Guides on the blog? Are you in favor, or are there already enough of them out there? 

IMAGE CREDITS: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thursday's Thoughts

It's no secret that our dogs are just as neurotic as their owner. In a weird way, I wear that like a badge of honor as only a mother would. I thought I was dealing with one nut job (cough, Tripp, cough), but then we introduced another to the mix. Aww, we were young and clueless! When we got Beesly, it felt like we were working with a blank canvas. We had an adorable puppy and a fresh start — an opportunity to mold the PERFECT dog. Boy, were we wrong! 

The first three years with Miss B were a walk in the park. Our well-behaved and fluffy furry being was just as lovely as we hoped she'd be. Then we moved to Hawaii and settled into a secluded rental on the top of a steep hill. Enter Lil' Puna. Aside from the mold, ginormous cockroaches and centipedes, it felt like a slice of heaven, our own little island oasis. The only noises you'd hear were C-17s doing pattern work, a fountain trickling peacefully outside the house, or the occasional lost vehicle, which inevitably ended up stranded on the hill. But, I digress... 

Our current living sitch consists of an apartment. There are three floors, and we live on the second. We hear EVERYTHING, my friends. It never occurred to me that this might be an issue. When we moved in, I could see that both dogs were a little anxious and easily startled by sounds. I reasoned with Flyboy and we concluded that as soon as we got furniture they'd feel more at ease. Ha! Any time the neighbor above us started walking around or dropped something, our mutts would act as though they'd heard thunder or the sound of a gunshot. Whenever this occurs, Tripp finds a corner and hides. Who knew he could be so low-maintenance? Beesly, on the other hand, paces back and forth panting heavily. It drives me bonkers, but I figured she would eventually get used to the new sounds.

Since I spend the better part of the day with both hounds, it started wearing on me. Call me dramatic, but Flyboy would come home from work and I'd look at him like a worn-out mother just ready for the hand-off. I needed a moment of sanity — and maybe something mixed with gin. They were driving me b-a-n-a-n-a-s! When I'm home during the day, I don't turn on the TV. It can be too distracting, and I like a quiet working environment. I tried playing music, but even my eclectic mix of George Strait meets Jay Z wasn't cutting it for these two. How could I desensitize them? I thought about banging pots and pans. I started clapping randomly and opening/closing cabinets and drawers. They would look at me like I was crazy and then proceed with their naps, but the moment they heard a chair move upstairs, they were in panic mode yet again. 

Because I think Google is the solution to everything, I searched the following combination of words: dog + noises + anxiety. I was amazed at what I read, but most people recommended a white noise machine. I've used the app before and I honestly didn't think it would help, but in a moment of complete despair I revisited it to check out the various noise options. I scanned the catalog, but they all seemed too peaceful. I tested several options, but nothing phased them. The only noise I hadn't tried was "Clothes Dryer." You've got to be kidding me?! Curious and out of ideas, I gave it a shot. So I sat at my computer, with both dogs at my feet, and the sound of an imaginary tumbling dryer seemed to do the trick. Neighbors come and go, but Beesly is only partially phased. It's not a huge success, but I'll take what I can get! I didn't realize it was all that silly until I told my mom about my remedy. When I explain it, it sounds cray cray, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Thankfully, the only panic in the apartment these days, is the look on my face when I'm confused as to whether or not I'm ACTUALLY doing laundry. Gawd forbid, I leave my jeans in the dryer too long! Phew, it's just the white noise...

So, what's the craziest thing you've done for your pet?! C'mon and make me feel a little sane.

P.S. While my doggie duo is far from perfect, they're perfectly imperfect for me. We find ourselves doing the craziest things for them, but they love us unconditionally and bring us oodles of joy. And in Beesly's defense, I do make her play dress up a lot, but it doesn't appear that she hates it. The photo above says it all! For more background info on our dogs, Tripp and Beez, you'll want to read this post from the One Fine Day vault.
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wishful Thinking


Today, I wish I was wearing this happy ensemble. Of course, since this scenario is make believe, I'll have no problem dropping $900 on this fabulous clutch. Squee! That sort of silly business is commonplace on Wishful Thinking Wednesdays, am I right?! It's also totally normal to wear something like this to my local Target. Work with me, people! 
  • Merino Tippi Sweater in Vivid Aqua // Look, I'm no fashion blogger, but I know what I like. This is a wardrobe staple — it pairs perfectly with a party skirt and sets the stage for any show-stopping necklace.
  • Lip Bullet // To complete the look, we'll top it off with a pigmented pink lip. Pucker up!

P.S. Hop on over to the Curly Girl Design blog, and grab a cup of hot cocoa. I'm sharing my "hunker down" necessities!
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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lifesavers Lately

Just a few recommendations that deserve a Type-A(shley) seal of approval:
  • 1Canoe2 Oversized 2014 Calendar // It not only makes me excited for the new year (finally settling down in Swell Rio), but it's the one thing that really makes our temporary living sitch feel less like a dorm and more like a home. Not to mention, the colors in the art prints are just gorgeous! It's no secret I'm smitten.
  • Metallic Dot Scarf // I must admit that I miss getting all gussied up for work, but this shouldn't be misinterpreted as me lounging around the apartment in yoga pants. No way! I can't operate like that. Most days, you'll find me in jeans and some sort of tee or button down. Accessories are a given. This scarf, in particular, is great because it has my favorite gold accents (in polka dots, no less). It's light enough to wear on a warm November day in Texas, but also allows me to pretend I'm experiencing fall weather.
  • The Goldbergs // I'm pleasantly surprised with this 80s-themed sitcom on ABC. Is it bad that Flyboy and I look forward to watching it BEFORE New Girl and The Mindy Project on our DVR? The cast is hilarious, the music makes me want to sing along, and the costumes leave me reminiscing about the days of shoulder pads and perms. Maybe we've lost our minds, but this show is pretty funny. Do you watch it?
  • Pinch Provisions Minimergency Kit // Time and time again, this little kit comes to the rescue. It's probably my favorite purchase. Ever. In the last week, I've pulled mine out on three different occasions and it saved the day. This sounds like a PSA, but I'm certain every gal should have one handy!
  • Bare Minerals All-Over Face Color in Clear Radiance // After watching this video on contouring, I was convinced I needed to give the beauty technique another shot. I picked up this highlighter and I love it. It's more pink than other highlighters I've tried, but it works quite nicely with my fair complexion.
  • Mario Badescu Products // Since we moved, my skin has been angry and I've tried everything to get it back into working order. Making the change from humid Hawaii to dry Texas has not been easy, so I emailed Lara of The Glossarie for some skincare advice. Her blog is my go-to site for all things makeup and beauty related. I've always been pleased with her recommendations, and I believe we have similar skin types because my face always seems to agree with her suggestions. I knew she was a big fan of Mario Badescu, and the lower price point of the product line was rather enticing. About three weeks ago, I started using the Glycolic Foaming Cleanser, Aloe Moisturizer, and Orange Cleansing Soap, and I'm so happy with the results. I use the Glycolic Foaming Cleanser 2-3 times a week, and I've noticed a big difference in the brightness of my complexion and overall texture. The Orange Cleansing Soap is very mild for my combination and sensitive skin; however, it does a nice job of taking off my makeup at the end of the day. I've struggled to find the right everyday moisturizer, and I think I found it with this Aloe lotion. It's lightweight and easily absorbs into the skin. It also acts as a nice primer for my foundation.
  • Harney & Sons Peppermint Herbal Tea // This initially caught my eye because of the cute packaging, but I was also looking for a caffeine-free and low-cal nightcap to sip on in the evenings while watching m' shows. It's also appealing because I've had a terrible cold for the past week and drinking a cup of this stuff makes me feel like I can breathe again. I typically look forward to my nightly sweet treat, but lately I've been craving this instead. I'd say it was $6 well spent!

Tell me, what's something that you recommend or you can't live without?!
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Monday, November 18, 2013

A Postal Pick-Me-Up

It's no secret that I'm a sucker for snail mail. It not only gives me a reason to buy snazzy card stock and washi tape, but sitting down to send a little postal pick-me-up to dear friends and family brings me oodles of joy. Since I started blogging, my list of pen pals has almost doubled, and I LOVE it! It's a nice little escape from the typical email, tweet, or Instagram comment — a personal way for me to connect with others and unplug from all the digital madness. I've received so many notes of encouragement, it's a little bit overwhelming. I feel truly blessed to have connected with so many people who delight in something as silly as a colorful envelopes, the occasional handful of confetti, and thoughtful words. It can be as simple as "I'm rooting for you!", to a favorite quote, or corny joke. I've learned that random pieces of mail with positive messages are like sunshine for my soul. Sending snail mail is almost as fabulous as receiving it. I love having a reason to skip to my mailbox only to find an unexpected envelope from a friend.

Since this brings ME so much happiness, I figured it was time to share the joy. Don't you want to receive a little snail mail sunshine? I think it's time for One Fine Day to go postal. Many of us connect via blogs, Twitter, and Instagram. It's obvious we have a lot in common. You like stationery, I like stationery. I think we should be pen pals. Whattaya think? 

How it works:
  1. Anyone interested in joining the mail madness can email me your address
  2. Each month, I'll pair you with a bloggie friend in which you will send a surprise piece of snail mail.
  3. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. Just grab a cute note card and get creative.
  4. Don't know the person? No problem. This is a random act of kindness — a reason to make someone smile.
  5. Doodle a favorite quote or joke. Fill that envelope with a silly amount of confetti. Say "Howdy!"
  6. This shouldn't feel like another task to add to your To-Do list. It should be fun! We're bringing postal back!

Happy Monday! I hope this gives you something to smile about.

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Weekend Links

A few weekend links...
This tutorial on contouring and highlighting is a game changer. Thanks for pinning, Kelly!
Rachel's fabulous post on personal style —I couldn't have said it better myself.
A DIY Surprise Paper Turkey that will surely make you smile.
J.Crew's Gift Guide — Oh, heavens! Could I just have it all?!
Gospel according to Jenna (here and here).
You shouldn't miss this When Harry Met Sally prank.
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Friday, November 15, 2013

The Friday Five

Here's what left me feeling grateful this week:

ONE: Flyboy got back in the saddle this week and had his first flight in a T-6 in almost three years. Woo Hoo! It's the same plane that he initially trained in while attending undergraduate pilot training at Laughlin AFB back in 2009. He's currently training to be an instructor, and I couldn't be prouder! He's had his nose in the books for the past month, and I think he was eager to fly again. The pups and I were anxious all day just waiting to hear how it went. In fact, I almost lost Tripp's leash when I pointed up to the sky on one of our morning walks. Beesly has this thing about looking up at the sky whenever there are planes around. I promise I'm not being dramatic. She's a girl after her dad's heart.

TWO: If you heard a squeeing sound from afar, that was an overly-excited Ashley in Texas just geeking out about an early Christmas gift she received from her parents. Eek! I'm going to Blogshop, y'all!!!! I'm talking about THE Blogshop with the über-talented Bri Emery and Angela Kohler. You know, the amazing Photoshop bootcamp that's filled with balloons and tassels in local venues filled with students ready to stuff their brains with all kinds of bloggie goodness. Yup! I'm going to THAT one. I'm over-the-moon with joy and truly grateful for the opportunity. Once again, my mom and dad's generosity overwhelms me. I'm not sure I can ever pay them back for this kind gesture, but I'm going to try!

THREE: My mom's birthday is on Monday, and I'm so blessed to call her MY mother and friend. She has a way of making everyone around her feel incredibly special and so very loved. It's a treasure to do life with her. Whenever I'm feeling down and need the perfect pick-me-up, she knows just the right words to put me at ease and make me smile. In the event I want to chitchat about recent pins or Etsy treasures, she meets my excitedness and manages to kick it up a notch! I've never met someone who approaches life with as much zeal as she does, but she makes me want to match her level of genuine enthusiasm and kindness. It's a gift to live each day with gusto like hers!

FOUR: I think it's safe to say we all live for the weekends, but I love them even more these days because I know Flyboy and I have another opportunity to explore the local area. It's a chance for FB to get away from the books and for me to step away from the computer and live a little. It usually includes some shopping and always revolves around food. This weekend, I'm looking forward to visiting New Braunfels a little more; we went there two weeks ago and attended Wurstfest. This time around, Gruene Hall (the oldest dance hall in TX) and Splendid + Spark are on the top of my list!

FIVE: I got my roots touched up. Aside from the stylist getting the color wrong initially (Rut-Roh!), I'm so happy to say good-bye to my ashy looking outgrowth. It was getting bad. Really, really bad. Finding a new place to get my hair did is probably the worst part about moving. That sounds melodramatic (like Beesly watching planes), but it's also true! 

Alright, enough about me... 
What made you feel happy or grateful this week? Enjoy your weekend to the fullest, m' dears!
IMAGE CREDITS: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5
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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gimme! Gimme!

As a self-proclaimed ballet flat connoisseur, I'm somewhat ashamed that I've yet to try Yosi Samra flats. I hear they're insanely comfortable, and from the looks of things they're incredibly cute. I can't seem to pick a favorite, although I'm torn between the trusty leopard print and the glittery cap toe. Surprise, surprise. They're BOTH so versatile! During my time at J.Crew, I accumulated a lot of shoes; however, some of them are so fabulous I have the urge to wear them daily, but I don't want to ruin them (cough, collection calf hair and glitter, cough). What's a girl to do? In the past, I've sworn by J.Crew's beloved Cece Flats and Lucky Brand's Emmie. Since I like my shoes to make a statement and I want to get good use of them, Yosi Samra flats could be the perfect solution. Quality and function paired with snazzy color combos and patterns have me hooked! Do you have any flat favorites? Have you tried Yosi Samra shoes?
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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Blogger Buzz

This month The Blogger Buzz is back and ready to sweat! Here are their favorite ways to stay fit:
  1. Laura Podlich of Beauty & the Beard // I love to walk or hike outside with my boyfriend. It makes the time go by so much faster to have someone to talk to, and getting fresh air is always a plus!
  2. Lauren Felix of La Petite Fashionista // My favorite way to workout is Zumba! It brings me back to my many years of dance classes, and I love that it's so much fun it doesn't even feel like I'm burning calories like crazy!
  3. Ashley Fine of One Fine Day // My go-to workout has got to be spinning. It's fast-paced and gives me a reason to blast my embarrassing workout playlist. I spin for sanity, to fit in my jeans, and to splurge on dessert.
  4. Katherine Nolden of The Duchess of Plumewood // My fave way to workout is pretty much anything where I don't realize I'm working out. I usually do the elliptical while watching TV; I find I work harder when I don't think about how many minutes are left.
  5. Meg Anderson of Downtown Daydreams // My favorite workouts are Violet Zaki's classes at Equinox in New York City. Her class Asset Management is just the best! My friends and I love to go together. You leave feeling exhausted and amazing — all at the same time. She's tough, but so motivating and hilarious! While her classes are currently in New York, Violet also has videos and quick workouts on YouTube
What fitness routine(s) do you swear by? We'd love to know!
IMAGE CREDITS: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5
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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Life's Little Details

Here's a glimpse of what's been going on lately...
Polka-dot kicks that make walking the dogs so much sweeter.
Sending overdue snail mail to family and friends.  // Sparkly and colorful details are my fave, but you already knew that!
After B's window blinds fiasco, she goes in her crate when we leave. Tripp has used this as an opportunity to gloat and lay on the bed.
Despite a collection of cute tees, I'm happy to dust off my sweaters lately. // Yup, we went to a sausage fest! It was delicious.
There's nothing like a fresh notepad to inspire. // This 1Canoe2 gem is the only thing hanging up on our walls. It makes me so happy!
Eager to spend my birthday loot. J.Crew and Anthropologie beware!
Sunday errands are better with snazzy flats. // Stationery and birthday cake should mingle more often.
The rig is street legal in Texas! // An impromptu lesson on diesel from Flyboy at the local gas station.
A day trip to Austin has me itching to go back with this guy!
A birthday gift from a sweet friend. Thanks, Jenna! I'm suddenly more excited than ever to bake a pie (pumpkin).
"The details are not the details. They make the design." — Charles Eames

Happy Tuesday, sweet readers! It's been awhile since I shared snippets of what's been going on in Life's Little Details, one of my favorite series on the ol' blog. In fact, I had to edit the wording a bit and get rid of the Lil' Puna part. Sigh. I've yet to think of a clever name for our temporary digs, but before you know it we'll be settled in Swell Rio. Woo Hoo! When I try to brainstorm nicknames for our current living situation, I draw a blank. However, I can't help but giggle when I think about how things have changed since September. A few months ago, we lived on top of a hill that overlooked a bay on a street called Lilipuna. Now we live down the road from a place called Cooter Brown's. You read that right. Cooter Brown's. It doesn't get more Texas than that, my friends. I live for the day I have to give someone directions and refer to the tavern without snickering. Try it. Say Cooter Brown's with a straight face. It's impossible.

Hopefully, that glamorous detail about our current living sitch has you smiling! It gets me every time.
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Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veteran's Day

Flyboy's grandfather was a navigator on The Leading Lady.
Note: I wrote this post two years ago. My blog was just six months old, but I feel just as strongly about these words now as when I originally wrote them. Since my readership has grown, I felt it was important to share my thoughts once more. One Fine Day is my platform to discuss topics that are near and dear to me, like honoring our veterans.

As a product of the military, I've spent the past 28 years surrounded by some of the bravest men and women. I've learned firsthand the true meaning of words like patriotism, integrity, and valor. I witnessed sacrifice in the name of prosperity and freedom. I stand in awe of those who've served our Nation selflessly, and I'm forever humbled.

My dad served in the Air Force for over 20 years. For most of his career, he worked as an historian. He's a retired Chief that taught my sister and me the value in honoring our veterans by looking to both the past and the present. As a family, we walked the beaches of Normandy together. At such a young age, it was hard to process the scope of the historic events that took place there. When I look back, that trip was quite memorable. During those impressionable years, we learned what it meant to honor our veterans and why it's so important to never forget their service. I remember my dad instructing us to get out the dictionary, to look up the word, and to read the definition of veteran aloud. I won't forget that moment or the meaning ever.

Being a history buff, he may have thought that trips to historic spots in Europe would teach us the most about those that served and sacrificed. He might not know that he, himself, was the best tool for his daughters to fully comprehend what it means to be a veteran. He may not have battled on the front lines (thankfully), but he wore the uniform proudly. I never once heard the man complain about work. Instead, he viewed this chapter of his life a blessing and an honor.

One thing I've learned over the years is that each person's call to duty is quite different, but every service member is integral in supporting the safety of our freedom. It doesn't matter if you fly a desk (as my dad used to joke about his job) or you fly a C-17. Military jobs and missions may vary, but there's one thing every service member has in common — courage and commitment. It's important that we honor the contributions they've made to the cause of peace and freedom around the world.

Awhile back, I watched an interview with Tom Brokaw (one of my absolute favorite human beings). He said that WWII united our country in an effort to save the world, and while deeply divided during Vietnam, the whole country was still very aware about what was happening. Mr. Brokaw believes that today's wars are not something the typical American thinks about every day. According to Tom, "Less than one percent of the American population is bearing 100 percent of the burden of battle."

The legendary newsman went on to pose the following questions...

Do you know someone fighting on the front lines? How about a family in your town that has a loved one serving?
Brokaw says that if you can't say yes to one of these questions, then you don't really care about the war or the men and women who are fighting it. His biggest concern? People don't think about the sacrifices that brave soldiers and their families are making for freedom. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been the longest in U.S. history. According to Mr. Brokaw, it's not just the length of time that has made these recent wars different than past ones — it's our country's level of engagement.
"I, as a political reporter, believe very strongly that this democratic republic cannot have something that involves our blood and treasure assigned to only a very small part of our population, and nothing else is asked of the rest of us. That's not just unjust. In a way, it's immoral."
Mr. Brokaw says that we all have to "re-enlist as citizens" by raising our consciousness about the wars — to think about the men and women who are fighting every day and losing their lives — and also to do something about it. How? Stay abreast with current events. Volunteer. Visit United We Serve. Take the time to shake the hand of a veteran and say "Thank You." As important as it is to act, it's just as imperative to reflect. In fact, why don't you go ahead and forgo an episode of trash reality TV, 15 minutes wasted on Facebook, or online retail therapy, and watch this 60 Minutes segment about wounded warriors and Operation Proper Exit. I guarantee that you'll be left speechless and humbled by these brave men and women. However you feel about war and its appropriateness, it's important that we remember to honor those that have served and serve today.

A special thanks to family and friends who have served and currently serve in our nation's military. 
I'm so very proud to say that I know you!

With great humility and gratitude,
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Friday, November 8, 2013

The Friday Five

In the words of Michael Scott, "My heart is very full at this moment." Here's what left me feeling grateful this week... 

ONE: I've been told I'm an ambivert, although a big part of me still believes I'm an introvert through and through. I excel at spending time alone, but there are days when I've gone hours without human contact and I can't wait for Flyboy to return or hear the sound of my phone's ringtone —in that case, it's mostly always my mom. The pups and I take short walks throughout the day to break up the monotony, but I typically revert to my introverted ways when we're out and about because these two can be unruly and embarrassing in public. This past week, I've had a few brief encounters with people who live in the area, and their friendliness brightened my day. Whether it's a smile, holding the door, or a conversation about my mutts, I'm reminded that I DO need contact with people. I need opportunities to share my kindness with others. I want to give others a reason to smile, just as my acquaintances gifted me this past week.

TWO: Ever since Domino revamped their website, I've been enthralled! It's a source of inspiration that I NEEDED to have back in my life. The interactive layout makes me giddy for what's to come, and the images are enough to calm me and throw me into a tizzy simultaneously. What can I say, it's just nice to reconnect with an old friend!   

THREE: I got to add a few styling opportunities to my "To-Do" list this week, which means two things: 1.) I'm a busy bee, and 2.) I get to create. When I've got a decent workload, I'm a happier Ashley. It also means I get to play dress up with Beesly — a hobby that I absolutely adore! I've got a fresh bag of Beggin' Strips, here's hoping she'll cooperate...

FOUR: For my birthday, my parents bought me customized "Blogger Cards" from Rifle Paper Co. It was far too generous, and I cry just thinking about how much the gift has meant to me. The whole process has been amazing, and the designers have been wonderful to work with. This week, I received an email with a proof. Coincidentally, I was on the phone with my mom when I opened the attachment. Joyful tears started squirting from my eyeballs; I was a happy mess. I can't wait until I get to see them in person, and stow a few of them away in my purse.

FIVE: One of my aunts visited me on Monday, and I had the best time! With two different GPS's, this directionally-challenged duo managed to hop around San Antonio with a handful of detours, which made the reunion especially memorable. We visited El Mercado, a giant Mexican shopping center, and dined on the River Walk. For as long as I can remember, my family has always loved to see me squirm. Naturally, my aunt paid a Mariachi band $10 to serenade me at lunch. I wasn't sure what to do besides sit there, look around, and nervously smile at onlooking strangers. Ha Ha! Despite my awkwardness, I left the city with a stuffed belly, a set of miniature piñatas, and the haunting sound of a trumpet buzzing in my ears. Being in the company of family does the heart good.

Alright, enough about me... 
What made you feel happy or grateful this week? Enjoy your weekend to the fullest, m' dears!
Image Sources: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5
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