One day

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I'll learn how to hit "Publish" and come back.


Music + Sleepytime

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Do you listen to music when you fall asleep? Or do you have to have it completely silent, door closed, zero light?

I can do either, but it's preferable for me to have music or some sort of noise.  I had to get used to silence when I had a roommate who was a light sleeper (that was a very rough two years...), but if I can have the radio on, or TV playing, I will.  And because I'm a creature of habit, I have a goodnight playlist that I would insist on falling asleep to, convinced that it worked faster.

Well, unfortunately I lost the playlist when I wiped my iPod clean on an update as well as had my old laptop die all within a week of each other - and Ashley was a sad, very tired girl. (What? Talking in third person isn't cool? Oh.)

So imagine how happy I was to open an old notebook today and see I'd had the brilliant foresight to write it down!!  

In a veiled way of keeping a record of my playlist in case I ever lose it again, I thought I'd share :)  I was going to post all the videos for them, but that's a pretty vid-heavy post -- so only select ones get a YouTube accompaniment.

If you have any suggestions (or even a playlist) of music that could fit in my Dreaming List, please share! I'm always open to new music.

God Must Have Spent - *NSYNC
(most favourite *NSYNC song ever.)

My Heart Was Home Again - Josh Groban
(the music is beautiful.)

Believe - Josh Groban

You're Still You - Josh Groban

Something Good - Sound of Music OST
(I used to try to listen to the whole soundtrack to go to bed, but then I'd just start singing the entire movie.)

Kiss the Rain - Yiruma
(possibly THE most beautiful music I've ever heard.
Seriously, please listen if you haven't already.)

Doin' Just Fine - Boyz II Men

4 Seasons of Loneliness - Boyz II Men

Turn Me On - Norah Jones (<3)

Crazy Love - Michael Bublé

Home - Michael Bublé


A Task For You (that's my thinly-veiled attempt to ask a favour)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Since I abandoned my NaNo novel in early January, I didn't write anything until last week. It's not that I planned to take a break after that 8-week long binge of writing, it was more...I just didn't. I've been a bit blocked, really, and it sucks.

But last week, a literary agent put up a contest on her blog where she gave 5 words to us and we had to create a story in 100 words or less using those words anywhere.  (No, the prize wasn't a book deal, it was an ARC of Insurgent!) I didn't win, but I forgot how much fun it is to write--especially when you're given a prompt.

Which is where you come in!

I can't offer a prize or what have you (aside from a shout out on the blog, which we can pretend is worth something!), but I was hoping you guys could help! I tried just tossing random words into a box and pulling 5, but it feels contrived since it's still me ultimately doing it. SO!

You: give me 5-7 words.
Any. Make them random or related or personal or pick up the nearest book and open to a page and pick a few words.  Give me one set, five sets, twenty sets if you feel up for it!

Me: I'll take those words and make a story in 200-words or less (I'm wordy, I need to give myself a bit of leeway here!).

If someone(s) do(es) give me words (leave them in the comments or e-mail me, whichever you're comfortable with! You could even tweet me if you'd like), I'll post up my story along with links to whoever provided me the word prompts. I even invite others to do their own from the same words!

I just think getting words from other people will help me with creativity, and not one where I pretend I'm doing it but I've actually chosen 5 words that are already coming together as a story in my head (not that I'd ever do that...because it'd be cheating...).

I appreciate the help to pull me out of this writing funk!


The start of another week

Monday, March 5, 2012

Happy Monday, darlings!  How was your weekend?

I had a surprisingly lovely and fun-filled weekend. My brother and dad drove to Phoenix for two days to see the Clippers v. Suns game, so Friday night was just me and my mom hanging out. We went to dinner and grocery shopping (something I normally hate, but having my mom there was fun -- and we were at Trader Joe's, which is like Heaven to me) and had a generally easy-going ladies night.

Saturday I went to the Wild Animal Park! Even though I've lived in San Diego for 12 years, even had a Zoo membership for 2 years, I've never been before! My brother's girlfriend has a membership, which allows her to bring in a guest for free; so she was nice enough to let me accompany. And I have to say, it was a ton of fun!  A pretty good work out too, because it's super hill-y and you have to walk along a ton of trails to get everywhere. It's a massive park (bigger in acreage than the World Famous San Diego Zoo!), but it seems very...accessible. You don't leave feeling like you missed dozens of animals.

I'm crap at taking pictures and the above is literally the only one I took: a rhino and her baby!  Adorable (and I swear they are there, just look for legs right at the center). I really recommend going to the Wild Animal Park if you're in the area and have the time. It's so much fun and you learn a lot of really interesting things. Plus, I got to see a Cheetah run! And a lioness yawn literally 2 feet in front of me! And a mini-Buckbeak-like bird (they exist!)! Three of the grander things in nature, I think.

The park closes at 5, so after we wasted time in Target and had a fabulous time. We cooked dinner at my house and then met up with a few of our other friends to hang out and get boba. Delicious.

Sunday was a beautiful day in San Diego: 85*, blazing sun but not the stifling heat. It was perfect, and I spent it sitting outside my beloved Coffee Bean, a book in hand and drink on the table. I didn't open my computer, I tucked my phone away in my purse, put headphones in on low volume...absolute bliss.

This week is a bit unknown, as I finally finished the majority of the project I was working on for work last Thursday - and I don't know if I'm being asked to stay to finish up the smaller parts. So uh...I may be unemployed? I really don't know. But that's ok, because I have a massive stack of books calling my name as well as a resume to finally finish up to find a more permanent job.  I've also gotten some ideas for blog posts, which I'm excited to write up and share!

Tell me, what was the best part of your weekend?


The worst part about this week

Friday, March 2, 2012

was realizing I lost a story I'd written last year :( I swore it was backed up on one of my hard drives or uploaded to my Google Docs, but I cannot find any trace of the file -- and the laptop I'd written it on is long gone now.  It was a 65k novel about a woman who ran the USA house at the Winter Olympics, and even though I'd kind of given up on it I had every intention to revisit it at a later date.  I actually liked some of the scenes I'd written.

This makes me sad. And pretty much sucks.

Back up your work and double-triple-quadruple check it, kids.


It's certainly been awhile, hasn't it?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

In an effort to catch you up on my life:

> Work.  Still there, still working at my "temp" position with my old job. Our work computers though are absolute crap, so I've been working from home almost every day since it's faster on my laptop. They had a wireless connection set up in the office so I can work on my laptop there, but why should I drive 25 miles to sit in an office using my own laptop? It makes much more sense for me to just do it from home. So I do.

> Work party.  We had a dinner/bowling night with the office to celebrate the work my best friend and I have done - hooray! It was fun getting to be with all of them again, most of the employees work out of office, on location, or from home so it's rare to get a majority of us together in one room. Even though I whine a lot about my job, I really do love the people I work with (as people, anyway. Perhaps not so much as co-workers).  They're fun and interesting. I laughed because one of my bosses was trash talking me since he knows I'm a big bowler (I am not good though).

> Bowling. I BEAT MY BOSS AT BOWLING. That's all.

> Valentine's Day. I got to spend it on a hot 2.5 hour date...with my dentist.  If you're a longtime reader of my blog (do you exist anymore? I hope so!), you know my teeth are...uhh...not well. Let's just say that I know all the dental vernacular because I have to get so much work done there all the time. And so I got to spend my VDay getting shot up with novocaine, having cavities filled and a crown put on one of my teeth.  SO MUCH FUN. EXCEPT NOT AT ALL. The novocaine wore off halfway through, right as they were drilling out my cavity, so that was super awesome.  And they gave me a double dosage of shots, so I was numb for literally the entire rest of the day. I knew it was going to be a bad day when they tilted my chair up and handed me an entire BAG of Advil with the sympathetic look and instructions of "proooobably best to take one of these now...and for the rest of the day...or week. Whatever!"

> Dentist, continued. Best part? I have another appointment tomorrow morning for more work. AND THEN I get to have one MORE!  Ain't life grand?

> Hanging with Friends. Anyone else sucked into that damn game? I was on it for awhile, and stopped playing for over a month. And then one night I was with a bunch of my friends, and they asked me to play just one game with them...which has morphed into a month-long battle of literally 12 separate games. I had a massive 20 game undefeated streak going until my brother's girlfriend upended it. So far I'm still 34-5, so...there's that. I hate this game. (but if you want to play, play me! username: bellaashley19)

> Smashburger. Why did no one tell me about this place earlier!? DUDE. So much better than Five Guys! Still can't dethrone In N Out to me, but it's pretty darn delicious.  I mean, they have Haagen-Dazs milkshakes!

> Reading. Still out of hand, but still keeping to my book blog! That's actually the reason I've been so absent from here. It's run a niche blog than just a personal one. There's real schedules and upkeep and it's like...damn.  I love it though, so I'm definitely going to keep at it - I just need to time manage better.  I have a lot of thoughts about this though, so I'll probably expand it to a post of its own at a later date.

> Crying. I don't know what I was thinking this week: first I read The Fault In Our Stars, the new novel by John Green. And if you haven't heard about it, you need to. Click that link, read the synopsis. I'm reviewing it on Friday, and let me just tell you: uncontrollable sobbing occurred. Some whimpering. It was ugly (but sexy) and that book is possibly one of the best I've read in my life.  And then I ran across Toy Story 3 on TV this morning, and for some God awful reason decided to watch it. I don't think there will ever be a time I'm not full on weeping at the end. AND THEN this evening I watched the Glee episode, and I just...ugh. UGH. Those first 15 minutes killed me.  KILLED ME.

> Family. I found out I have another Uncle. And he was in town and I met him, and it turns out he has a whole mess of kids, too.  And some of his kids have kids!  So in the 2-ish weeks I've been gone from here, I've inherited ~15 more relatives. That's life as a Filipino!

> Family, part 2. I finally got to meet two of my nephews!  To be fair, I didn't even know one existed, so it's not like I was eagerly waiting to meet him. But still! Little toddler Jacob, who is turning 3 next month and is possibly the most well-behaved child I've had the pleasure of being in the same room with.  And his little baby brother Caleb, who when I met him was exactly 1 WEEK old (and that explains why I didn't know he existed).  I have never been around such a newly-born baby before and it freaked me out. He's so tiny!

> Motherhood. Being around Jacob and Caleb made me realize though that I reeaaallly have no mothering instinct in me. Sure, they're sweet and fun and precious, but after an hour with them, I was super glad to hand over the reigns to my cousins again. This girl might just have been born without a biological clock.

> Fast Food. On a [stupid, stupid] whim, I decided to make February a No-Fast-Food February. It was literally like...a thought I had while driving, and I made the stupid mistake of mentioning this thought to my brother a few of our friends. Suddenly, I'm sticking to it and they're watching me and keeping me on track!  Surprisingly, it's been a lot easier than I thought it would. My only worry was work, because I never have enough time to pack my own lunch so anytime I'd be at the office, I'd buy. We finally worked out that Fast Food equaled any food place that has a drive-thru, i.e. McDonalds, In N Out (sob!), Jack in the Box, a few Mexican places, Popeye's, Sonic, etc.  I had to break it once due to extenuating circumstance (I'm not getting into it), but otherwise, I think my wallet has been thankful.

> Soda. Without details, both my parents are Type-II Diabetic, and have been for awhile. My father's has gotten a bit worse, and he was given strict orders to give up soda: namely, Coke. Now, my dad grew up in the Philippines, and you know how much they covet their Coke (well...maybe you don't. But trust, they do).  He has literally been drinking Coke since he was 4 years old, so this has been a crazy battle for him. He claims it's even harder to give up than smoking (he smoked for 17 years). It's weird to see him not having soda, but I'm proud that he's doing it.

> Soda, for me. As a side effect of dad not allowed to have soda, it's not in the house anymore. And so that means I've basically had to give it up, too, because I refuse to suffer the wrath if I ever bring soda into the house.  And I have to's been weird to me. I've never thought I was too addicted to it, but turns out that I probably was more than I like to admit. But it's fine to give it up, I just have to make sure I don't substitute it for something as bad.

> Naked. I can't stand Dev, and I am not really a fan of Enrique Iglesias. But has anybody heard their song together, Naked?  I AM OBSESSED.

> Diet. I dunno how February turned into the Weird Diet Month, but between the no fast food and no soda, it's been a very strange month, eating-wise. I don't think it's really had any effect on my weight or my mood, but it can't have hurt, right?

> Injury. Can we just look at this photo of my hand from a week or so ago?  Do you see that red line on the top of my palm? And you can't really see it, but there's another red mark right in one of the lines.
Yeahhh...I'm almost ashamed to tell you how that happened. I uh...bought a new bottle of nail polish. And it wouldn't open, and that was the injury sustained from that little space between the brush top and the bottle as I twisted like a madman to get it open. It's weird, right?! It was basically a burn, and even though it's small, trust me when I say it hurt. Plus, that's my right hand! I do everything with my right hand!

> Nails. I've been sapped for time and motivation in terms of my nails, so nothing fancy.
Left: Valentine's Day Nails!  OPI - An Affair In Red Square, glitter polish is OPI - A Sparkle Yule Love
(Ulta Exclusive Holiday 2011 line).
Right: Current nails! OPI - I Have A Herring Problem (Holland Collection 2012)

So, that's pretty much my life right now.  How are you doing?


Music Monday

Monday, February 13, 2012

because this was pretty much my heart's song in 2001. I had a simple 14-year-old heart.


Somehow there's a lot of sports in this post. Also, a Ten on Tuesday!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Last monday, despite my very public dislike of basketball, I found myself at a Clippers game.

Truthfully, it wasn't terrible. I mean, I like sports and going to any sporting event is always fun. My brother's been a Clippers fan for over a decade (before all this "Chris Paul turned around the team" bullshit), and it was awesome to see him so excited about the team and seeing everyone. We were fairly high up (top section), but in the front row so it was actually pretty good. It figures that the one game I'd be at is the one with Blake Griffin's "Dunk of the Year" on Kendrick Perkins. But hooray for the Clippers beating the Thunder! I had no idea OKC is first in the league, because they were not playing like it.

That monday also kicked off my week-long break from work. I don't know why every job doesn't allow a week off after a few weeks; I felt so much better and refreshed heading into work this morning! I didn't do too much during my off time; mostly read, a lot of sleep, some seeing friends but not too much. It figures that the new layout code I was about to launch would not be compatible with the threaded commenting feature Blogger is now offering, so I've also been working like a madwoman reworking all of it for this blog and my book blog - I think I'm giving up and just going to customise the shit out of a Template layout. I want those threaded comments, man!

Anyway. I'm back at work this week but will probably take advantage of my working-at-home status towards the end since I'd quite like to not waste gas going all the way into the Pacific Beach office.

Onto the Tuesday questions!

PS. OH WAIT, one last thing! Though I cannot stand either the Patriots or Eli Manning, I have to admit the Super Bowl was a moderately entertaining game. Boo for no more football :(

Hosted by Chelsea!
1. How do you feel about Groundhog’s Day?
Do people normally have feelings about Groundhog's Day? I had no idea. It's just another day, although I do notice an increase in groundhog-related tweets that day. I suppose that makes sense.

2. What color are your fingernails right now? (Bonus points if you include a picture.)
A shimmery brown! Zoya's Cheryl.
Sun glare FTL.
3. Do you like riddles?
I do! I'm terrible at solving most of them though. I really like word puzzles, but if it's riddles that just make me go in circles, I give up pretty easily.

4. When you were 10, how old did you think “old” was? At your current age, how old do you think “old” is?
When I was 10, I thought 20 was old. A fact that disturbs me now, but I was 10! Now at 24 (2 months shy of my 25th birthday!) I tend to think 60s is old.

5. Do you wish on stars?
I do. Not often, but if I'm feeling particularly astronomical or my-fate-is-in-your-hands-y, I'll do it.

6. Do you recycle?
I try to! We do at home (cans v. plastic v. paper v. waste), but we don't at the office - which makes me angry since my office uses SO SO SO much paper.

7. On a scale from 1-10, how good of a cook are you?
Hmmm...I'd probably put myself at the 6.5 - 7 scale. Definitely not bad, but nothing to write home about. I always want to try to improve, but it's time and energy and I've yet to really put it as a priority.

8. Do you color your hair? Professionally or at home?
Never. I donate my hair almost every time I get it cut, and you aren't allowed to donate dyed hair. Plus, mine is naturally black with brown and red streaks/chunks, which I actually like.

9. On a scale from 1-10, how do you rate your manners?
Ohhh dear. I would think I'm a 9 since I'll occasionally forget to say 'thank you' if something is done for me while I'm not giving it my attention, but I try to be a perfect 10! I say all my please and thank yous, and I always try to be pleasant and considerate. People like to give me shit when I say "pardon?" if I need something repeated.

Wait, cursing isn't considered bad manners, right? I mean, I don't do it at people. Because if it does count well...we'll just slide my butt down to the 7 on the scale.

10. Who are the last 5 people you have texted?
1. Brother
2. Alexis (co-worker; I brought them cupcakes and needed to know flavor requests!)
3. Kathy (best friend & co-worker; no explanation needed)
4. Amanda (brother's gf/my friend)
5. Enzo (co-worker)


Happy Friday! (and the blanks are back!)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Happy Friday all! I've been absolutely exhausted this week. I worked from home at the beginning (kudos to those who do that all day, every day - it takes some SERIOUS discipline!) and then did full time in the office alongside some extra consulting, and it seriously felt like I was ready to pass out asleep by 9pm every night.

Any fun plans for the weekend? I hope everyone had wonderful weeks with better weekends!  I am currently at the Toyota dealership getting my car tuned up (and I've blogged at my last three visits...funny!).  I was absolutely dreading it since it's so much money to just kiss good-bye, but I found out it will be much cheaper than I thought!  So hooray for that, and fingers crossed there are no other problems with my beloved Kharr.

Aside from that, I will probably be heading up to Orange County for lunch with a longtime best friend/former roommate - which of course means I'll be getting some shopping in! I've heard of a beauty supply place that has some serious discounts on nail polish, so a haul of that will probably happen.  It's reaaaally not necessary, but I can't help myself!  My brother and his friends are also having a Nerf war (yeah. that's real) on Sunday, so I'll probably pop by. The last one they had I got to judge/moderate on, which was pretty fun.

Onto the blanks!

Hosted by the lovely (and new mom!) Lauren :)

1. My favorite place i've ever traveled to is Alberobello, a small town in the city of Puglia (Bari province).  It is possibly the most quaint, cute and steeped in culture town I've seen to date.

2. Australia is somewhere I'd love to go someday.

3. I pass the time on a plane (or bus, or car ride or train) by reading, listening to music, and (pending where I am), singing loudly to myself.

4. My three must-haves when I travel are music, at least one book (preferably 5!) and lotion (ridiculously dry skin on airplane!).

5. My favorite travel companion is my brother.

6. The craziest thing that ever happened to me while traveling is when I was going to San Francisco - a friend had given me her mom's frequent flier miles for a free ticket, but she'd also spelled my name wrong when transferring over the ticket.  I definitely had an asterisk next to my name on the reprint, and everywhere I went I was completely and totally searched: bags, carry ons, and my own person. Thank God my dad works for the TSA so everything they were doing I know to be "standard," because it was pretty rattling.  OHOH there was also this time I was on a flight from Italy to Atlanta and a girl got a bloody nose around Hour 3 (of 6).  It literally did not stop for the rest of the flight, so of course everyone was properly freaking out for her. Flight attendants were rushing around for ice packs and continuing tissue and passengers were monitoring the girl to make sure she wasn't going to pass out or anything (that's a lot of blood to lose!). The scary thing is that I knew her, her family and mine happened to be on the same flight because we were all moving from Italy to the US.  They were supposed to continue onto the Texas portion of the flight with us, but they had to get off in ATL for medical attention.

7. The most exotic food I've ever tried while traveling is umm...french fries with mayonnaise?  I really don't try exotic foods, and that answer is cheating since I lived in Belgium and that was the norm for us. We didn't know it was considered weird until we moved to the US.

8. If I could live anywhere else, I'd live in Portland. It's absolutely wonderful and weird there.  Or go back to Europe, of course, but I figured I'd keep my answer to the US else this would go on forever.

9. I have been to
fourteen (14) states in the US. CA, OR, WA, FL, NV, NM, CO, AZ, UT, MD, VA, NY, TX, GA


Mondays are too difficult to really think. Have some photos of food, wine, work and Comic-con 2011. (It's never too late.)

Monday, January 23, 2012

I've been sorting and organising my hard drive and ran across some photos that never got put up on the blog...not that I meant to ever put them up, but they seem worthy now, I suppose.

Because all I do is whine about work, I thought I'd show you the space I currently work in.  That monitor in front? I set up that whole thing by myself (and broke a nail in the process), CPU and internet and hooking it up to the network included.

Friends and I went wine tasting. If you're in San Diego, I recommend going to The Wine Encounter in Hillcrest!  Thursdays you can do a 5 pre-selected wine tasting for $8!

I also HIGHLY recommend R-Gang Eatery in Hillcrest. Does this sandwich not look DELICIOUS?! It was my own food and I'm jealous of my past self for having it!  We went here for my mom's birthday lunch and oh heavens I am counting the days until I can go back.  For the inquiring minds, it's their Turkey Sandy: roasted turkey, brie, tomato, spinach, sun dried tomato pesto, and basil aioli with rosemary garlic fries. My mouth watered just typing all that.

Current nails. How different do they look in flash and no flash?! Safe to say they're normally somewhere in the middle (also, the no-flash one is suuuuper blurry. Sorry!).  Apologies for the tip wear, they're about 5 days old now.  It's L'Oreal - Jet Set to Paris from their new line. (The glitter overlay is China Glaze - Fairy Dust!)

And I stumbled upon a few of my Comic-con 2011 pictures that I know I meant to put up but never did.  Enjoy how old these are now!
FilmDistrict Signing, where people from Drive and Don't Be Afraid of the Dark were there. That's Ron Perlman, Carey Mulligan (girlcrush<3) and Nicolas Winding Refn (director) there. Hilarious to talk to. Ron was gruff and awesome, Carey was quiet and sweet and a bit tired, and Nicolas was druuuuuuunk.  At the other end of the table was Guy Pearce who was scruffy and charming and held up the line chatting with me.
Zach Levi (from Chuck). This was the last day of Comic-con and we were at Nerd HQ with him.

Yeah I look horrible (I was sick and tired and it was raining and I'd just spent a good 80 hours at Comic-con stuff), but the story behind this is that right as it was my turn to go up and have my 20 second chat and photo with him (I was going to tell him how much my mom loves him!), some bitch girl screams from the street how much she loves him and he changed her life and gave her the strength to really follow her dreams. UH--EXCUSE ME GIRL, YOU'RE INTERRUPTING MY ZACH TIME. I'm totally giving her the stink eye here. (But he did have his arm around my back sothere'salwaysthat)


It is a Friday now. (This post is largely complaining about work, but also about Jeopardy. I think that redeems it.)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Normally I would have a Fill-in-the-Blank Friday up, but the lovely hostess Lauren had her baby earlier this week and is otherwise preoccupied, of course!  Head over to her blog to wish her and her beautiful family a congratulations!

First, a small housekeeping issue: does anyone know how to troubleshoot threaded comments? Apparently Blogger enabled replies to comments, but mine don't seem to be showing up! I've read all the articles and all my settings are correct (comments embedded and Site Feed is Full), but there's still nothing!  A reply option would be a world of help here and over at my Book Blog, so any help is MUCH appreciated!

Anyone have grand plans for the weekend? As far as I can tell, it's to be a dreary next few days for everyone. San Diego is scheduled to get a spot of rain on Saturday so lots of plans will probably get canceled.

My big bad super exciting plans  This project I'm doing for my job is turning into a massive headache, and I'm determined to just work my ass off and get it all done and out of the way. I'm telling you, glad my company is so damn successful and all, but not so glad when I have to click on the individual file names for 10,000+ accounts - TWICE.

This is probably the reason I've been going batty the past week or two.  It's like Chinese Water Torture, except I'm inflicting it all myself.

Highlights of the week:

  • Broke a nail while setting up a computer at work. Thankfully it didn't break all the way down into the bed itself, but I now have one super short nail.  I was upset not because of the broken nail, but because I'd JUST re-painted them the night before - if I'd waited one more day, I wouldn't have had to go through the hassle of taking off the polish to inspect damage, clipping, then repainting to match.  Ridiculous.

  • But Toy Story-themed band-aids do help.
  • Am currently on track for my reading goal (100 books in a year).  As of right now I sit at 7, although that's not including 2 re-read books. Still unsure if those will count towards the total or not.
  • Who's everyone rooting for this weekend? I'm fairly indifferent at the moment since the Broncos thankfully lost last week, but I will say that I'm rooting for the Patriots to LOSE.  They don't need another ring, thankyouverymuch. I guess I'm hoping for the Niners to take it all the way, but...meh. If it's not my Chargers, I hardly care.
  • What's everyone reading these days? I've currently got Matched - Ally Condie, Close To Famous - Joan Bauer, and One Day - David Nicholls on deck.  (Yes, I read multiple books at once. No, I do not get confused.)

  • I took the Jeopardy qualifying test last night, mostly for shits and giggles. I have no expectation of ever making it, but I thought it would be fun to see what it's like. I did a quick Twitter search an hour prior to the test and had a small panic attack to see people studying for it. SERIOUSLY?! I literally forgot I'd registered until I got the alert on my phone (thank you Past Ashley for having the forethought of setting an alarm!) 2 hours before.
  • I also did a Twitter search a few minutes after the test ended, and apparently the questions were hard. I didn't think they were that difficult! I'm not at all saying I got them all right (I left 3 blank, guessed on a good 15, know for a fact I input the incorrect answers on 10 questions, and only knew 5 for certain. Like I said, I have no illusions of my failure.) (That said, one of those I'm certain about was a question as to what the stage name of Stefani Germanotta was - YOU KNOW IT.) but none of the questions were impossible.
  • HOWEVER: after I saw this on Question 10, I kind of got snide. How am I supposed to take you seriously when you do this, Jeopardy test?! (Cropped since I have no idea what I am and am not allowed to share with the world. Who knew Jeopardy could be a legal nightmare?)

  • Might take in a movie this weekend, though friend wants to see Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and I'm not ready to bawl my eyes out.
  • My house finally took down our Christmas decorations. I know, it's almost fair to say we're 2/3rds of the way through the month - but we just had other things to do. And now that they're all down, the house feels sort of...empty.
  • I have a German Chocolate cupcake from Sprinkles in my kitchen calling my name. I do believe I will go answer.

Happy weekend, all!


Throwback Thursday

Going to be a long day, but I woke up with this in my head. I don't know why, but I know I like it!


It is Wednesday. Have some music.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I am exhausted.

Still temping/working at my old company, the work is tedious but doable.  A little better since I get to focus on one project and not deal with the rest of the office matters. Plus, I was able to hire one of my best friends to be a temp with me for the project, which makes it much easier to have a friend there.

I was asked to stay longer and finish out the entire project as opposed to the part I'm doing. I haven't quite made a decision, but I was given allowance to work from home - in fact, the boss insisted I do so, that I was just wasting my gas, time, and sleep going so far into the office.  How could I turn that down? I can work on my own time at my own speed with a deadline and keep up with blogging and reading and life.


That said, exhausted. It's been a long few days, even though I didn't do too much. Did everyone have a good, long weekend? I worked, I did some designing (the new layouts will probably be up later this month, hooray!), I sat at home and read.  All in all, fantastic.

But I also got 3 hours of sleep last night, was a rough day. And then my Starbucks barista messed up my order, and it just got all wacky from there.

This post is kind of nonsensical, and I'm going to finish painting my nails an obnoxiously bright blue (I don't know why) and hit the sack.  Despite the work-at-home offer, I'm going into the office full time this week to keep my best friend company and make sure she settles in (the portion of the project she's taking on requires her to be in-office), so one more week of sleepiness and I'm free!

There's really no way to end this post.  I am sleepy.

Let's finish with a song, shall we?

I haven't quite figured out how I feel about Lana Del Rey. She's too awkward to watch perform, and even though I don't think I like this song, I listen to it any time it's on the radio. In full. And think about it, and hum it, and I've started to sing along. So maybe I do like it?  In any case, I've concluded Lana Del Rey is an artist that I can only listen to when I'm in the right mood: depressed. Sad. Tragic. Tortured. Kind of like how I feel about Damien Rice (Cannonball? Rips my heart out).


If I was in Miss America...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

First, I can't stand beauty pageants. I find them archaic and a big fat joke, really. There are better, more productive ways to earn a scholarship if that's what you're really after - let's face it, the entire thing is a ginormous fashion show with horrible models, brown nosing, and little fashion anyway.  Sure, maybe the girls all really do great philanthropic activities and aspire to change the world - that's great! Go right ahead! But everything in the pageant is so fabricated and vapid that it completely negates any sort of validity it could offer.

And yet. Saturday night, I found the Miss American pageant on my TV. And though I was building a drawer to hold all my nail polish at the same time (yeah, it's gotten to the point my polish collection needs its own furniture. I don't want to talk about it), I was actually watching the pageant.

Hated it.  Miss Wisconsin? REALLY?! I mean, she was fine, one of the lesser evils. But I totally thought it was going to be Miss Oklahoma.

Anyway.  So even though I can't stand the pageant, I watched it anyway. And while cringing through that one girl's rendition of You Raise Me Up (Josh Groban, I really hope you weren't watching that), I started to wonder what I would do, say and wear if the universe ever inverted and I find myself in it.

Pageant Ashley

Entry outfit as Miss California
"From the land where gold was first discovered, our weather, Hollywood and beautiful resources keep the shine going.
 I am your Miss California."


I have no idea what I'd do since everything I do isn't quite show-y (reading, typing, reporting, etc.) so I'd flub it a bit and probably do spoken word or a reading of a poem. Best I can do.
(And this way I can wear a stunning dress!)

Evening Gown

Interview Question Outfit
(ok probably not quite as sheer, but you know.)

And if I could get away with it, I'd shove this in there somewhere, too. 
Probably what I'd wear when I'm crowned Miss America!
(Hey, if the world is insane enough where I'm in a pageant, I might as well take it full circle and win it!)


Fill in the Blank Friday!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Happy Friday, all! It's been an exhausting week back at work - I'm lucky that the work is really easy, but it's tedious, I never get enough sleep (I'm averaging 4 hours a night - averaging!), and I've discovered that I have not updated the music on my iPod in years. Which means it is mostly Josh Groban and Michael Buble; both I love, but their music often lulls me to sleep.  Not a good combination when you're tired and bored!

Any fun weekend plans? I intend to chill out and read the entire weekend :) It's been weird back at my old office, and while physically exhausting, the week's also been an unexpected emotional toll, too. The only way I destress is getting lost in a literary world, and I have every intention to do so!

Though since it is a 3-day weekend, perhaps I'll venture out into the world and have dinner with friends or play tennis or something. Who knows!

Link up here and join the fun!

1. The last thing I ate was a caprese pizza with five different wines!  A wonderful wine tasting night at The Wine Encounter with my girls .

2. The last song I listened to was Lana Del Rey's Video Games.  But Gotye and Kimbra's Somebody That I Used To Know is playing right now!

3. Using the letters in my name I can spell {Ashley }...yes, ash, say, hay, hey, lea, lash.  I've got to be missing more, right?!

4. If I had to dress in one color for the rest of my life I would pick black. Boring, I know - but you always look good in black! .

5. If you were to look in my bag right now you'd find my wallet, keys, iPod touch, earphones, A Million Suns book, a hand mirror, Strawberry Lip Balm, Rose Salve, Nivea lip balm (if not obvious, my lips have been super dry lately), cell phone, a Luna bar, lotion, hand cream (hands have also been dry...stupid weather), a packet of Skittles, 4 pens, 3 pencils, a mini notebook, my camera, eyeliner, Sephora gift card.  Yes, I am one of those obnoxious people with a massive purse .

6. When I finish filling in the blanks I'm taking a quick shower then heading straight to bed! .

7. My all time favorite song to dance to is Ciara's 1, 2 Step, Usher's Yeah, or Jessie J's Domino.  I'm sure I'll think of others as soon as I hit Publish on this post though!.


light posting this week

Monday, January 9, 2012

In a complete surprise, I have a temp job.

At my old company.

That I left.

Because it made me miserable.

I know, I know.

I was the last one to think I would be back at that office, but I got the call (yesterday) that they were looking for a temporary hire to finish out a project in the next two weeks. And because the pay would be enough to reimburse me all the Christmas money I spent plus more, and the work was easy (if not tedious), and because apparently I can be bought - I said I would do it.

Rationally, I knew I was probably the best hope to do it. I know the company and the business (it's a small niche business, one of those companies that probably affects your life but you have no idea it even exists), I know the software and the project.  Any other hire would have to go through some training and have tons of questions.

I've also got a car tune-up coming up, so...there's that.

I have crazy mixed feelings about being back there, but I figured I would feel shitty if I turned it down and shitty if I took the offer. So, I may as well feel shitty with an extra grand in my pocket, right?

I'm trying to convince myself, if that's not obvious.

I'm half way through the first day right now and it's not terrible. The work is mind-numbingly mundane, but it's necessary and I can do it. However, between that and the book schedule I've been keeping to (whoever let me think reserving 8234978234 books at the library at the same time was a good idea, thanks a lot) I'm going to be kept pretty busy.  Hopefully I'll be around to do some posting and blog reading the next two weeks, but as a note, it'll be light over here.

You can always read my Book Blog if you would like :)

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend!


I have this scarf

Friday, January 6, 2012

Which doesn't mean too much, if you know me. I have many scarves. Dozens, with no exaggeration.  They are the one fashion item that I can't seem to let go.  I have them in varying lengths, all shades of colour (except yellow. My brown/yellow/pink Filipino skin never could hold up to that colour), differing patterns; infinity scarves and regular scarves; knit and wool and silk; warm and positively deathly hot and fashionable.

But there's this one scarf I have.

It's a knit infinity scarf, completely black, that loops snugly around my neck. It's kind of perfect, in a weird way - dark colours, fashionable enough to wear in all seasons, looped high enough on my neck to be warm in winter and low enough to allow a breeze on cool beach days.  It's a scarf I would never pick up because it's so similar to all the others I own, it'd be one where I can convince myself "No, I don't need this when I have X scarf," but I'll glance back at it as I walk away.

That's if I ever bothered to pick it up, anyway. It's unassuming and a bit plain and thousands of other scarves would probably be considered and shuffled before it was even noticed sitting folded in the rack or hanging from the hooks.

You gave me this scarf.  This absolutely nondescript, barely-noticeble scarf.  I lost it, for a few months. I couldn't find it, and I had no idea how long it had been missing before I realized it, because it's just that small of a thing to me. My mom found it eventually, it'd been hung up on my brother's coat rack, and even though it was sitting, plain as day in front of all of us, no one ever saw it for months.

It was a Christmas present, one I didn't even realize you were going to give me. I walked in the door one day, and it was sitting at my station, hidden in a bright box. I remember being surprised, and flattered, and a bit scared, to be honest. I didn't realize that we'd progressed that far.

You gave me this scarf, and I watched your face as I pried the top off this box and how it was so eager and you were so happy with your choice. You said you saw it and immediately knew it was for me, that you knew it was going to be given to me, no matter the price or consequence.  I remember your smile in return to my smile, when I said it was oddly perfect, that you were so pleased and puffed up on some weird post-gift-giving high the entire rest of the day.  I remember vaguely a few days later you were still proud of getting a gift so good for me.

I remember your face, too, when I wore it a few months later. You recognized it, and it was like this light went on behind your eyes that it was still in my life, that it was something I actually...chose.  I remember the satisfaction in your eyes, and I remember being terrified at what it all meant. You reached over to touch it lightly with your fingertips, and it felt like you were touching something much deeper.

You gave me that scarf.

I wore it today.

And today, you are no longer in my life.

It's a weird thing, to see the scarf. Even now, around my neck, it kind of hurts to see that this tiny item that I'd pass up is one of the few things remaining of you to me. It still kind of smells like you, which is probably more in my head, but does that even matter now?  It's you, and it's around me, and I know that you will not be.

Choosing to wear it this morning was a lot more personal and difficult than I thought it would be. Honestly, I haven't thought about it in awhile. It's just because I'm wearing an odd print today and it's kind of cold this evening and needed something that would be functional but not ruin everything, too. And when this came in my head, it was like a movie: I took two steps towards my room and paused, bit my lip as I thought about wearing it.

It shouldn't be this difficult.

But it is, and I understand why.

I have this scarf, and it's a little bit me of me with a little bit of you.

And it breaks my heart just a little bit to see it, because it's the only thing I have left aside from some smiling memories and hidden pictures in my hard drive that really shows us together.  It breaks my heart just a little.

But still, I wear it.


It's Friday Blanking time!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy Friday, all! Any exciting plans for the weekend? As far as I know, there's nothing in my book: which means all bets are off! So far the possibility of a small hike to a hidden waterfall smack in the middle of San Diego, taking down all the Christmas decorations, taking in a movie, and a Board Game night with friends have all come up - who knows what will actually happen. Isn't that a wonderful feeling?  Now if only my lingering sickness would go away entirely...

I leave you with a fabulous quote from the illustrious John Green's Paper Towns to inspire your weekend:

"If you don't imagine, nothing ever happens at all."

Link up here!

1.   One of my favorite things to do when I have free time is   read. Usually I go to a coffee shop with my computer, a notebook and a book, and see what happens. Watching others is pretty fun, too (in a non-creepy way, of course!)   .

2.   When I have free time I tend to   be lazy. I'll think of all the places I want to go, but then...get lost on the internet haha     .

3.  If I had an entire day completely to myself I would   go for a small jog in the morning, have a nice breakfast (fruits!), walk around a mall or in Pacific Beach, if the weather is right maybe read on the beach, grab a burrito somewhere, then lazy around at a Coffee Shop or Barnes & Noble with my computer, notebook, and a good book.  Head home, maybe play some tennis, have a peaceful dinner (pasta + wine), maybe watch a lovely movie or TV show, finish up with some hot chocolate and a book in bed   .

4.  I would prefer to spend my free time (alone or with others...)    proooobably alone. Does that make a horrible introvert? It would depend on my mood, sometimes all I want is to grab some girlfriends, a cup of coffee, and laugh at a table in the sunshine. But most times, I'm best at a bench in a park with a book and iced latte by my side   .

5.  Most of my free time happens    since I'm unemployed, mostly during the day - my family is home from their jobs in the morning and night, so the times to myself usually fall between 11:30am and 6pm .

6.  The best thing about free time is    the blissful irresponsibility and potential of it all .

7.  The next time I have free time I should probably   get my resume together and apply to jobs, fix up the layouts on my blogs, and clean up my room  but instead, I'll probably    lazy on the couch and read  .


New Year Nails

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Because my phone was being difficult and wouldn't send the photos, I wasn't able to put up a photo of my nails in that Last 2011 Post I did.  But fear not, because I shall now!

I ended December with these:

OPI - Lucerne-tainly Look Marvelous
Seche Vite Quick Dry Top Coat

But when it was New Year's, I was like "Ashley, come on - it's New Year's Eve! How can you not have glitter on your nails?!" Which is a perfectly reasonable question.  So, I added China Glaze - Cleopatra (a lovely gold glitter with some blue glitter) over, and I quite like it!  It reminds me of concrete for some odd reason (if it was super diva-d out, of course), which I'm good with. The shimmer of the grey base went well with all the glitters!

Direct sunlight
Obviously my nails are already growing out, and there's slight tip wear and a bit of chipping, so I'm thinking tomorrow it'll change.


12 Changes in 2012

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

When Katherine and Stephany put out the idea of making 12 Changes in 2012 into the twitterverse, I was immediately drawn to the idea. Resolutions and absolutes are always a bit hit-or-miss with me because I hate feeling like I'm a strict schedule, nor do I really think taking on all these self-improvement ideas all at once so quickly really works. I've struggled with it, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

So when one of their conversations turned into the idea of 12 Changes in 2012 - making 1 change per month to gradually integrate it into life - I knew it was something I had to do.  Slow works for me, as does repetition and allowing some mistakes and/or slip-ups as we try to better ourselves.

Because I've been sick the first few days of the year, the months I was assigning my changes to kind of became part of an elimination process; a few I couldn't do since the sickness got the best of me (and still is, really), others I already knew there was no hope to complete in January anyway.  However, I'm happy to see that I'm actually keeping to a few of them already, so there's hope in my future yet!

So, such follows my 12 Changes I plan to make in 2012.

>January: Eat fruit 1-2 times per week. This kind of happened since I was downing oranges in the hopes of fending off being sick (I don't like orange juice but love oranges...go figure), and so far I've managed to eat apples, pineapple and oranges - and it's only the 3rd! I forget how much I love fruit, and I have no idea why I backed off eating it in the first place. Delicious, and kind of an easy one to integrate. Start off the year slowly, but surely.

>February: Exercise 1-2 times per week. I wanted this to be January's, but being sick has already made me bed- and couch-ridden for 3 of the first 4 days of January. So, February it is! I used to run 3 miles every other day, and play tennis two or three times a week - ideally I'd like to get back to that by the end of the month, but we'll stick with the realistic plan of just exercising at all weekly.

>March: Skip Soda 4 meals a week. My dad is addicted to Coke, so it's consistently in my house - and I consistently drink it. I've figured out that it's not that I want Coke, but I like to have something other than water, so I've been attempting to get cranberry juice, apple juice, and iced tea worked in. It might not be that much healthier than Coke, has to be a little bit, right? The goal is to have soda cut out of my diet by 2013, but we'll just try cutting it down for a month and see how that goes first.

>April: Drink More Water. To go along with the cutting soda, I know I definitely don't get the recommended daily intake of water. Hopefully I'll substitute all those meals accompanied by water, as well as have it constantly throughout my day. In college I used to bring a water bottle with me everywhere, so I'm thinking I'll get back to that.

>May: Comment on >5 blogs each week. I am a terrible, terrible blog friend in that I rarely comment on blogs. I know it's horrible, and of course I always appreciate people's posts - but for some reason, I completely fail on the interaction part. My excuse is that since it's all in a Reader, I'm just a lazy fuck who can't click over to the post - which is a terribly poor excuse!  I love my blog friends, and I hope to be able to properly start expressing so this month. Hopefully it will be well over 5 blogs (I follow 200+!), but I'll set a bar low with 5.

>June: Clean/maintain my hard drive once a week. I am constantly downloading things: pictures for blogs, personal photos, music, ebooks (I can't believe I admitted that...), movies, craft templates, pretty much everything. They all automatically go to one folder, which of course means that folder is an absolutely mess. I also don't rename files often, so I'll have images that are like "982349_132_r" and I have no clue what it is.  Hopefully if I can set aside time weekly to get it all taken care of, it'll maintain itself nicely and I won't have to search 4 folders and 978234 files for that picture of a bunny.

>July: Blog 3-4 times a week. Normally I would put this a bit higher, but I just launched a book blog so I know it's going to take a few months to figure out how to handle having 2 and getting everything sorted. Looking back at the end of 2011, I was really disappointed that I hadn't blogged consistently during many of the months - I like having records of my days and getting to revisit fun memories or realize that I've gone through situations before and will make it through. Hopefully consistence will turn into habit and i won't have that same disappointment at the end of the year.

>August: Walk to the library twice a month. I am quite fortunate to live within a mile of a library. However, revisiting that lazy fuck thing, I never, ever walk to it! I always drive. Mostly it's because I usually lump library visits with errands so I'll just drop by at the end, but I've realized I am wasting a great exercise opportunity here. I go to the library at least once a week (usually twice, and on occasion it has been week it was four, but we're not talking about that) and need to take advantage of this. And maybe if I'm feeling braver, I have another library 3.5 miles away, and another 4 miles away, and yet another one about 8 miles away...future goals, maybe?

>September: All Electronics (laptop/ipad/tv) of by midnight. I know we're all guilty of this: constant connection. The last thing I do is check my email, turn off my computer, and hop into bed. The first thing I do is roll over, grab my phone, and check if I've gotten any emails or texts.  And that's terrible.  I've read that it takes our body at least an hour to really shut down after we've turned off all exterior electronic stimulation (which could be the cause of a lot of tossing and turning before bed).  There is nothing that important on my computer that I need to have it attached to me at all hours of the day, and in September, I intend to embrace that idea and have them all off by midnight.

>October: Wake up by 9am three times a week. Tying into the electronics off by midnight, I'm hoping that means I'll also go to bed sooner - which means I'll wake up earlier, too. This may be forced to change when I eventually find a job, but for now, my hours of living are about 11am-4am.  And that's so unhealthy it makes me cringe just thinking about it. Especially in the winter months because I lose almost all daylight! Morning is productivity, and in October, I will make it happen.

>November: Finish a novel. Ok, this is kiiiiiind of cheating since November is NaNoWriMo, but I can do that, right? My changes, my rules :).  I consistently do NaNo, but I've yet to finish any of my stories!  This year, I will.  I WILL.

>December: Keep car tidy. Hopefully I'll keep this throughout the year, but December always turns into a ridiculous month with the holidays and rushing everywhere. Gifts, gift wrap, bags, food from on the go, leftover cookie platters and cupcake bins are always going in and out of my car, and things get left behind. I keep my car pretty clean anyway, but there's always a bottle or something rolling somewhere. December will hopefully close the year with a tidy vehicle.

And there we have it!  Everything seems simple enough where I can slowly get it into my daily habits, and hopefully end 2012 an improved version of myself.

If you'd like to join, the more the merrier!
Get in touch with Katherine or Stephany and get added to the e-mail list :)
12 Changes Twitter: @TwelveChanges


Happy 2012 and a Ten on Tuesday!

Happy 2012, everyone!  I've unfortunately been under the weather for a week and it's really beatin' me - it's just so darn annoying! Aside from that, the new year's started pretty well. Seen a few of my friends, read a few good books, and generally had a relaxing time. Tomorrow I am determined to start all the goals and plans I've got for this year, including but not limited to: revamp resume, get portfolio website up and running, find a job, redo the blog layout for this site, get my Book Blog layout up, read more, and clean my closet. And that's just January!

I hope everyone's had a great beginning of the year!

Link up here to join!

1. What did you get for Christmas?
I got a lot of lovely things! Books, puzzles, gift cards, tons of DVDs I wanted...and most importantly, my family and I had one of those five-minute laugh sessions where none of us could speak or talk and just cried of laughter.

2. Have you taken down your Christmas decorations?
We have not!  We meant to yesterday, but...well. Didn't happen. Soon!

3. What did you do for New Years Eve?
I was sick, but I dragged my lazy butt out and went to a friend's house with about 10 others. We watched the ball drop and played some board games and video games. It was low key and absolutely perfect.

4. Do you like accents?
LOVE. British accents feel like home to me, and I can't resist Irish, Italian, Australian and French. I guess I'm pretty typical in that way.

5. What kind of television do you have?
Apparently ours is small and out of date, but I'm fine with it! It's not HD, or flat screen, or really big at all. The only annoyance is that it's not widescreen so a lot of programmes get cut off on the sides, but it's nothing I can't live with.

6. Did you make any changes at the beginning of 2012?
I launched my book blog, but since I'm still sick I've been putting off any of the changes/resolutions I really have. Stupid germs are kickin' my ass for now.

7. What’s the last book you read and do you recommend it?
I finished The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson, and I definitely recommend it! She's a great YA author, and I was quite happy with how it turned out. (You can read my review here!)

8. Do you stay current on celebrity gossip?
It's kind of a side effect of having a Twitter. I'm just so plugged in in general that it's hard to avoid any of it. I definitely have my bouts of "need-to-know" moments where I crave any gossip about hollywood, but it's few and far between.  Big stories I know. Little ones, might take me a few days to hear.

9. Do you know the words to Bohemian Rhapsody? Gangstas Paradise? Fresh Prince of Bel-Air?
All of them!  I stumble a bit on Gangsta's Paradise, but it's because I start singing Amish Paradise - no lie. I heard that song before I heard Coolio's original, so things get jumbled haha. 

10. What is your favorite education television show?
WordGirl on PBS. I adore it.  And Jeopardy, of course!


About Me

My photo
I'm fairly obsessed with penguins, Peanuts (the comic), and the TV show Friends. Parentheses may or may not be (over)used in this blog, and books will pretty much be the only thing I ever talk about because they are my One True Love.


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i'm probably reading

Zoe's bookshelf: read

The Dragon's EyeAngelsThe Lightning ThiefThe Man of My DreamsCity of GlassCity of Ashes

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