On the Road

This is going to be an interesting post, for me at least, because it’s the first one I’ve ever written on the WordPress app on my iPhone. I apologize in advance for the lack of pictures and any auto-correct typos which may occur!

I’m writing from my iPhone because we’re on the road. We’re just two of the 98.6 million Americans that are projected to be traveling more than 50 miles this holiday season (per AAA, according to the USA Today article I read). This will be my first time spending Christmas in Canada since 2011. I’m looking insanely forward to it, but before the festivities can begin we actually need to get to Canada – and that’s easier said than done. Continue reading

Deck the Halls with Drywall

On Saturday we headed out to the house during daylight hours to check out the progress and take pictures. We knew that drywall had started to go up last week. Of course we’ve had walls for a while, but having drywall on the walls and not being able to see through the walls anymore made a HUGE difference. It really gives you a much better feel for the space. Our basement and main floor are really open, but the upstairs has more rooms, so that’s where I saw the biggest difference. 

I’ll stop yattering on and on and get to what you really want to see….the pictures! You’ll see some propane heaters in a few of the pictures. Don’t worry, no one is squatting in our unfinished house. Ideally drywall is supposed to be installed when temperature are above 50F (something I didn’t know….) but the outdoor temperatures have been closer to freezing lately and our furnace isn’t on yet, so they continually have the propane heaters running. A few of them got the entire house well over 50F!

The Basement

Basement Drywall

Basement Drywall

The above two pictures are of the same space – the open “man cave” space in our basement. The first picture is taken from the wall where our wet bar will be looking towards the TV screen wall. The second picture is taken from that TV screen wall looking towards the wet bar wall. The half-wall in the middle of the room will get a counter top on it.  Continue reading

Holiday Shop & Sip

Shop & Sip

On Thursday evening I had the pleasure of taking part in a Holiday Shop & Sip event. As you all know, I became a Norwex Independent Sales Consultant a few months ago. My friend Kim is a Beachbody coach, and her friend / neighbor April sells Rodan + Fields. April had the brilliant idea of putting together a holiday shopping party in her home with a bunch of different direct sales companies! In addition to the three of us, we also had Jamberry, doTERRA, chloe + isabel, and D’Von Chic Boutique. Let me start off by saying that this was a BRILLIANT idea. I had actually been envisioning an event like this, but until we get into our house I knew I couldn’t host anything myself. Apparently April not only read my mind, but she has some awesome connections to other direct sale company vendors! 

I know the purpose of this event was to shop for holiday gifts….but I’ve bought most of our holiday gifts already, and I don’t know other people’s style preferences, sooooo I just ended up buying stuff for myself. Whoops. At least my Norwex sales helped me pay for my purchases, so Dave can’t get too upset with me! 

chloe + isabel pearl + drops long necklaceBefore this event I was not familiar with chloe + isabel, but their jewelry is super duper cute. I love accessories, especially necklaces and earrings, but I rarely buy them for myself. Last time I bought myself accessories was in the spring. That means I was due for a bit of a splurge. When it comes to accessories, I like versatility. I either want it to be in neutral colors so I can wear it with anything, or to be composed of lots of different colors so I can wear it with a variety of different outfits. Last night I decided to go with the crystal + pearl drops long necklace. The consultant, Gabby, showed me how I could wear it long or short. I hate when you want to wear a certain necklace but it doesn’t work with your outfit’s neckline. Having the ability to change the length of a necklace is always a great feature. Now I have a small wish-list of chloe + isabel stuff, including these earrings:

I love love love these chloe + isabel large pom-pom earrings.
I love love love these chloe + isabel large pom-pom earrings.

I also splurged on some Jamberry nails for myself. I have been considering getting some Jamberry for a while. You all know that I love essie nail polish, but sometimes the traditional nail polish isn’t very convenient. First of all, Jamberry has some cute patterns, and creating something similar with traditional nail polish is pretty difficult.  But, the biggest draw for me is the inconvenience of using nail polish when I’m out of town. When I travel I always take a bottle of whatever nail polish color I’m wearing with me to touch up any chips. Really, I would rather not have to worry about chipping and touching-up while I’m on the road. I think Jamberry can fix this problem for me. I bought 4 sheets of nail wraps, primarily of holiday-themed patterns. I’m planning on applying some this week and taking some with me when we hit the road for the holidays, just in case. A sheet of nails is much less stressful to transport than a bottle of nail polish!

Jamberry Wraps

I was really excited to get some samples of doTERRA essential oils to try out. I have been contemplating buying some essential oils since I got my Norwex wool dryer balls. I adore my dryer balls – they tumble my laundry in the dryer to get things dry faster and they reduce static cling without coating our clothes in all the chemicals you find in dryer sheets. Switching over to the Norwex Ultra Power Plus laundry detergent and the Norwex wool dryer balls has been wonderful for my allergies. Dave used to use dryer sheets before I moved in with him, and I felt bad taking the scent the dryer sheets give the laundry away from him. I’ve heard of people putting essential oils in their wool dryer balls to add back a nice, but natural, scent to the laundry. Now I’ve got some essential oils and I’m looking forward to see how it works!

Of course I was also selling Norwex products at the Holiday Shop & Sip, and I came up with a list of the best Norwex gift ideas for various people and situations! I’ll be posting those later this week. I’m also excited to be learning about the new Norwex products that will be launching in 2015. The products will be announced to the consultants tomorrow, and hopefully I’ll be able to share some details soon!

Until later, Ashlen

A Katie-Dog Update

Katie Post-Surgery

Today has been all about Katie-dog. 

Last week, I noticed that Katie had a bit of a skin infection. Katie suffers from atopic dermatitis, which is a fancy way of saying she has allergies and her skin gets itchy all the time. We do our best to manage it with medications, but sometimes she scratches and licks and then gets a secondary bacterial infection. These infections have a tendency to go from minor to out-of-control in a day or two, and that makes her even itchier and super miserable. I didn’t want to get caught out of town for Thanksgiving without having it looked at by the vet, and sure enough they put her on a two week regimen of antibiotics. We have a fantastic vet* who is always really thorough, so she noticed that Katie had a loose tooth. Katie’s had dental problems since I adopted her – the Humane Society had to remove several teeth when she came to them, and she had a couple more removed by my family’s vet up in Canada as well. I knew she was due for a cleaning, and I knew all her teeth weren’t in great shape, so this wasn’t a huge surprise. That said, Katie just had her annual check-up not that long ago, and the tooth problem wasn’t noticed then, so I’m thinking we caught it pretty early! Our vet recommended we get her in for dental work ASAP. Recently Katie had a small benign mass on the back of her neck that had been bleeding a little bit, and she has several of them all over her body, including one that she always gnaws at on her front leg. We decided that if Katie was going under anesthesia anyway for the dental work, then we might as well remove the most problematic of the masses at the same time. The vet schedules all her surgeries and procedures on Fridays….so here we are today. Continue reading

Favorite Christmas Photos

For today’s Blogmas post I’m sharing some of my favorite Christmas photos from the past. I really don’t have a lot of Christmas pictures on my computer, especially from my childhood. All the oldies but goodies are with my parents. I asked my mom to pick out some of her favorites to scan and send to me…and she picked out some gems! So thanks Mom for your contribution to today’s post!

Pictures with Santa

Every year my parents took me downtown to Eaton’s, which used to be a huge department store in Canada. They had these amazing displays featuring various nursery rhymes and fairy tales that you got to walk through and see while you waited in line to see Santa. I loved seeing those….getting my picture taken, not so much.

My mom’s favorite picture of me with Santa is from 1988. I’m 18 months old, and obviously I’m not too thrilled about being shoved on the lap of a strange old man. This picture takes “candid” to a whole new level. 

1988 Ashlen Christie with Santa, Eatons Winnipeg

Don’t worry, my mom got some good pictures with Santa in future years! Continue reading

Dear Santa

I was a horrible blogger throughout the month of November. Maybe it was because our life was chaotic, maybe I was burnt out from #Blogtober14, maybe it’s because my creative juices just weren’t flowing. Whatever it was, I’m hoping to get back on the blogging train in December, even though we’re going to be just as busy and life is more chaotic than ever. I’m definitely going to be linking up with Ashley from The Grits Blog and Taylor from Tay Meets World a few times this month for Blogmas14.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Today’s prompt is a letter to Santa…. Continue reading

Hello, Winter!

Winter officially hit us in central Indiana last weekend. The temperatures dropped, and we got a full covering of snow…which is definitely not normal for this time of the year around here. That said, my cousin was born in an early-November blizzard in Canada, so I don’t find it particularly crazy. My favorite season in Indiana is autumn, so I feel like Mother Nature is playing a mean trick on me by skipping over the end of fall and heading straight into winter. That said, the best part of winter is the snow, so I won’t complain about the cold temperatures if there’s white stuff on the ground! 

I took this picture last weekend, when the snow was just starting to stick!
I took this picture last weekend, when the snow was just starting to stick!

Unfortunately this week I would have much preferred some slightly warmer weather. We know that insulation was going to be installed in our new house today, so last night Dave dragged me to the house so we could take pictures of all the wiring and pipes in the walls. We want to  have a reference just in case we ever need it. Dave needed an assistant to hold a measuring tape in some of the pictures and write down the location in the house that correlated to each picture number (because pictures of walls start to look the same after a while). Of course, that assistant was me. I had on a wool hat, mitts, and my Ugg boots, but by the end I was frozen solid….especially my toes. I don’t think Dave noticed it as much because he was moving around taking all the pictures, but I was generally idle and had lots of time to think about how miserable I felt. However, Dave made a good point….it’s a job we’re never going to have to do ever again. Thank goodness for that! Continue reading

House Construction Update

It’s been a while since I took a picture of the front of the house, and even longer since I posted pictures of the progress. And let me tell you – there has been progress! 

Front of House

Here’s the overview of what’s been going on:

  • Front doors – we didn’t have doors the last time I took a picture. Now we have front doors, but they still need to be painted and they’re missing locks & handles at the moment. The exterior door to the lanai was installed around the same time as our windows, so that’s not new, but now we also have a garage service door and a door from the garage to the back hall of the house. 
  • Siding – the siding work finished up this week, so now we have siding on all sides of the house! The remaining exposed area (the blue area) is going to be covered in stone. Note: this is not the final color of our siding. It still needs to be painted. 

Continue reading

Interior Paint Colors

I’ve been wanting to pick out our interior paint colors since before we broke ground on the house. Today was finally the day we actually got to sit down and make the final decision. Thankfully it was a pretty painless process, and I’m really excited with our final choices.

Porter Paint Interior Paint Color Palate

We’re using Porter Paints for all of our interior paint colors (if you recall, we used Benjamin Moore for our exterior colors). We had already picked out our trim color, Mother of Pearl, a couple of weeks ago. The trim color is going to be on our baseboards, our coffered ceilings in the great room, the crown molding, and the wainscot in the dining area. Today we picked out the wall colors.  Continue reading

Pumpkin Cookies + Halloween Recap

We had low expectations for Halloween this year. We live in an apartment that never has any trick-or-treaters, and we don’t have any kids ourselves, so there really wasn’t much to enjoy. However, we got an invitation from our friends Adam and Lacey to hang out at their place. Dave has known Adam for a very long time. They went to the same high school, and then lived together for two years at Purdue. I first met Adam and his wife, Lacey, at our wedding just over a year ago. It was the first time that Dave had a chance to reconnect with them in a while because they had been living in Ft. Wayne, which is a couple hours away from where we’ve been living in the Indianapolis suburbs. BUT…Adam switched jobs earlier this year, and that job meant that Adam, Lacey, and their two boys needed to relocate RIGHT NEAR US! I was thrilled when I heard they were thinking about making the move, and even more excited when I heard it was actually happening. They bought a house that is right between where we’re living now and where our house is being built, so even when we move we’ll still be close to them. 

I was really excited for Adam and Lacey to move down to the Indy area because Dave doesn’t really have any of his old friends from home around here. I was also excited because I had really enjoyed talking to Adam and Lacey at our wedding, so I figured we would all get along really well (and I think I was right!). Apparently when Adam and Lacey lived in Ft. Wayne they had a Halloween tradition of having people over for chili. And seriously – what a brilliant idea! Chili can cook unattended in the slow cooker during the trick-or-treating time, and then it’s a nice hearty meal that will warm you up when you’ve back inside from the cold. Speaking of cold, it was a really chilly Halloween this year in Indiana. We actually got SNOW yesterday – which is something I would complete expect in Canada, but it’s definitely not normal for Indiana. 

I don’t like to head over to any get-together empty-handed, so when Lacey invited us to come over I immediately started thinking about what I could bring. As a baker at heart, my mind always goes to desserts, and I knew that I already had all the ingredients for my favorite fall cookie in my pantry. 

I got this pumpkin cookie recipe from the mom of one of my teammates on the Butler golf team. She used to bake these for the team when she came to watch tournaments in the fall. Everyone absolutely loved them, and I’m so glad I have the recipe so I can make them for myself (and Dave, who likes them a lot as well!). 

Pumpkin cookies - a sweet delicious autumn treat // A Diamond with Sapphires Continue reading