Five on Friday


I’m going to start this post of right with sharing my Blogger Love. Get ready, there were several great reads this week!

All the Joys - Blogger Love


Overcoming Our Insecurities by Melissa from the Rambling LLama posted at Life with Mrs G and the Artist – If you read one post this week, this is the post it should be. Melissa is brave in so many ways, but especially for sharing her story of childhood abuse. 

Journal Swap Creative by Sage the Blog & Love the Here and Now – Cassie and Anne came up with the brilliant idea of a journal swap. This is open to anyone on the internet, not just bloggers! I’ve already signed up, and I’m already looking at different journals. The deadline to sign up is March 9th, so head over to either one of their sites to sign up now! I’m excited to find out who I’m paired with and swap a journal with them – it’s just a really fun idea. Plus there are a million cute journals out there. I’m waiting to find out who I’m paired with and learn a bit about them before I make my final choice!

5 Easy and Small Changes to Make Your Blog Better – Seriously, Sarah? – I love posts like these because I inevitably learn something I didn’t know before or figure out a way to improve the layout or look of my blog. Sarah had several great suggestions and I’m updating my blog accordingly!

Thoughts on Being an Only Child – Cupcakes and Cashmere – I’m an only child. Dave’s an only child. My only cousin is an only child. I’ve had many wonderful friends who are only children. I don’t know if I’ve met an only child that hasn’t loved being an only child. Given that Cupcakes and Cashmere has a huge (gigantic) following, it’s nice to know that Emily is touting the awesomeness of being an only child. Only children have gotten such a bad reputation…it’s actually been used as an insult towards me. Like I had any control over the matter. It’s a stereotype I would love to see come crumbling down. 


Next up – a little house update! Progress this week has been slow but steady. 

Our stone has been progressing very nicely. At this point it’s almost done! If you remember way-back to when we picked the stone, we took a bit of a risk. There was a combo of 4 stones that we kind of liked, except for one stone in the mix. That combination was also more expensive than our “included” options. That would result in a pretty significant price increase because, well, we have a lot of stone around the house. I asked about removing the one type of stone that we didn’t like, and it turned out that by doing so the combination would come back down to being in the right price range. The only problem with this brilliant plan? There was no sample of these three choices put together, and no other house in our neighborhood had made this decision. The first time we would see the combination would be when it was going up on our home. You know, when there’s no going back. Turns out the decision we made was a good one. Not only did we not have to pay extra for the stone, but we are in love with it. The color, the texture – it’s nothing short of perfect for us. 

Exterior Stone

Of course, pretty much nothing in this house-building process has gone without at least a little bit of a glitch. So, of course, we’re concerned that we have a small problem with the stone. We were supposed to get an address block. It has our house number and street name on it. It’s supposed to go in with the stone, right by out garage. At least, that’s what I thought was happening. There is no address stone to be seen. We asked (reminded) about it a couple days ago, but no response on it yet. I’m wondering if someone is having an “oh $!#&” moment when they realized that fixing this problem would involve chiseling the mortar to remove some existing stone to put this block into place. #oops. So yeah, I don’t know if we’ll actually be getting this address block.

In other mistakes made this week, we discovered that we had an incorrect thermostat installed. That’s a long, complicated, and boring story that I won’t get into. We also discovered that a separate control for the heat recovery ventilator wasn’t installed, which was the original plan, but then we switched around our plans for the thermostat so now we don’t need a separate control for it…which means $$$ back in our pocket! I’m not complaining about any money we can get back at this point because our landscaping costs are way more than we originally anticipated. We’ve tried to cut down on a lot of stuff, but because our land has a pretty significant slope the landscapers suggested putting in a boulder wall. Can you say “expensive”? We’ve got them to decrease the size of the wall a tad and give us a bit of a discount so that the price is do-able…but still a hit to our pocketbook. It was a couch or a boulder wall and we picked boulder wall. But a boulder wall would be a huge hassle to do in the future, and we can buy a couch anytime.

In other exciting house news, we got door handles! I swear things like this always show up at the most unexpected times. We picked the handle for our front door out ages ago, but that one’s not actually up yet. I think we picked out the interior door handles out at the end of the selections process, but we were so burnt out selecting things by that time and we had a million other things in our head. I’m pretty sure I just pointed to a color and a finish and said “go for it” without a whole lot of thought. I vaguely remember deciding to go with oil rubbed bronze to go with all our light fixtures. So we got a nice surprise when we found these fancy things installed yesterday! They’re just so pretty!

Door Handle


We had WONDERFUL news confirmed this week….my cousin and his girlfriend will be coming to visit us once we’re in the house! At least we hope to be in the house by the time they’re visiting….otherwise we’re in big trouble! I only have one cousin (yes, only ONE – remember, we’re both only children), so this is pretty special. My cousin was down in Indy briefly for our wedding in 2013 but I don’t think his girlfriend has ever been here. I am SO excited. I’ve gone a little crazy starting to plan and think of what we can all do together. They’re only here for a couple of days so I’m not going to try and cram too much at them all at once, but that’s so hard! My goal is to give them such a good taste that they want to come back for more. 


AdprovalIn exciting bloggy news, I signed up for Cassie’s Adproval courses and now I’m in the beta of the new Adproval! So far I like what I’m seeing, but I already started screwing things up on my sidebar, so I might wait until Cassie’s first course this weekend before I mess with it any more. If you were on my sidebar already: sorry! I promise you’ll be back soon with some extra time tacked on the end of your run to account for the days you’re missing now! If you’re not currently on my sidebar but you want to be on my sidebar….great! I’ll have that up and running again soon. 

In case I haven’t mentioned, I LOVE Adproval in part because it’s based in my hometown of Indy. I should get props from them just for being a local user and supporter, right!?

P.S. If you’re not a blogger and you didn’t understand a word of this, don’t worry….just skip ahead to #5!


Gone GirlLet’s talk about Gone Girl. As of this week I have officially read the book and watched the movie. I’m not going to do a full review on the blog. Why? Well, first of all, I’m kind of behind the times…pretty much everyone else in the world has already read it. Second, I already know my opinions are not going to be popular. So I’m going to just do a brief little wrap-up of my thoughts here.

I didn’t really like Gone Girl

There. I said it. Please don’t come after me and flog me. On Goodreads, 18 of my friends have read Gone Girl. Of those, 11 people gave it 5 stars. Another 4 people gave it 4 stars. That leaves only 3 people (plus myself) who gave it 3 stars or less. For the record, I gave it 2 stars. I know I’m in the minority. 

So why didn’t I like Gone Girl? I was expecting it to be page-turner, and for me…it just wasn’t. The only thing that kept me reading through the first half of the book was the fact that so many people thought the book was amazing that I figured it had to get better somewhere. It did get a bit better, but it never turned into that “I can’t put this down!!” kind of novel. I also found it to be just downright bizarre, creepy, and dysfunctional. If that’s your thing, then great. This book is certainly for you. If not….well then I guess you’re like me. 

One final point that is going to make everyone hate me even more….I liked the movie better than the book. It sped through the really boring first half of the book and got right to the good stuff. But, it was still bizarre, creepy, and dysfunctional. 

Let the criticism begin! 

P.S. I’ve gone back to Jojo Moyes for Me Before You. I’ve barely cracked it open and it’s already a bazillion times better than Gone Girl. Just sayin’.

Until later, Ashlen


  • aww thanks SO much for sharing my post from Faith’s blog! You’re so great! 🙂 those others were great too. HOORAY for progress on house stuff. I still love those handles! haha. Ours are all gold, and I hate them. Congrats on adproval! Cassie will definitely be able to help!

    • Melissa, your post on Faith’s blog was probably one of the best posts I’ve ever shared. Seriously – you’re so brave, and your story is one that needs to be shared to bring awareness to the issue of child abuse!

  • Sara C

    I clicked a few of your Blogger Loves to read! Thank you for sharing those. And GIRL.! I did not like Gone Girl at all! Your description of bizarre and dysfunctional is exactly how I felt about it. After reading it I just felt sad for the characters and their situation. And then I wanted the time back I had used to read the book! 🙂 Great progress on your home! Have a happy weekend! {Hi from Oh, Hey Friday link up!}

    • Oh happy day! I’m so glad I’m not the only one in the world not in love with Gone Girl. I agree about wishing I had the time I spent reading it back, but at the same time I’m glad I know what everyone is talking about now (even if I don’t agree with their opinions!).

  • I love that stone work! Gone Girl was definitely creepy in many ways… But I loved the book! I have yet to see the movie, and I’m kind of not wanting to. The book creeped me out in certain places so I’m not sure if I want to actually see it on screen. LOL! Happy Friday!

    • The movie wasn’t uber creepy, especially if you’ve read the book and know what’s coming, so I think you could handle it! I mean, it’s creepy but not creepy in a scary way, creepy in a “this is a super bizarre story” kind of way.

      • ​Haha! I totally get what you mean. I will have to try and watch it, and endure the creepy parts haha!

  • Love that stone work! My home is all stone in those exact shades. Thanks for sharing our post…we are beyond excited for the Journal Swap!

    • Thanks Anne! I bet your house is gorgeous – I’m so obsessed with stone. I mean, does it ever look bad? (I think the answer to that is “no”). And of course I shared the Journal Swap – I am beyond excited to find out who I’m paired with and to pick out a journal for them! I typed that then realized that we both used the words “beyond excited” but I can’t think of a better description for my feelings about the whole thing.