Five on Friday

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Five on Friday post, so let’s get this show on the road!


All the Joys - Blogger Love

Given that it’s been a while since I’ve done a Five on Friday post, it’s also been a while since I participated in Blogger Love! Here are some posts you should check out:

Let’s Talk About Feminism (Amanda Moments) – I really enjoyed reading about Amanda’s perspective of being a feminist….that it’s not about being superior to men, but equal to men. I found myself nodding my head to a lot of Amanda’s thoughts on the subject. 

5 Tips to Take Better Pet Photos (A Beautiful Mess) – Ok, so this post really made me want a pig and a little goat, but it also had some great ideas. I need help photographing my little Katie-dog because she always looks so GRUMPY! It’s the eyebrows, I swear….she is really a happy dog most of the time! 

Overcoming our Insecurities – Learning to Accept Compliments (Ember Grey posting at Life with Mrs. G & the Artist) – I am LOVING the “Overcoming our Insecurities” series that Faith is hosting. She’s featured some of my very favorite bloggers (Emily from Ember Grey included) and every post is so real, authentic, and makes me love the bloggers she features even more for being willing to open up and expose some really raw emotions. Emily’s post was so relatable. When I was working we would have assessments – you had to come up with your strengths and weaknesses. This wasn’t just a “write it down and only you know” kind of thing, it was something that was discussed with your mentors – people I really respected. Even if it was something I could write down and keep to myself, I would have a really hard time coming up with my own strengths. Pointing out my own weaknesses is so easy, but admitting that I’m good at something is almost impossible for me. Learning how to accept a compliment is the same kind of thing – I will rarely take the compliment, and come up with excuses as to why the compliment isn’t true. Isn’t that ridiculous?!?

Preparing for a Marriage (A Prioritized Marriage and Eat, Drink & Be Mary) – This post made me reminisce about our relationship as we were planning our wedding. Truth: it was the second worst / most difficult time in our relationship. The worst? When we spent almost a year living halfway across the country from each other. But wedding planning? It was amazing and it as rough. The amazing part was realizing how involved Dave wanted to be in every aspect of our lives together – even if that can be a tad annoying at times (it went to an extreme when we were building the house – it wasn’t until one of our very last design meetings that he agreed to let me handle picking out cabinet hardware on my own). It was also amazing to realize how much we could agree about easily, and how easy it was to compromise for each other. The ugly? Moving in together. We argued over everything. Thankfully….it gets better.  Continue reading Five on Friday


Awesome Link Up

Today I am excited to be co-hosting the monthly Awesome linkup with Anne from Love the Here and Now! Let’s get down to business with some awesome things I’m loving right now….


Spring is amazing in Indiana. Winter is grey and dreary, summer is way too hot and humid – spring and autumn are the perfect in-between seasons. I was going to go out yesterday to take some pictures of the loveliness (even though most our trees are past blooming and are just leafy now) but then it started raining. It was a full thunderstorm actually….which turned out to be pretty nice because we could sit on our lanai, eat dinner, watch the rain come down, and listen to the thunder without it being insanely humid. Plus….we’re not quite into tornado season yet, which is a huge bonus. 


Since moving into the house, we’ve turned into major barbecue fans. We haven’t been able to barbecue in years, and it’s just so delicious. Pretty much every meal we eat has some barbecue component to it….last night it was including barbecue chicken on our nachos. Dave picked up some fresh pico de gallo, which made the whole dish even more deliciousContinue reading AWESOME

Recap: Our First House Guests

Can you photobomb a selfie? If so, I think I managed to do so in this picture!
Can you photobomb a selfie? If so, I think I managed to do so in this picture!

Early last week I posted about how we were getting ready for our first house guests: my cousin Braden and his girlfriend Sabrina.

Wednesday Evening

Braden and Sabrina rented a car and drove down to Indy after spending several days visiting Chicago. They arrived on Wednesday evening, so I decided to do a relaxing barbecue dinner. I had grabbed some steak filets from Kroger as well as some vegetable kabobs. Braden and Sabrina brought something very important with them from Canada: a bottle of Hy’s seasoning salt. There is no seasoning salt quite like it, and we’ve been out of it for several months now. Since we moved into the house we’ve been barbecuing a fair amount because we haven’t been able to barbecue is so long. Plus, barbecue is easy and tasty. It’s even tastier when you season your meat and veggies with Hy’s. I also made my favorite cheesy mashed baked potatoes and a salad. It was seriously delicious, if I do say so myself. What made it even better was that we set up a table on the lanai and are out there. The weather just keeps getting nicer and nicer so we haven’t taken the table down yet. I have a feeling that we’ll keep using it all season long – or at least until we get a more permanent option! Continue reading Recap: Our First House Guests

Ready for Guests

It’s been THREE WEEKS since we closed on the house – and that seems unbelievable! The house definitely already feels like home (it did from the very first night) but we’ve been busy unpacking and getting ready to show off our new casa.

We’ve already had a few of our close friends over, but this week my cousin and his girlfriend are coming to stay for a few nights! I’m really excited for our first overnight house guests (other than my in-laws when we first moved in). I only have one cousin (yes, only one….I come from a very small family!) so having him come visit is pretty special. The only time he’s been to Indianapolis was for our wedding, and this will be his girlfriend’s first visit here, so I’m really excited to hang out with them and show them around. In anticipation of their visit I’m trying to get us completely unpacked. Trust me when I say that it’s easier said than done! We’ve made some great progress, but there are still boxes and stuff all over our counters that need to be put away. 

It just needs to warm up a bit so we can start USING the lanai!
It just needs to warm up a bit so we can start USING the lanai!

We are so thankful for our friends and new neighbors for their hospitality. Our friends Adam and Lacey are letting us borrow a set of chairs for our lanai, because so far we have nothing but lawn chairs. One of our neighbors welcomed us with a gorgeous orchid, and our friends Leif and Katrin gave us a bottle of wine and a bottle of their home-brewed beer!  Continue reading Ready for Guests

A Discussion About Essential Oils


Essential oils have become a craze. Every time I turn around there’s someone talking or writing something about essential oils. As a pharmacist, it’s a trend that has me a bit concerned. I’m not completely against using essential oils, but I do have a problem with how they’re being marketed and some of the ways which people are using them. 

Unsafe Natural ChemicalsNatural versus Synthetic

There’s definitely been a trend towards using more natural products and fewer synthetic (man-made) products. We’re becoming more aware of how some synthetic products are affecting the environment around us and our health. In many situations, that’s a change I applaud, support, and have been making myself in certain capacities. There is no doubt that there are many dangerous synthetic chemicals that should be avoided. I switched to using standard chemical cleaners to using Norwex because a) using primarily water and microfiber cloths to clean my house is safer than using cleaning chemicals and b) often, I’ve found the Norwex products to be more effective than the chemicals. As a pharmacist, I’ve been trained to think about drugs and chemicals in those two ways: safety and effectiveness. If a chemical is safe for human use, but not effective, there’s not any use in it! If a chemical is effective, but not safe, then you need to weigh the risks and the benefits before use. 

First of all, let’s realize that you cannot eliminate chemicals. Organic chemistry is at the basis of biology. A chemical, by definition, is two or more atoms joined together through a chemical bond. Everything around you can be broken down into various chemical components, which can then be broken down into atoms. Even water is a chemical! 

To be completely honest, just about every chemical can be harmful to some degree, it’s just dependent on the dose or exposure level, and whether it is doing more harm than good. Let’s look at a couple of examples:
-Water: in general, water is very safe for human use and consumption. However, excessive water consumption can lead to a condition called hyponatremia, which can be fatal.
-Chemotherapy: the drugs used in chemotherapy are very toxic and can cause a lot of health problems. However, we use them at specific doses in patients with cancer as a medicine that can help save their lives. The side effects of chemotherapy are all evidence of the toxicity, but overall the result in patients with cancer can be more good than harm. 

Whether a chemical is natural or synthetic is irrelevant with regard to it’s safety to humans (or our pets!). There are plenty of really nasty natural chemicals that we try to avoid all the time!  Continue reading A Discussion About Essential Oils

The New Normal

I’m baaaack! I’ve pretty much been ignoring this little space since we moved. I can’t believe that we closed over a WEEK ago! Since closing on the house we’ve been insanely busy, so I figure it’s time to update y’all with what’s been going on in our lives. 

I finally convinced Dave that we needed to hire movers. It was a really last minute decision, and I started setting it up. We closed late Monday afternoon, and needed to be out of the apartment by Wednesday. That meant we needed the movers for Tuesday. Unfortunately, the agent informed me on Monday night that they wouldn’t be able to move us on Tuesday, but they could do it on Wednesday. After a bit of discussion, we decided to go back to Plan A and move everything ourselves. We needed the stuff out of our apartment by Tuesday so we could clean the place on Wednesday. It rained, and rained a lot here in central Indiana last week. Our primary moving vehicle was going to be my father-in-law’s pickup truck. Thankfully my husband saw the problem of moving all our stuff in an open bed truck during a downpour, and decided to rent a UHaul truck for the day. The good thing about this plan? Much less expensive than hiring movers. The bad thing about this plan? It’s hell on earth. Given that I’m heading into surgery in less than a month and had strict instructions not to carry anything over 10-15 lbs, I was pretty much useless. Plus, our apartment was on the 3rd floor and climbing stairs is a great way to make me hurt. Despite doing a minimal amount of the actual “moving” I was still in a world of pain. My mother-in-law was also around to help, but she also has back problems, so we mainly stuck to boxing and unboxing. That left just my husband and father-in-law to do pretty much ALL of the moving…bless their souls. I watched my father-in-law load my boxed-up mattress and bed-spring into the back of his pickup truck on Monday night without any assistance. He’s a serious work horse! Continue reading The New Normal

Journal Swap Creative

Today I’m linking up with Anne at Love the Here and Now and Cassie at Sage for the Journal Swap Creative!

About a month ago, Anne and Cassie had the brilliant idea of pairing bloggers together and having them swap journals! Bloggers are writers at heart, so what blogger doesn’t love a journal!? Actually, I haven’t been one to journal a lot in the past but I had been thinking of starting before Anne and Cassie announced this linkup idea – so what better time to start than now!?

When I signed up for the journal swap, I had the option to get a domestic partner or an “anywhere” partner – domestic or abroad. Being a Canadian, I know that foreigners need some love too, so I picked the “anywhere” option…and I’m so glad I did! I was paired with Kimberley, who is the voice behind Peculiar Treasures. Kimberley happen to live in….AUSTRALIA! I’ve always wanted to visit Australia, so swapping journals with an Australian sounded really cool to me. The great thing about this linkup is that it allowed us to get to know other each other! I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Kimberley – she has such a wonderful heart. 

Ready to send Kimberley's journal off to Australia!
Ready to send Kimberley’s journal off to Australia!

Continue reading Journal Swap Creative


Today I am linking up with the April Awesome Link-Up with Anne from Love the Here and Now. Unfortunately, I’m in the middle of something not-so-awesome: moving for the third time in three years. While the act of moving is one of the least awesome things on the planet, I’m choosing to look at the few awesome things in the process:

1) Finding packing tape, in bulk, at Costco. Do you know how much packing tape we’ve used? Several rolls. It’s actually scary how much packing tape you need when boxing up your life to move it from point A to point B. 

2) Discovering our wedding gifts all over again. And Christmas presents. So many things had to be stored away until we made this move. It’s like Christmas all over again by opening all our boxes and discovering amazing things. Like all our wine glasses…

3) Speaking of wine glasses…I christened one of them with a glass of moscato this evening….in a bubble bath. It was the perfect remedy for my aching post-move joints.  The bubble bath, I mean. But the moscato helped relax me too. 

4) Katie “christening” the house by taking a piddle in the basement guest room…aka one of the few places in the house with carpet and not hardwood or tile. Oh wait, that actually wasn’t awesome at all. 

5) Eating dinner on our lanai. We might not have had plates, or a table, or really anything other than lawn chairs, but it was still awesome.  

…and now I’m back to moving…

Until later, Ashlen

The Last House Update

I can’t believe that I’m sitting down to write what will be my last house update. It’s certainly time – we put down money on the lot 13 months ago – but it still seems surreal. We close on Monday afternoon and we will be moving in right away. That means our lives are crazy busy right now. We had a walk-through with our construction manager yesterday afternoon, followed by a walk-through with our inspector throughout the day today, and finally the closing on Monday afternoon. Right now we’re busy packing up boxes. At least half of our stuff has been in storage in our garage since I moved in almost two years ago (which is kind of crazy to think about….all the things I haven’t seen in so long!) but it still feels like we have a lot of stuff crammed into our tiny apartment. Thankfully Dave has finally started to take the packed boxes down to the garage, so we’re actually able to move around a bit until I pack up another few boxes! 

The house itself is really coming together. Earlier this week we got the paint we’ve been waiting on in our closets, the handle on the door to the lanai, and (drum roll please….) APPLIANCES! Also, a cleaning crew was there ta couple days ago and everything looks so much better without a big layer of construction dust. It’s really starting to look and feel more like a home and like a construction site! 


Let’s get to pictures, starting with the appliances. This was really exciting, because kitchen appliances were the very first selections we made back in September 2014. September. I remembered a lot of the details, but I have one more drawer in the freezer than I was remembering, and Dave found the warming oven to be bigger than he had remembered. Of course, everything looks so much better when it’s actually installed in the house! We still don’t have a dishwasher. Dave got a call about the dishwasher this week – apparently ours arrived with a big dent. They ordered a replacement, but it won’t be here for something like 14 days. We were given the option of picking a out a different dishwasher, or just waiting until the reordered one arrived and we’ve opted to wait. We were less than thrilled about having to hand wash everything for a couple of weeks, but yesterday our construction manager told us that he had got on the phone and told our appliance supplier to get us a temporary dishwasher in there until ours arrives and can be installed. That was fantastic news, and it was an option we didn’t even realize was possible. Woo hoo!

Ovens Continue reading The Last House Update

Avoiding Blogger Burnout

How to avoid blogger burnout by following one simple rule.

I’ve been writing on this blog for a while now. It’s been well over a year. When I started publishing posts on a consistent basis, I made a little promise to myself. It’s a little rule I have for blogging, and probably the only “rule” I have for blogging: “if it’s not fun, or enjoyable, then don’t do it.” 

Continue reading Avoiding Blogger Burnout