If We Had Coffee Together

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetI’ve seen this topic floating around in the blogosphere and I tried to hold out as long as I possibly could, but then Amber said this was the best topic idea ever created and I should jump on the bandwagon. I basically listen to everything Amber tells me, and we’ve had coffee together so she can attest to what a grand coffee date I am.

I mean also, let’s be honest….I didn’t need much coaxing in order to finally participate in this. If you know me, you know I love nothing more than a good cup of coffee and some good company.

Picture yourself in a little coffee shop, preferably the Starbucks in my hometown where I used to work. But if we can’t go there any coffee shop will do. If they have little nicknacks, lots of coffee mugs for sale and an outdoor patio you can sign me up. Warner is also coming. I hope you don’t mind. We’re having coffee, bitches!

If we had coffee, I’d order soy in my latte, or almond milk if they have it. Not because I’m lactose intolerant or anything, but because I just like the taste of soy/almond milk better. In fact, I never drink regular milk anymore. I’m also convinced both are healthier.

If we had coffee I’d thank you for meeting me. I would assure you that I know how busy life can be, and how taking time out of your day can be difficult. I’d probably try to buy your coffee, even if you try to tell me no, just trust me: this is not a fight you will win. Plus, I have a Starbucks gold card. You don’t want to mess with me.

If we had coffee, I’d tell you I’m back to my morning gym routines and it’s easier this time. I’m not as sluggish in the afternoons and I actually enjoy going at an early hour. I would explain how the quiet drive to work relaxes me, and I enjoy having my work-out done before I head in to work. I would tell you, though, that sometimes I feel like I’m not always working out as hard as I should be, and then I would blame it on being tired. Try figuring that one out.

If we had coffee, I would share that I’m effing excited as all hell right now. Excited, because one month from today I will be back in California to celebrate my best friend Ashley’s wedding. The idea of being back in California makes me way happier than you could ever imagine. I will tell you that. And then I will tell you all about my hometown, about Ashley and her fiancee, about the wedding and I would tell you how much I just want some In N Out and a breakfast burrito right now. Hey, let’s go to lunch or dinner after this, what do you think?

If we had coffee, I would give you an update on Warner. In fact, by now he’s probably laying in my lap, or yours. I hope you’re a dog person. I would share some of my fears surrounding his sickness, and how I feel helpless now that we’ve decided to forgo immune suppressive therapy. I would tell you about the quality of his life, and that I’m proud of him and how far he’s come. I would tell you I’m not sure how much longer we have left, but that I pray and pray for him to live long enough for me to take him to the beach just once. We would probably give him more attention than we would give our coffees and I can assure you more than one passerby would stop to pet him or admire him. Don’t worry, he’s used to it.

If we had coffee, I would ask you about your life. I would want you to share your stories, tell me your tales and divulge your secrets. I would be engaged, I would offer advice, I would feel lucky that you trust me with your life’s events. We might even film a vlog, but we don’t have to if you don’t want to.

If we had coffee, I would tell you I’m changing. I find myself letting go of certain friendships, of people, of this strange desire to please all and be friends with all. Now, I just want the few people I like (you included) and Warner and I will be good to go. You might wonder if losing touch with some of these people makes me sad and I would tell you no, because life happens and those people have taught me some valuable lessons about life and love. And then I will sing the song “I’m Movin’ On” by Rascal Flatts.

If we had coffee, I would probably quote a lot of movies, make a few inappropriate jokes and create life stories for the people around us (even though I don’t know them). It makes our time together more fun if we laugh.

We would leave and probably rush on to the next thing we have on our daily “to-do” list, and I would tell you that we should do it again sometime. And even if we don’t, I will be happy we had that time together and I hope you will be, too.

Treasure Tromp

To What End?

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetWhile I was off in Dallas making a living, Warner went back to the vet for another round of tests to check his protein levels. From a few states away I prayed for more good news, since our last appointment went so well. Actually, I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I was a little too confident going in to this appointment. Like, “we’ve been doing everything we’ve been asked to do. We’re good people. Good things happen to those people. Good news headed our way!” I honestly thought we would keep seeing improvement, so I went about my day in Dallas, running around with coffee in hand, operating under this false sense of security that everything would be ok.

When the results came back, I found my confidence was in vain. Warner’s levels are up again….and while his current doses of medications are keeping any real dramatic spikes from happening, we are no longer seeing improvement. Tessa and I chatted briefly about it, and I rushed to a walk through, putting it out of my mind until I was back in Atlanta and could really deal with it.

I’m back in Atlanta now, dealing with it.

On Friday, our vet called while I was in Target and we had a heart to heart. At this point, we have done everything we can do. Everything, except one last ditch effort: immune suppressive therapy. This therapy that will lower Warner’s immune system to the point that he will become susceptible to other infections and diseases. It can cause diminished appetite, vomiting and there’s only a 50/50 chance it will work.

I sat there in the jewelry section of Target, listening to our beloved vet go on and on about the positives and negatives of this treatment, and I couldn’t help but think back to my college days when one of my favorite professors was lecturing me about some stupid boy I had a crush on. “To what end?” she asked, “to what end will you let these things go on?” I had no answer for her then, because when a boy is involved I often have no answers. Her lecture has often stuck with me in many aspects of my life: career, relationships, family, friends. To what end? I’ve often asked myself. My answer has so often depended on the actions of others; the ability to simply shut people out because I’m not willing to go any farther on their behalf. But, with Warner? I will go as far as I have to. I promised him I would forever go that extra mile to take care of him. Up until now, there has been no end.

But Friday, there surrounded by baubles, I asked myself “to what end?” How long am I going to put Warner through treatment after treatment before I come to the realization that he cannot be cured, only maintained until we can maintain him no longer? To what end will I put his little body through another round of treatment without a guarantee that it will work? I can’t in my right mind make a life decision for Warner that revolves around a 50/50 chance, especially when the side effects could result in landing him back at square one.

To what end?

No one would ever question the love I have for Warner. He’s my kid, my guy, my family. He’s my heart. It should go without question that I will never stop fighting for him. Everyday we will choose joy, and we will continue to pray that things get better. But, his quality of life is more important to me right now. And, his quality of life is good: he eats, he takes his pills (which have helped), he gets exercise and he has a little pep in his step. He finally has some joy. How can I decide to take that away after everything we’ve done? Everything we’ve fought for?

To what end?

My decision was the easiest, yet the most difficult decision to make: we will not pursue immune suppressive therapy at this time. Our vet agreed that we should keep this option in our back pockets and keep doing what we’re doing for now. She understood my reasoning behind Warner’s quality of life, and praised me for choosing Warner’s joy. She reassured me I was doing everything possible, and my decision not to pursue immune suppressive therapy was not a selfish one.

In six weeks we will go back, and we will reevaluate Warner’s progress or lack there of. If immune suppressive therapy is the only option at the end of the day, we will figure out if it’s worth it.

I have an answer now. There is an end to all this. The end won’t be one I want, because it will leave me without Warner, but it’s more important that Warner’s life is good while we still have him. For now, we rest assured that he’s on a dosage of medications that works, and this will keep him around for awhile. We keep our minds focused on the positive and remember to choose joy. And then, we go to the lake for a day of fun.

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Apparently I’m with the Band

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetI think we all have a doppelganger; you know, another person floating out there in the universe who creepily looks exactly like them. A person, who people feel the need to point out in the loudest way possible “OMG YOU LOOK LIKE (INSERT NAME HERE)”. Not that I mind; I have like A LOT of doppelgangers. I mean, I have A LOT of doppelgangers.

When I was blonde, I got Reese Witherspoon:

Then I got went dark, got bangs and everyone started calling me Zoey Deschanel.

Sometimes I get Katy Perry.

When I wear my glasses? It’s Tina Fey. I like to think it’s because I’m funny when I wear my glasses.

Am I complaining about being compared to these starlets? Hells no. They’re all GORGEOUS in my opinion, and even though I’m not convinced I can hold even a candle to their beauty, I’m flattered every time someone calls me Reese, Zoey, Katy or Tina.

Onward.

When you work 16 hour days, walk at least 4 miles a day, get little to no sleep and are at the mercy of the elements you have to find creative ways to have fun. For my teammates and I, it was the radios we used to communicate during our time in Dallas. Radios are THE MOST FUN THINGS EVER for a few reasons, including but not limited to:

1. You get to wear a headset and everyone thinks you’re a secret service agent.

2. “Radio speak” is another language. One I’m putting on my resume.

3. When someone calls you on the radio, EVERYONE HAS TO STOP AND LISTEN TO YOU BECAUSE ONLY ONE PERSON CAN SPEAK AT A TIME.

4. Odd numbers are weird but RADIOS ARE SUPER FUN.

Yeah, I like being heard.

One particularly blustery day, I was buzzing about with my radio, cup of (bad, with gross creamer, catering ) coffee and bright orange sneakers like I owned the place. I wasn’t paying much attention to what was going on around me (this includes my radio) because I was in the mother effing zone! Suddenly, an all-call went out to EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON SITE from one of my co-workers:

“Attention all staff! Ashten is currently on stage! I repeat: Ashten is on stage!”

Wait, what? I’m not even close to a stage! And then the flood gates opened:

“WORK IT, GIRL!”

“Who knew Ashten was this talented?”

“Ashten! Can I have your autograph?!”

What is this trickery? I’m so confused. Is this the tribute to my work ethic I’ve been waiting for? IS THERE A SLIDE SHOW?!?!?! A POWERPOINT PERHAPS?!

“SHE CAN DANCE TOO?!?! TRIPLE THREAT!”

Shit. Did they find that YouTube video of me doing that awful choreographed dance at a wedding back in 2005?! I hope not. That dress was AWFUL and the bride made us wear converse with a tea length dress and THAT LOOKED GOOD ON NO ONE.

I finally got to a place where the stage my co-workers were speaking of was in my sights. FINALLY I WILL KNOW WHAT KIND OF HOAX THESE CRAZY FOOLS ARE PULLING ON ME.

On stage, was a band from Austin, Texas called “The Wind and the Wave”. They’re awesome, mostly because they joined last minute and showed up IN THE RAIN.

wind_and_the_waveAnd there, you guys, stood my twin. Her name is Patty Lynn and she’s the wave half of “the Wind and the Wave”. The girl has pipes and can play a mean guitar. She also looks like me. I think it’s the nose.

Throughout the day the Patty references kept coming in WAVES (puns are fun). Some co-workers asked me to sing, some were just shocked at how much we looked a like. The jokes escalated all the way to management, and when one of my managers asked to speak with me, I approached him with fear only to be told:

“I sure hope we’re paying you well to be an opening act. Nice performance!”

And my BIG boss:

“Hey Ashten! Nice opening number! You’re welcome for the side gig.”

There’s not better way to break up the monotony of a long, tiring day like being likened to a singer and called out for it on the radio. My only regret is that I never got to meet Patty and get a picture of us twinning.

Oh, and you guys? Apparently I can sing. Now do me a favor and check out my band.

Tim McGraw Smells Good

double fistingThis boisterous broad has returned from Dallas and it’s taken nearly four days to feel back to “normal”. Dallas was like running a marathon. I’ve never run a marathon but from what I hear your body is pushed to the limit on little sleep, you’re sore, you’re sweaty, halfway through you feel like you’re going to die and by the end of it you collapse in a pile, unable to move. Yes, that’s exactly what Dallas felt like and you can officially count me out of any/all marathons forever.

I can tell you, it’s good to be back. Thanks to everyone who followed #twelvedaysindallas on Instagram!

Since I’ve been gone for 2 weeks, I figured I would jump-start my return to the world of blog with another celebrity story from my time in Dallas. Because if I’ve learned one thing about you loyal readers, it’s that you love my celebrity encounters almost as much as I do.

The weather in Dallas, for lack of a better word: SUCKED. One day it was sunny and hot as balls, the next it was windy and the next it was pouring rain. Braving the elements became part of our daily routine and my hair became a lost cause. One particular day (a Saturday), it was especially cold and blustery and my hair was especially poofy and awful and this was the day I met Tim McGraw.

Tim (we’re like that now) was in town just for the day and he was running late. Rather, his tour bus was running late. Even though I was at the mercy of Tim’s time, and really it didn’t matter to me what time he showed up because while waiting for him I was dry, I was warm and I was able to catch my breath without anyone trying to find me.

I got few quiet moments while in Dallas, and even if it meant my whole schedule was screwed for the day, I was ok with it because SILENCE IS GOLDEN.

I was in the middle of trying to fix the mess of a mane that was my hair when there he was, standing in front of me in all his country glory: Tim McGraw. Now, I realize Tim is a country singer, and country isn’t everyone’s cup of sweet tea but he was wearing tight pants, a tight shirt and he was just the right amount of tan.

HE WAS BASICALLY A GOLDEN, DENIM GOD WITH PERFECT TEETH AND A GREAT SET OF BUNS.

I can honestly say there wasn’t a woman in that room with us that wasn’t ready to go out and purchase every single album he’s made after catching a glimpse of him. He smiled at me with the whitest smile I’ve ever seen and as we were introduced I caught a whiff of him.

I’ve always thought Tim McGraw looks like he smells good: I mean, he’s so smooth and that voice is like maple syrup and his wife is so pretty there’s no way he doesn’t smell good. Now, I have proof. You guys, Tim McGraw smells like everything you think a man should smell like: the perfect combination of sweat, forest and intoxicating cologne. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about. He just smelled like…..MAN. That, combined with the pants and the shirt was just enough to make a girl all swoony and forget that her hair is half done and her make up has been washed away by the Dallas rains.

Our introduction was brief, and has he brushed past me to shake hands, kiss babies and take photos with those much more important than I, that “man smell” lingered in the air for a moment and I felt like my knees might give out.

I really need to get out more. Or at least go on a date.

And then he started signing. HE STARTED SINGING TO ONE OF THE OTHER PEOPLE IN THE ROOM. Just a solo Tim McGraw performance just for us. ON A RANDOM SATURDAY.

Yeah, that was a highlight of my trip, and also a lesson: if a man looks like he smells good, chances are he usually does. Also? Most men who are late are worth the wait, especially if they look like Tim McGraw.

“But Ashten, did you meet any other celebrities?!”

Yes, yes my dears. I did. Celebrities I call Sarah and Helene. Though we only spent an hour and a half together, I fell in love with them. Let me tell you, two funnier, more genuine, strong and independent women you will never meet. They’re just as great as their blogs, and we’re already planning their trip to Atlanta.

The Bump List, or I am Afraid of Stupid Shit

When two of your favorite bloggers get together and do a link-up you resurface after a not-so-mysterious blogging hiatus and join them.

 

The Handey Way

Today, I bring you my “bump it list” aka: things I will NEVER do before I die, or “I am afraid of stupid shit”

I will never go whale watching.

I am TERRIFIED of whales. This is the most irrational fear ever, especially because I am OBSESSED with Shark Week and there are, like, a shit ton of studies that show sharks are more prone to attack you than whales. Nevertheless, the mere thought of being close enough to a whale that it could decide to break tradition and attack FREAKS ME OUT. You will NEVER see me on that ocean journey, no effing way.

I will never go skydiving

You guys, I firmly believe God did not create us to jump out of planes. That, and I’m a control freak and the mere thought of putting a stranger and a parachute in charge of my life actually makes me break out in hives. I will keep my planes how I like ‘em: Delta and with frequent flyer miles with extra leg room. AND THOSE COOKIES.

I will never scuba dive

Also see: I am terrified of whales, but Shark Week is cool.

I will never be a UCLA, Notre Dame or Ohio State fan, not even for a day

A loyal USC Trojans fan until the day I die, you will NEVER see me cheer for any of these teams. I actually cheered for a natural disaster when Notre Dame “played” Alabama in the National Championship game 2 years ago. I don’t even have “Pac 12 conference loyalty” when UCLA plays another school that isn’t USC. SCREW THEM. And Ohio State? Well, I HATE YOU TOO.

See this post for more reasoning behind my life choices.

I will never drive a mini van

If you drive a mini van, no judgement. But, you will NEVER catch me tryin’ to ride dirty in one of those things. I am not built to drive a mini van, I’m built to drive a giant ass SUV and blast Jay-Z music. After I drop the kids off at school, of course. I don’t even have kids yet, but they’re on the bucket list.

I will never be a contestant the on “The Bachelor”

I would actually be a HORRIBLE contestant on “The Bachelor”. This post explains more about why, and trust me, after reading it you will 100% agree with me. I am way too competitive to be on a show I could potentially lose and I’m also way too awkward to hold my own against the perfect 10s they pull off the runway and put on that show. And, let’s face it: falling in love after 2 dates? GET THE EFF OUTTA HERE WITH THAT NONSENSE. YOU’RE A BUNCH OF SAPS, WOMEN OF AMERICA.

I will never be anyone’s back-up singer or dancer

Have you ever seen Taylor Swift dance at an awards show? Awesome. You have an accurate idea of what I look like when I dance. Only I’m doing it seriously, and I get the feeling Taylor is doing it ironically. Taylor and I should both just give it up and go back to what we’re good at: dating guys, getting dumped and writing about it. Oh and my singing? Yeah, just no.

And back into the depths of my not-so-mysterious blogging hiatus I go. Which basically means back to #twelvedaysindallas on Instagram

dallas trip

Twelve Days in Dallas

By now you know that I’m a planner, if you watched my vlog on Friday you REALLY know this. I mean, I DROVE. THAT. POINT. HOME.

So, naturally, as another big trip loomed on the horizon, I started to plan my blog content and tried to “write ahead” as I often do when I travel.

I should mention I’m traveling for 12 days this time: a record for me.

My goal was to write one post a day and schedule tweets the day before I left. Great plan, right? Well, I am, as it turns out quite the ambitious gal, and this didn’t happen. Not even close. On Friday I realized I didn’t have a single word typed out on ye ole blog and I was airport bound. Thanks, life, you bastard.

“What the hell am I going to do?” I thought…”how am I going to see my lovely readers these next 2 weeks?”

And then, I decided: I’m taking you all on my trip with me! Well, on Instagram that is, because airfare is expensive. So, join me on Instagram as I try to brave #twelvedaysindallas!

One pic (or multiple) a day chronicling my trip to the Big D. (MIND IN THE GUTTER) I can’t wait to take you all with me!

I hope I see Courtney Kerr.

Follow me on Instagram!

dallas trip

 

 

Vlog Like a Boss: I’m Going to Review the Whitney English Day Designer

 
 

Links you should care about!

The Five Stages of Blating by Kalyn at Geez Louise

One of my new favorite bloggers, Princess Burlap

A hauntingly beautiful post about anxiety by Kelly at Petite Ramblings

I’m not getting paid for this review. In fact, this review is happening due to popular demand on Instagram (shameless plug! FOLLOW ME.)

Dane Cook Made Fun of Me

In today’s edition of “Ashten Meets Celebrities” I bring you a tale of a comedian who is no longer funny, just because of this night. Ok not really, but this is my personal belief and I choose to keep it this way.

Tessa and I were HUGE Dane Cook fans, just like everyone was from 2005-2007, before we all found out he was stealing other people’s jokes and started making shitty movies. We lived and died by his humor, and we felt like he was the kind of guy we could totally party with. And we did, because we bought all his CDs and DVDs and quoted him constantly. We even took a journey to Las Vegas to see him one weekend, where we stayed at a shady hotel and “forgot” to tell our parents.

I also had short, blonde hair.

We spent our hard earned, part time college job money on tickets in the rafters and laughed our asses off before heading home with a ton of inside jokes and a pact that we “didn’t do anything that weekend”.

The next weekend, it just so happened that Dane Cook was doing a show at the Laugh Factory on the famous Sunset Blvd and once again Tessa and I spent our hard earned part time college job money on VIP tickets. We got there early, and snagged seats in the second row, promising the 2 friends we brought with us that they were in for a real show.

And what a show. Same jokes as Vegas, but that’s before we figured out that’s all Dane had. Since we were in the second row, we were in the “splash zone” aka you’re fair game for the comedians to make fun of you. At one point during the show, Tessa laughed so hard she snorted, which turned in to this almost uncontrollable wheezing noise. Dane looked over at her and said “you’re laughing so hard I’m worried you might die.”

And Tessa kept laughing. So he turned to me.

Dane: Do you have a boyfriend?

Me: Red as a sunburned lobster No.

Dane: I should have known. You aren’t wearing any big jewelry, which means you don’t (insert sexual act I don’t post about because INAPPROPRIATE. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS).

And I got so red. Everyone laughed at my expense, like assholes.

Dane keeps going.

Dane: Only girls who do that get big jewelry and you have none so you should probably start doing that to get yourself a boyfriend.

Me: The 2006 equivalent of dead.

After the show, we went in search of Dane, because we loved him and we had to meet him. While, he didn’t apologize for making fun of me, he did ask Tessa and I to email him the photos we took from his Las Vegas show and gave us his personal email address.

And the email read:

Dear Dane,

Here are the photos from your Las Vegas show! We had a great time!
We thought about asking you for jewelry but you would probably just ask us to do THAT to you and, we laughed so hard we snorted, and wheezed.

Love,

Ashten and Tessa

That was also the night Daniel Tosh opened for Dane Cook and I realized there was a much better comedian in my future. And I have loved Daniel Tosh over Dane Cook ever since.

Don’t forget to grab a button so you can vlog like boss tomorrow! I’m reviewing the Whitney English Day Designer!

 

Always Ashten

The Confidence Comes, Slowly

self love

Building confidence is a lot like playing Jenga: you carefully stack these blocks of positive traits you like about yourself and hope nothing gets shifted, causing the whole stack to topple down, leaving shambles for you to try and rebuild. I feel like I’ve been playing Jenga my whole life. Those blocks were so shaky and uncertain; as if they were made of flimsy plywood. They wouldn’t get very high before they completely toppled over and I would find myself back at square one: trying to re-stack everything so carefully, only to have them topple again. It was a difficult existence; trying to craft a self-esteem from plywood and shaky ground. I hated my journey, hated my body, hated myself a lot of the time. You know this story; I tell it all the time. But today, my story is a little bit different.

I’m not sure what’s happened, but suddenly I find the answer to all the confidence questions I’ve been asking for years:

Confidence comes from making the best decisions you can for yourself.

Boom. That just happened. Took me 29.75 years to figure it out. You’re welcome.

All of a sudden the pieces I’m playing with got stronger overnight and the ground, while still a bit shaky, doesn’t seem to quake as often as it used to. Where there once were whispers of “you can’t do it”, “you’ll never be pretty” and “you deserve to be unhappy” are now tiny whispers saying “you are miraculous”, “you are strong” and “you are beautiful inside and out”.

Confidence is a choice. It’s choosing to say “yes I am” rather than “no I’m not”. It’s knowing what’s right for you because you know yourself and like yourself too much to let yourself or someone else hurt you. It’s believing in yourself, straight up with a twist. It’s knowing you may not have all the answers, but you know where to find them. It’s having faith in yourself when it’s dark and you’re scared and not even that sure you know where you’re at on your path in life. Slowly, this confidence builds as you choose to do what’s best for you. And when the Jenga blocks come tumbling down, it’s having the strength to say “watch me rebuild” and start stacking again.

I’m a grown up. A grown ass woman, if you will. I have all the things that make you a grown up: 2 bank accounts, a job, student loans, a credit card and frequent flyer miles. However, I find this confidence comes not from having these things but from the choices I make because of/in spite of them. As I’ve started to figure out what choices are best for me, what makes me happy and what I am willing to do for myself/others I find a whole new side of this Ashten person, and I like her. She’s feisty, she’s not always logical, she cares. This Ashten person has a really hard shell, but guess what? So do some of the best candies: M&Ms, Skittles, FRIGGIN JUNIOR MINTS.

Put Junior Mints in the freezer, then come back and thank me later when your mouth meets paradise.

Slowly, this confidence comes. Slowly I feel myself changing, growing and putting together this soundtrack of my life, and playing it on repeat because for the first time I like the way it sounds. Slowly I find that after a lot of broken Jenga towers and faulty ground comes that confidence that I choose to believe I can build again. I choose me because I like me.

Slowly, I think I’m going to start liking me more. I’m not so bad.