Everyday Inspirations

My husband Nate and I on our honeymoon in paradise. Note the lack of inappropriate content in this photo. :)
So we've all seen the friends on Facebook that didn't act with so much class when it comes to their relationships. Maybe you grimaced, gossiped, or gave them the heads up they may want to change their ways. But the last thing you want is for that to be you, right? I've put together a few Facebook relationship guidelines to consider when sharing your relationship with the social networking world.

{you went from "in a relationship" to "it's complicated"}
Let's face it, sometimes these relationship status updates are just asking for trouble. Though it can make pretty interesting entertainment for the Facebook world, it certainly isn't so classy. Remember, you don't even have to put your relationship status on there at all. Or you can set it so that it doesn't appear in the news feed through your privacy settings. Also, informing your significant other that you are breaking up with them this way--definitely tacky. That's being said, those changing relationship statuses to the positive should be wary too. More on that later.

{facebook is not your therapy couch}
If you and your significant other are having issues, don't treat Facebook as your free therapist. Yes, your friends are on there, but not all of them need to know all the juicy details. DO talk to your close friends in person or on the phone if you need to, but don't go posting more drama or polls on who is right or wrong on the Internet. Even better, talk things out with your significant other like adults.

{tmi, pda, xxx, omg}
You're in love. You're in lust. Whatever. But the entire world doesn't need all the details. We don't need 100 photos of you and your lover smooching or to hear everything you did this weekend. Don't post the naughty photos your friend took of you. Don't leave an overload of mushy messages on your lover's wall for all to see. We don't need a complete description of why his or her body in the land of paradise either. Some things should just be special for the two of you to share. 

{and here is my ex acting like the idiot he is}
Don't go posting photos, videos, or comments about your failed relationship. You may want to demonstrate that you're not the stupid one, but by acting that immaturely, you're showing you're in the same league. Keep the ex bashing to your close friends in private situations.

{we're engaged!}
Congratulations! You are so happy you feel like you want to scream it to the whole world. I remember, I was there too. But pause for a minute, do you really think your friend from 7th grade gym class should find out at the same time as your best friend? Your aunt? Through Facebook? Certain people should find out in person, over the phone, or even over text before you let the vast world of Facebook know or they will feel like they're unimportant to you. Hold off for a moment and make some phone calls, which should definitely include your parents. For your friends it is certainly appropriate to send a text letting them know the news if you don't have time for individual calls to all of them. I mean, after all, you might want to take in the moment with your fiance.  
Brown eggs

I've always loved the simplicity of the egg. It's a beautiful symbol of new beginnings, and a familiar springtime image. Today, as we start a new season, let's agree to make it as wonderful and joyous as possible. Winter is behind us. It's time to start fresh.
Dubrovnik, Croatia
A breath-taking, Medieval city of white and orange, enveloped between lush green mountains and the turquoise Adriatic Sea. I've experienced many cities, but Dubrovnik, Croatia is by far one of my favorites. Old town is a marriage of old and new as today's shops, banks and restaurants inhabit the original buildings built in the Middle Ages. As it was a wealthy trading city that rivaled Venice, the city sidewalks are made of marble, which is a whole lot of fun if your shoes don't have much traction. I'm pretty sure I nearly pulled off my companions' arms the several times I nearly slipped.

My favorite part was the city wall—a tall, marble walkway that wraps around the perimeter of old town Dubrovnik. At each point we would stop to take photos saying, "Surely this is the most beautiful vantage," and at the next, "No, surely this is the most beautiful vantage." As you walk around it you see panoramic views of the city and Adriatic Sea, castle fortresses on rocky cliffs, church steeples silhouetted against the sky, laundry on clotheslines waving in the breeze, cannons and architectural features used to protect the city, and thousands of people wandering the streets. The sights everywhere you looked were truly incredible and inspiring.
Mini Thin Mint ice cream sandwich

My name is Ashley, and I'm addicted to sweets.

I am the person who loves finishing off a meal on a sweet note (even if it's just a small piece of chocolate). I crave a shake in the middle of the day. I see absolutely no problem with adding six or seven different toppings to an ice cream sundae.

Of course, all things in moderation. Over the years I've become better at making small, simple snacks that satisfy my cravings without going over the top. And since this is March, the month of Girl Scout Cookies, I thought I'd share one with you.

A few years back, Angie and I belonged to a book club, where a group of five or six of us would meet once a month to have dinner, drinks, and dessert (and, of course, to talk about the book--that is, if we weren't catching up on everything else). One month, Angie and I decided we'd bring a Girl Scout Cookie dessert. We had fun creating a Thin Mint pie, and in the process we also discovered the thrill of mini Girl Scout ice cream sandwiches.

To make the sandwich you see above, all I did was put mint ice cream between two delicious Thin Mints. Ta-da! In just seconds, I had an amazing little snack. You can get really creative with these sandwiches. Try strawberry ice cream between the shortbread Trefoils or vanilla ice cream between two peanut butter Tagalongs. And if you stumble on a REALLY amazing combination, you know we're going to want to hear all about it!

Sometimes the best, most delicious things in life are the most simple.
{ash & angie}
In honor of St. Patrick's Day and the beginning of spring, we are excited to bring you a list of all things green. Some items focus on helping the environment, some are about bettering yourself, and one is about entering our Facebook contest for the chance to bring home a new gift!

We hope you start thinking about ways you can brighten your life this new season. We look forward to opportunities to continue to connect with you, our readers, on the most simple, beautiful details of life.

{save green}
Even though most of our work is done on computers, we still waste huge amounts of paper. Make it a goal to limit use your use. Use scratch paper where you can. Don't print off emails unless it is necessary. Sign up for e-bills and e-statements. Also, if your company or community doesn't already recycle, try to get a program in place.

{earn green}
Many states pay you to save aluminum or glass and turn them into a recycling facility. Research opportunities available in your area.

{eat green}
Add more healthy greens to your diet. Green vegetables contain vitamins and nutrients that reduce cancer risks, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, normalize digestion, support retinal health, fight harmful free-radicals, and boost your immune system.

{travel green}
It may not always be possible to walk or ride a bike to your destination, but do it wherever you can. Not only will you be saving the world from extra emissions, you will also be getting great exercise and enjoying the outdoors, which keeps your body and mind healthy.

{wear green}
Green is a color of growth, nature, and wealth. Wear green when you need an extra mental boost in these areas. Want to be even greener? Take your outfit to the next level by checking out environmentally-friendly clothing sites.

{shop green}
In our society we consume tons of material goods. Check out Anti-Nu Store on Etsy where their slogan is, "Don't buy new—upcycle."

{plant green}
Planting trees and plants helps the environment, beautifies your home or garden, and gives you a mental break from your day-to-day worries.

{enjoy green}
Spend time outdoors, especially now as spring brings us sunshine and new growth. Taking daily walks in the evening will help you relax after a busy day and will give you a chance to watch the progress of the plants in your neighorhood as they start to bloom.

{win green}
Help spread the inspiration. When you become our Facebook fan by March 21 you will be entered to win the above beautiful green jewelry, handmade by FeliciaEvita Designs. Please share our site with your friends or post it as your status. Remember, you need to be a fan to win!

Earlier today I was thinking about what I wanted to post for this week's home entry. I had a bunch of decor-related ideas, but more than anything I wanted to focus on the 65-degree weather we're having in Salt Lake. I mean, have we ever mentioned on this web site how excited we are for spring? Oh yeah, here. And here. Yep, here too.

Then I realized--wonder of wonders--the yard is just as much a part of your living space as anything else! (Obviously I'm not a homeowner... yet.) So during my soaking in of spring weather, I captured an image of a just-about-to-blossom branch.

It's lovely to have an object in your yard (or around your home if you don't yet have a yard) that brings a smile to your face, whether it's a bench, a potted flower, or a vegetable patch. Personally, I can't wait to get my very own Meyer lemon tree. I'm thinking that's going to be one of my spring/summer projects.
braided hair
Spring fashion is coming and hair this year is braided. Think braided accents in a ponytail or messy bun, a long loose braid hanging to the side, a lone braid in a wavy hairstyle. So many fun ways to show creativity with your hair. Take this loose, bohemian style and dress it up (or keep it together) with some handmade hair clips or bobby pins from Etsy.com.


We live in a time of immediate communication—text messages, emails, social networking—but I don't think I know a single person who doesn't enjoy receiving mail. There is something to be said that, despite all our advances, the old-fashioned method of handwriting a note, buying a stamp, and sending thanks via the postal service brightens a day in a way that no email ever could. It's still magical to open your mailbox and see something that isn't a bill or junk mail. An actual handwritten note is a simple way to genuinely show thanks.

Some days don't feel inspired. They aren't happy or creative or colorful. Some days are white. Today amidst a spring snow storm we put down our nearly 14-year-old Westie, Mac. It was one of the hardest things I have done—trying to say goodbye to one who has so given so much of himself to our family. Mac, who loved so unconditionally, who literally said hello when I came home, who was so concerned when I was upset and never failed to comfort me, who was my last link to my childhood days. I was only ten when I met him as a puppy and now I've journeyed into a college-educated, married, adult woman. We've both changed a lot, but through all of it I was always his Angie and he was always my favorite puppy.

Some days don't feel inspired, but it's those days you must look for inspiration. Allow yourself to feel the pain or grief or depression. Accept it. Confront it. It may take all the strength you can muster but you must then look for something to bring you up. Something, someone, anything that is inspiring. Today as I kissed his little nose goodbye and walked out into this horrible, awful, 7 inches of slushy whiteness, I willed myself to be inspired. Inspired by his love, his strength, and his overwhelming excitement despite the pain he lived with. Inspired that, however stupid this may be, the weather snowy white in his honor. Today is white for my Mackie, my baby, my puppy. I will only say goodbye feeling somewhere he is at peace yowling a little hello to me.

This weekend I am participating in Bowl for Kids' Sake, an annual event put on by the Utah chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters. I love getting involved with volunteer work, and this is a fun way for my friends and I to raise money so local kids can participate in necessary mentor relationships.

Events like these strengthen our community. I may not meet every child who benefits from our team donation, but I do know that the money will go toward amazing opportunities for children who may not have stable everyday lives.

I truly believe the change we need in the world begins close to home. We all can find some small, simple way to make a difference. What will be yours?