Monday, December 29, 2014

A glorious day.

December 16, 2014, the day I was pinned as a Nurse Graduate.

I've longed for this day, for well over two years. The day I found out my Godfather had cancer, my life changed forever. This was back in 2006. Two weeks before I was graduating high school.

From a couple posts ago, I told you the why's behind my yearning for education, but I left out a very big piece. The how's I got to this point.

I got to this point with lots of support. No, this support didn't come from my family. It came from a very special person that God brought in to my life at a time when I needed him the most.

His name was Jerry, he was my mom's boss at one of the various jobs she floated through. When I met Jerry, he was a stern guy who didn't take bullshit from anyone. I emphasize this, because later on he ended up firing my mom for one reason or another and I told this man exactly how I felt.

I was 14.

I was 14 years old telling this man he was a piece of crap for firing a mother of three children, and telling him how awful he was for doing this. He took the bullshit this time.

From this point forward, he became a huge part of my life. Weird, I know, but all of his children were grown and he was at the retiring age and needed someone to look after.

Well I needed looking after.

I needed someone to encourage me.

I needed the support.

I needed a mentor.

He told me how smart I truly was and I was beginning to believe him. I was smart. He pushed me to do well in high school, to stick with the marching band, to stay out of trouble. To be better.

In four short years, this man had taught me how important it was to be self driven, motivated, and most of all to never give up. Perseverance was key.

April 2006 came, and he was diagnosed with throat cancer. I watched as he fought the cancer for four months. I watched the nurses and healthcare team work with him and nurture his healing process.

All I could think is, "I could do this".  It was then that Jerry read my mind, he said, " you know you'd be good at this".

I knew it.
This was it.
This is what I want to do.
Now how to put this in place?

Within the next couple of months, I went through a lot of change. I graduated high school.  I got a good job. I started applying for colleges. Within those months, Jerry beat cancer. Although, he beat the cancer, the treatments left him very weak.

So weak that he ended up getting in a very bad four wheeler accident. I know you're probably thinking... " what the hell was this man doing on a four-wheeler weeks after radiation and chemo?"

He lived in the country and the mail box was down a ways, so that's how he checked the mail. The man was hell on wheels. I loved that about him.

He was weeks into rehabilitation from the accident with a very bad brain bleed. It was going well.
I went to visit as often as I could. I was very busy, but always made time.

September 15, 2006, Jerry died. I don't remember feeling anything, but pain. I felt lost. I felt hopeless. My mentor was no longer there, to cheer me on, to love me and tell me I could do anything.

This started a very long road. A road that would lead me here. I had a lot of doors slam in my face, and but never stopped looking for an open door. I always remember the faith that man had in me to do well. I always heard his voice in the back of my mind cheering me on. His voice was louder than all the other negativity i'd heard in my life. So I always chose to listen to him.

No, he wasn't actually my Godfather, but God sure did bring a dad in my life when I needed him the most. He never left my side, and although he isn't here, I still feel him here today. He was one of the first people I thought of when I found out I passed my last test of nursing school.

You're probably wondering why this story was brought up when I am trying to tell you about my pinning day.

Well I had to explain how I got here. How I never gave up.

My Golden Girls.  

My Godmother Sandal. 



 I can't tell you how therapeutic writing is for me. It's broken down a lot of my walls and little by little I understand what I am capable of. It took a lot of courage to push the publish button on this one, but I have to say i'm so glad I did. Thanks for always listening to my ramblings and my heart.

Love, 
Ashley


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Oh Hi!

Hello! It's been awhile.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. I figured I'd do a post because it's really been a bit. December was a whirlwind, and I'm glad it's winding down a bit.

It's totally weird blogging right now. Do I still remember how to ramble? Of course.

I'll show you some pictures of our Christmas, which I totally meant to post 3 days ago, but whatever.


Yep. Ugly sweaters + Cats in sweaters = THE WORLDS BEST TACKY CHRISTMAS CARD!

I was pretty proud of it, I just wished we would have put the year on it. Dang. That will have to wait until next year. 

I have to say it was a very nice, serene Christmas. No traveling, just hanging out with the cats and eating. Nothing fancy. 

We made this. Yes, we are still married,  after handcrafting this winter gingerbread wonderland. Only 2 meltdowns while putting this together, my OCD gets in the way. ALOT.



We ate fondue on Christmas Eve. It was super yummy, but my goodness it was shameful eating that much cheese. We got a little carried away. I think we are going to move this tradition to Christmas dinner next year. 




For Christmas dinner we ordered a whole bunch of Chinese food. We ate on that for two days it was so much food. We watched all the Christmas movies you could imagine a couple of times this season. 

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas excuse me while I get back to studying for my nursing boards. I can't wait until the day I don't have to open up another NCLEX book. 

Stay fabulous. 


Ps. I just had to. 









Friday, December 12, 2014

and... I passed Nursing school yesterday.

Yes, I am writing to you as a new graduate nurse.


I still can't believe it, the shock is still here. 

I spent the last TWO years slaving away learning every nursing intervention under the sun. I spent a lot of that time in stress, fear and tears. Life of any nursing student. Constantly worrying about failure. Constantly thinking is this the right thing to do? And a million "what ifs". The list goes on. and on.

You might be wondering, "why in the hell did you continue to do this?!"

Answer: I couldn't imagine doing anything else with my life. NOTHING ELSE. When I started nursing school I knew this was what I was born to do. I know, I know, it really sounds cheesy. Well it's the absolute truth. I can't tell you what a feeling I get knowing that my patient is getting better because of my care.

The measure of a life is it's service. I truly live by this. It's fitting because this is the motto of my university from my first degree, Sam Houston State University.

I don't really open up about my family because I don't have a good relationship with a good bit of them. Something you probably don't know about me, is that I grew up very poor and misguided. My mom didn't really accomplish very much in her life and my dad wasn't in the picture half the time, due to mental illness and very poor life choices.

More than a few of the people in my family thought I was destined to lead a life that my parents did.

So often times growing up I was told the following:

I would never go to college because I didn't have the money to go. 

I should most likely follow some kind of trade that didn't require very much school. 

I wasn't smart enough.  

Long story short, I had to figure out a good bit of life on my own. I refuse to fall into the "oh woe is me".  I used all of these words as fuel. Fuel to the fire of finding myself.

I wanted to change my life and where it was going. I needed something that was my own. That's where education came in. After high school, I figured out that I was actually pretty smart and can do this college thing pretty well. My new goal was to become the first woman in my family to graduate college.

I graduated with my bachelors degree in 2012 and now two years later in 2014, yet another degree in one of the most respected professions, Nursing.

I did it. I was the very first woman in my family to graduate college.

In the times that I wanted to quit and give up, my grandmother's words resonated in my head, "you aren't smart enough". That made me try harder. Work harder. Do Better.  Do I let those words of doubt hurt me?

No. 

Those words pushed me to better myself, and enabled me to truly see what i'm made of. I'm done trying to prove them wrong, because I did so long ago.

I did this for me and no one else.

I don't usually open up about things like this, because this is a very deep part of me. A deep place that I am just now starting to understand and become comfortable sharing. To not share this, most people wouldn't understand how important school and education is to me, and why I try so hard.

Moral of the story: You can literally do anything you set my mind to, no matter what it is.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Saturday night ramblings.

So in case you were wondering, I am still here. In a food coma, but i'm here.

#1: Thanksgiving was amazing. We stayed here in Charleston, so it was just us and the cats, LOW STRESS. Traveling over the holidays is stressful, so if you don't have to, don't.  We made this food all by ourselves. I was just impressed the turkey was so moist. BRINE, people, just Brine. It was an extra step but totally worth it. All in all, the food and company was great, we ate 3PM. This never happens, I come from a family that only eats dinner at 8-9pm. Doing this allowed for us to proceed to Black Thursday at an earlier time and join the madness.


#2:  This. 


#3:  I am a Black Thursday go-er. My husband has always been and I am following suit. I went to Target first, didn't buy a thing, the only reason I even went in there to see what random thing they had. Next, I went to Ulta, bought a few things, there wasn't anything spectacular, other than the Big Sexy hair root pump for $5.99, normally $15, I felt like I won. Kohl's. Kohl's was a freaking mad house. Yes, I stood in line at Kohl's for an hour to check out. I am completely guilty of this. For shame!

Judge me. I already know you are!

This store was the only store that I waited that long, if I didn't nearly have all my christmas presents bought at this store I wouldn't have waited. 

How freaking cute is this? $10. How could I not? 



#4:  We were a little bit delirious after Black Friday shopping. 


#5: Super productive saturday! All the presents are wrapped and we finally put up the tree. People, this never happens. It was weird that we are this together, when the hell did we grow up? The cats are super pumped about the tree. I'll let you know when all the bottom ornaments are chewed and digested. 



#6: So we didn't eat dinner tonight, just the edamame below because we've been eating Thanksgiving every meal since Thursday and really needed to tone it down. It was shameful. I've eaten pumpkin pie with ever meal. I justify this to myself because I only eat pumpkin pie one time per year. We don't eat normal thanksgiving foods for Christmas dinner, because we're weird. I threw out half of our food today. It's really time to get back on track. 


#7: There have been lots of naps, between us and the cats we are in the hibernating season. 


#8: AHHHHH! It's so real. 17 days left. I have one test left. ONE. I can't even believe time is going by so quick. 




#9: The hunt for a place to live in Los Angeles has commenced. I am getting really excited. However, I'm not excited for how much it is to rent there and not live in the hood. We are headed out there a little after the new year, to see what it's all about. I do have a Los Angeles bucket list already started. 

So far: 

  • Be a part of a live audience in Tosh.0 or Dancing with the Stars

  • Be an extra in something. I was almost an extra in Army Wives here in Charleston, but they kept delaying because of rain, and I had school, so that went down the toilet, but I'm shooting for something in LA. 

  • Go to a walk with the stars and take lots of pictures. 

  • Visit all the wineries I can. I've become quite the wine connoisseur these days, being able to afford something other than boxed wine and Boone's Farm. I'm gonna call that progress. 
  • Visit Google, I know it's in San Fran, but I do have an IN there, Matt's best friend works there. 
#10: Woah, we got to 10, it's been awhile. This video has been circulating forever. But every time I see it, I fall in love with it that much more. It's just so accurate. 


Alright y'all. I'll try to not make it another 3 weeks before I make here again. 

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday. Only 26 days until Christmas. 






Thursday, November 13, 2014

18 days in.

It's time for an update with my Advocare 24 day challenge!

I'm currently 18 days in and in the Max phase. I don't have an issue at this point with eating clean, I really haven't had many issues with that. It's all the supplements. I have to remember to take the supplements 30 minutes before breakfast and lunch, with a busy schedule it can be tough. Especially when you can't eat at the same time everyday.

I will tell you the very first day that I took these, I felt super jittery, like I was in a caffeine overload. So I delayed taking my spark until after I drank my shake in the morning. The last thing I needed was to be jittery in clinical! Always listen to your body folks, I really can't preach that enough.



However. I will tell you I still feel pretty good. Spark absolutely gets me through my days, and I really thought a protein shake in the morning wouldn't be enough to hold me over until my mid-morning snack, but it actually does! My absolute favorite has been the Chocolate mocha, I love the taste of coffee and this really helps me get over it.

I can tell you right now that day 25 will have coffee in it, with no ridiculous creamer of course. Still plan to keep that part clean.



Another struggle I seemed to be running into... after dinner... DESSERT. My goodness, the struggle is so hard. However, after some searching on Pinterest I did find an idea and put my own spin on it, Honey Cinnamon apples . 

Honey Cinnamon Apples Recipe 

2 Honeycrisp Apples 
1 tsp of cinnamon 
1 tsp of honey (I use Savannah Bee Company, Tupelo Raw honey)

Bake on 350 degrees for 15-30 minutes, leave in longer if you like softer apples. 

I actually threw in some fresh pineapple, that was amazing too. Heating up fruit does something to help the fruit release more natural sugar. 

Don't worry I did actually share with Matt. 




A couple things i've noticed about a clean eating lifestyle is: 

It's really hard to eat clean when you are busy. I absolutely now understand why people prep for the entire week. It not only keeps people on track, but you don't have to worry about not having something ready when you've had a super long day at work/school. 

Not everyone eats clean. It sucks when people around you are eating pizza and all kind of greasy food. WILLPOWER is hard. For instance on Veteran's day, Matt and I went to Chili's to eat because he could eat for free, I saw on the table over they were eating onion rings, and queso. I NEVER WANTED QUESO SO BAD IN MY LIFE. I then looked down at my mango-chile tilapia, and was a little sad. However, when we did leave, I felt amazing, I kept my willpower over eating crap. I never felt so good about our decision to start eating cleaner. 

After explaining my decision with my friends, some of my friends were like, "oh that's great I totally support you", and then some of my friends were like, "why are you even doing this to yourself?"

Yes, a lot of this was directed towards the no coffee aspect, but honestly I know everyone has their own opinion on what is right for them, and I really feel like this is right for me. I needed a change. I felt like crap eating crap. 

So far the challenge is going well, I've kept my focus on my nutrition and NOT the numbers on the scale. I actually haven't weighed myself since the first week of the challenge. 


Talk to me! 


Have you ever tried the 24 day challenge?

What is your favorite eating clean recipe?!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I'm feelin' like...

22. NOPE. Even better, 27.

Yes, my birthday was like Friday, on the 7th. Clearly, blogging took the back burner and champagne took the show. Yes. I'm still on the 24 day challenge,(but I cheated a lot with champagne and red wine).

Birthday trumps.

Matt took me out to Hall's Chophouse. If you are ever in Charleston, you must try this place. It's a tad bit pricy, but they did give me free champagne!

We kind of went all out. My steak was pretty normal, but Matt's steak had truffle butter.

TRUFFLE BUTTER ON STEAK. 
IT WAS AMAZING.

Did I feel like I was going to have a heart attack immediately? Absolutely. 

We also ordered lobster mac and cheese. It was incredible. Creamed corn. Before you turn your nose up and think we're 90, ordering creamed corn, you should try it. It was fabulous, I almost liked it more than the lobster mac and cheese...       Almost. 

And yes, because we're fatties at heart and can't help it, there are most definitely onion rings on the table as well. 

85% of the food on this table was taken home, thanks to the 24 day challenge, we could barely eat anything.





MMMMMM. Whiskey bread pudding. I had only one bite, but that bite was amazing. 




I am one of those people who never thought I would be older than 21. I mean I knew I would be, but never actually thought it would happen as fast as it did. 

At 27 I realized a few things: 

-I love who I've become. 

-I have never been more sure of myself. 

-I finally have an idea of what my career will be. 

-I'm better as a person. It's amazing what nursing has done for me. 

-I am much happier now than I have ever been, even in my early twenties. 



I hope you are amazing. 



Monday, November 3, 2014

8 days, no coffee.

Yes, you read that right. 



Don't worry, I'm just as surprised as you are. I've been inhaling Spark like it's my job. This waking up at 5am for clinical is killing me. 

This also means i've hung on to the 24 day challenge for at least 8 days (omfg only 16 more days to go). I'm still in the cleanse phase, and i'd like to say it's getting easier... when it's not the weekend. The weekend steals my will and makes me want to drink a bottle of red wine. No exaggerations. Did I mention no booze on the challenge?? Not like I drink too often to begin with, but when someone tells me I can't have something, it's all I think about.  

I have to say the hardest thing about this challenge has been finding new ideas for clean eating. I already know what you're thinking, "What, you don't have a pinterest?!" 

Well of course I do. BUT i'm 86% lazy for most of those clean eating recipes, if it doesn't require my George foreman. I need to get over being so lazy, and try new things. I do however plan all the meals we have at the beginning of the week. They just might all revolve around a protein in the george foreman and a random veggie in the oven. 

I think for the most part I've gotten over the fiber drink, as long as i've chugged it. Oh and one more thing, this cleanse portion really gets your tummy rumbling. My goodness. You will go to the bathroom more than you normally do, that's because the herbal cleanse pill has senna in it. 

Senna= bowels on the move. If you have digestive issues, the cleanse actually could help in that department. 

That's all I have to say about that. 

I have to say that I am sleeping a whole lot better. Like good quality sleep. I usually will wake up sleepy, but energized. After I stood on my feet for 8 hours at clinical today, I went on a three mile run when I got home. 


This thought would not have even crossed my mind in the slightest last week. I'm not saying my body is responding positively just because of Advocare's products, but I like that i'm sticking to the regimen of eating clean and training my body to eat at the appropriate times. It's crazy how your body reacts to what you feed it. 

I really thought not drinking coffee would be the end of my survival in life, and guess what? It's not. 

Will I stop drinking coffee altogether when this is over? HELL NO, I love the taste way too much, but I will share my caffeine intake with Spark from here on out. 

My hopes for this challenge are still pretty big. I really hope that I can make clean eating a really great habit for Matt and I. It's a practice that I think everyone should try at least once, even without the Advocare products. 

Here's to another week with no coffee! 

Stay fabulous, my friends! 




Sunday, November 2, 2014

7 reasons why November is fabulous.

I have to say November is my favorite month out of the entire year. For these reasons I will explain below:

1. I was born in November. Duh, I'm a little biased. However, 27 is coming whether I want it to or not and I am absolutely determined to make it the best year yet.

2. THANKSGIVING. I love this holiday. I feel that this is one of the least stressful holidays, because all you do is eat and don't have to worry about presents. Just being present to eat.

All of these were necessary.




I thought this was hilarious when I found it. I was like, oh is that Mariah Carey AND thanksgiving foods, this could be amazing. 



3. Black Friday. I LOVE deals. I get some kind of weird "omgimamazing" feeling that I cheated the system and got something for much cheaper than it would have been. Matt shares this too, this is why we are soul mates. 


4. November means that Christmas is less than 54 days away. You know I have a love for countdowns. I don't know about you, but I love the anticipation of christmas. PLUS, in November in our house, we put up the Christmas stuff the Thanksgiving day. 

5. It's still fall. AND it's getting sooo chilly!!! Ok, so chilly for the south. I actually turned on my heater yesterday. The high was 49 degrees. It was insane, but I was loving it. Clearly, I belong in a colder climate. 



6. It's still ok to have the famous PSL at Starbucks as well as all the Christmas flavors too. WINNING! I promise I just got the email. As soon as this 24 day challenge is over, I will be drinking coffee again. 

7. This happened. COMPOSITE PICTURES at school! Graduation is sooo close I can taste it! If you don't know what composites are, they are pictures that go in our graduating class picture for the school AND can be used for your licensing picture. 





I stopped at 7 because it's my favorite number and I really should be studying right now. 

Happy Sunday! 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fright nights with my Golden Girls.

"Thank you for being a friend. Traveled down the road and back again" never meant so much. 

One of my "golden girls" told me this and I absolutely couldn't agree more. I can't believe this Nursing school journey is nearly complete. 


Sometimes, you just meet  people in your life, who just make sense. 


Who completely understand you without question. 


Who take up for you when you really need it. 


Who always stay in your corner and never leave now matter what it is. 


When you find these people. Don't ever let them go. They are truly golden and that's just not 
something you find very often these days. As I write this, I am constantly thinking of all the tough 
times nursing school and life has thrown at me. Some stuff completely trivial and some stuff too heavy to carry on my own. 

When we were picking what we should dress up as for "fun". We didn't realize we were picking to be ladies that were best friends from a generation of people that literally stayed friends forever. In a generation where friends stuck together and didn't let trivial things come in between them because at the end of the day friendships were treated like gold. 

Believe me when I say this, I just had that realization two seconds before I wrote this. My hope and prayers are that we can continue this friendship for our lives, no matter where that leads us. 

How freaking fabulous are we?! From left to right: Sophia, Dorothy, Rose, and Blanche. 


I really feel like we nailed it. 


Blanche Devereaux needed a selfie. This fabulous frock was purchased at Goodwill and will promptly be donated right back! 


Let's turn back time to Wednesday night. 

On Wednesday night, we went to a haunted house/trail ride and it was soooo much fun. 
If you are ever in Charleston, SC near Halloween, you have to go to the Fright Nights at Boone Hall plantation.  

But first we had a nice nursing family dinner at Cracker Barrel. 



Yes. I'm still on a cleanse. It was difficult but I did find something to eat. OK, so I cheated. OH THE SHAME. I ate a corn muffin with BUTTA. I'm back on the wagon today and have moved on from the incident.


On to the fright night!!!











Here's to all the crazy. I love every minute. 

Hope you guys have an awesome Halloween and I hope you're having a blast. 





Monday, October 27, 2014

The first day is always the hardest.

Been up since 5 am, and no coffee. Hello Advocare 24 day challenge!

Yes, you read that right, NO COFFEE. This struggle is real.

For the past 3 weeks, I have literally eaten what ever the hell i've wanted, while it's been yummy... I've gained some weight and I don't just mean by the numbers on the scale. My mind is heavier as well. GUILT. My clothes are a little tighter and I have much less energy. I'm not at the physically active capacity, I was at three weeks ago. MORE GUILT.

I have some work to do. 
Rather than beat myself up, I will get over it and move on. 

Today was a clinical day and I was soooo tired this morning. 5am came wayyy too fast. I quickly made a cup of hot green tea with stevia and my spark. I am using Grape Spark! I think it's the best flavor out of all of them. I am still going to have something warm to drink in the morning to fill my coffee void.. It's a large void, people. I've read some people warm up their spark?! is that a thing? 

Weird.


I also coughed down my wonderful Peaches and cream fiber drink. Peaches and cream is exponentially better than the Citrus fiber drink. Just take my word for it. 


Breakfast: 1 egg, 2 egg whites, whole grain toast and half of a banana. After all the green tea and spark it was hard to think about eating anything else. Which is completely out of character for me, but I was rolling with it. 

Lunch: I conveniently was too tired to make lunch. Lame. It was hospital salad bar for lunch! It wasn't that bad, but I definitely will be making a tastier lunch for the next clinical day, this is the only way i'll get through this. 

Snack: I got home from clinical and was absolutely ravenous. I knew I had to get some kind of workout in, but I needed to replenish, I ate carrots and guac. Weirdest combo ever, but it kinda worked for me. I had another Spark and ran out the door for a workout.  

Dinner:  was pretty tasty though. I made chicken on the George Foreman and roasted asparagus and broccoli. I ate it as slow I could to be full as possible and not want for any sweets. This is my struggle. I eat WAY too fast. 

I probably won't post what I eat every day, but I do want to feel accountable some how, Don't worry you'll probably hear a lot of bitching and complaining. 


Eat Oreos for me, please?

Hope you rocked your Monday!