Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A Complete Guide to Cooking

I turned chicken to mush.
No, I am serious! I turned what should of been BBQ chicken to mush.

Mush: (N) a soft, wet, pulpy mess. 

There I was, being the poster-child for housewives, standing in the kitchen drinking a glass of wine when my Speedracer walked in from a long day at work. I hear his work boots smacking down on the tile floor as I hear "Wow, That smells great!" from the other room. Instant Tears. Just about the time he turned the corner into the kitchen I am throwing the pan into the sink and sobbing uncontrollably into my glass of merlot. 

My back was to him so he didn't see the downpour of tears falling into my glass, but I knew he is standing right behind me. I hear him ask "What did you make for dinner?" I slowly turned around and pointed to the trashcan. "Open it!" I mumbled while taking another gulp of wine! and then he asked the question that no man should ever ask a woman who just, attempted, to make him a nice dinner. 

"What is it?"  
Because yes, it was that MUSH(ed)

"Chicken." *sips wine*
"THAT was Chicken? What did you do to it?"

I cried. 
He laughed. 
I cried more. 
He followed up by saying..
"I'll get changed and we can see what else we have."

10 Minutes later we were in the truck and on our way to a local eatery because I refused to look at our kitchen a second longer. My arms were crossed and I was huffing to myself while staring out the window. He laughed and said 

"So..You want to tell me what happened?"
"Did you defrost it all the way?"

I whipped my head around so fast I think I broke my neck!

"Of course I defrosted it all the way. I'm not an idiot."

He laughs.
"Babe! I'm just asking."

I huffed again and crossed my arms.

" I didn't get the cooking genes like my mom and sister!
So either we don't get married or you have to deal with having
a bowl of cereal for every meal for all of eternity."

He laughed.
" I think I will marry you and take my chances." 

I rolled my eyes and huffed.

It's been a little over 6 years since mush chicken and I have only cooked chicken maybe twice since then. That wasn't the last meal my SR came home to find in the trash though. I went through a phase where everything I would cook, I would immediately throw in the garbage. I just didn't get the cooking gene. Mom has tried to send me the easiest recipes she has and I still mess them up. Yes, I mess recipes up that are as easy to follow as blinking your eyes. And any recipe that I do have and have tried to follow, I still find myself calling my mom about 15 times until the meal is done to ask questions that are ridiculous. And all the while my older sister is sending me pictures of chimichurri steak with garlic potatoes au gratin. Look Sis, I made captain crunch...again!

Now let me give you a quick history of this husband of mine. He was raised partly by his Grandparents and Partly by his Father - with the help of his Aunt and Uncle. He spent a lot of time learning how to cook from his Grandma, the woman he calls Mom. This woman is a saint, a freaking saint I tell you - and the patience she must of had with my husband when he was a kid is only something I can imagine. 

On the other hand, my father-in-law went to culinary school. So my husband spent a lot of time learning from his father about the ins and outs of cooking in the kitchen. The stories my husband would tell me of all the times they'd throw something together with the ingredients they had on hand; and all the home-made pizza nights they'd do. I love hearing how much these times in the kitchen with his Dad had an impact on him. I also have to be selfish here and say, I'm glad he likes cooking because at least one of us enjoys it. I'm also one of those woman who enjoy walking into the kitchen and seeing a man be all crafty with food. He Cooks, I eat. It's a win win situation here! Find you a man who loves to cook - Husband him up ASAP!

A while back I found a "Miss Fostino's 1st Grade Cook Book" - a little recipe book that SR's 1st grade class created full of their favorite recipes. As I was flipping through it I came across a recipe that made me laugh because this kid totally knew what was up when it came to cooking. It read:

How to Make Cereal:
Pour Milk and Cereal in Bowl.
Eat it.

Devon, Age 5.

Devon is my Speedracer's actual name. and it's safe to say - I knew I loved him even before we met. He knows just my speed of cooking. I mean, how brilliant of a 5 year old was he? He knows how to perfectly craft a meal that is pleasing to everyone and it's a meal that is totally acceptable to have at any time of day!

Now Ladies, I know you're thinking - Okay, this is the part of the story when Ashlee pulls a rabbit out of a hat and tells us she finally came up with a easy way to cook chicken in under an hour that is topped with a homemade lemon-rosemary sauce with ingredients that I had picked from my personal garden.

And so...Here I say...A Recipe...

To the girlfriend crying into your wine glass because you are trying to cook your boyfriend a good meal so that maybe, just maybe you'll get married since of course your only hope to wifehood is through knowing how to cook. Spark Note: It's 2018 not 1950. No Fear My Sister...You'll get Married anyways. A way to a mans heart is through his stomach. Food is the trick. well...not mush chicken, but you know...Other Foods. 

So, here is my recipe for you on those nights when you feel defeated and your kitchen is full of smoke because you burnt the chicken that was supposed to come off the grill 10 minutes ago and now it's laying in your garbage looking like a pile of rotten cottage cheese...

How to Make Cereal:
Pour Milk and Cereal in Bowl.
Eat it.

Ashlee, Age 28. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Keep Going - Nobody Gives a Shit!

Let's cut the crap and just get straight to the point of this post.. 

Nobody gives a shit about how you feel or What you have to say!

Weren't expecting that one were you? 
Yeah me either, but here we are. 
Good Morning! Welcome!

For as far back as I can remember, and that memory leads back to elementary school, I have always had a label attached to me. Now I know you're thinking..Damn Ash, you are such an individual I've never heard of anyone in the history of ever being labeled before. I'm not clueless, I know that I am not the only one out there who is carrying around a bag of words in my purse that I've collected over the years. But, this is my memory so stick with me here...

I'm not going to lie to you, my biggest defense mechanism growing up was one of two things: Stay silent and ignore or Fight Fire with Fire. There was no in-between. But I picked my battles and I think it was better that way. Here is another truth: I had no backbone growing up, I have talked about this before. I would literally lay down in the middle of the street and get ran over by a tractor before I decided to fight back. I hated confrontation and I still do. I learned quickly, around my teenage years, that sometimes people want to see how far they can push you just so they can watch you snap out of their own amusement. And once I learned that, I became aware of which battles I thought were worth it or not. Spark Note: Little to None were worth it. So, I took about 5 leaps back and just stuck to my own. No feeding the wolf, all is well. And yet,  by me making the decision to step back and not fight back - I was labeled. Teenagers - They Suck. It's a lose-lose when you're a teenager. Spark Note: People suck when you're an adult too..

Because then I was an adult and I had shed all of those labels off. I had emptied my purse and left my baggage behind somewhere between the day I graduated High School to The first day I walked into my first college class. Because you know, You're SO adult now that you're in college. *rolls my eyes and chuckles* A few years later, around 20, I realized that I in fact wasn't so adult, but I tried. And then. Labels. Label after Label started filling my purse again and I could feel my spine chipping away one vertebrae after another and I fell back into that defense mode of a girl with no backbone again. I willingly just laid back down and waited for the tractor. 

Luckily, this only lasted a few years before I stood back up and thought - Screw this. I am Ashlee. and that should be enough. No, it is enough. Sometimes I don't say enough, Sometimes I say too much and Sometimes it's the wrong thing because I get too emotionally involved. I still pick my battles because I am a firm believer that not everything requires a comment and not everything deserves our attention. If you don't feed the wolf, it won't have a reason to bite you. Around the time we got married I told SR that I was taking  a weed-wacker and flinging that baby left and right to get rid of all that wasn't worth it, needed, or brought happiness. It worked, tremendously. And I've spent the last 4 years doing spring cleaning with weed killer and a weed-wacker in hand. I am a modern-day Kill Bill. HEAR ME ROAR! and yet - Labeled. 

And then it hit me - Nobody gives a shit how you feel and what you have to say! Not a damn person on this planet. Truly. 

It's in our human nature to try to defend ourselves and I get it, because we should. But some people take defending ourselves as feeding the argument. Some people get off on getting a response, and some people take what they want and twist your words. And that's just how it is. Nobody cares what you have to say. People are going to see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear. So here is what I think we should all do, because this is what I have done for years now - Shit, the last 8 months alone - I stopped giving a shit what people had to say. And I stopped explaining myself. I stopped. That's that. I stopped. I drop kicked the shit out of that hungry wolf and I happily skipped my way to grandmothers house. Guess what? Labeled. But Guess what? Nobody Cares! 

We are always going to be labeled - someone is going to try to define us and someone is going to try to stop us in our tracks - That's life. I've learned that it's totally okay to take a weed-wacker and go crazy. We are going to be labeled anyways so we might as well make it fun and entertaining.

"Nobody can make you feel Inferior without Your Consent". - Elenor Roosevelt. 

and it's true - nobody. So backbone or not, keep going! That little mantra came to me a few weeks ago when I was drinking my coffee on our porch. Keep Going! When you find your path, it makes it easier to keep going. When you find who you are and you stop explaining who that person is to everyone else, it makes it easier to keep going. When you stop picking up the labels, it makes it easier to keep going. and when you realize that Nobody gives a shit...It makes it easier to not give a shit either! So, Keep Going!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

How To: Intention Setting

Intention Setting has always been one of my favorite practices of Self-Care. Yes, it's a form of self-care. For as long as I can remember I have always been a list writer; I love the action of crossing things off my lists as I get them done - there is such a freedom in it. I also love the feeling of being organized that comes with writing lists. I will find a reason to write a list just so I can feel in control. *that might actually be a problem. But never the less, writing a list of intentions is one of my favorite past times and current times. And I find it more helpful, useful, and effective than goal setting or resolutions. As the months of this 2018 year are winding down, I find this post will come at a great time. Hopefully. But I find myself setting intentions by the days, weeks, months, and year. That could be the over achiever in me but hey, it works. And with this New Moon in Virgo tomorrow I know a lot of us will be setting intentions with this moon. Or maybe you are interesting in setting intentions for this New Moon and this is your very own "How To" Guide. #yourewelcome

Before we get into how to set intentions that are effective. Let me briefly breakdown the difference between Intentions and Goals; and how often the confusion of these two things can set you up for failure. 

Goal: the object of a person's ambition or effort.

When we think of a "Goal" we are simply thinking of the outcome. For Example, My Goal is to be a Salon Owner. That is my future goal/want/desire. My End Goal, Where I see myself in the future. 

Intention: a thing intended; to aim or plan, purpose, an action. 

An Intention is the physical action you are going to take. An intention is your subconscious thoughts in their purest form. An intention is best described as I, I am, I will. It's an authentic, pure vow you are making to yourself to DO and TO BE. 

The Reasons We Fail:
If you find yourself a week, month, year, three years from now and you still haven't manifested the vision you've set for you life, It could be for a few reasons that are easily fixable. When we connect ourselves with a GOAL what we are saying is "I will be ____ WHEN I achieve that goal." - I will be happier when I lose the weight, I will be worthy when I am the CEO of that company. I will be when. And that is the problem. I will-when. We are setting a picture for how WE will be WHEN our goal is met, which isn't a bad thing but it's not your reality currently. We aren't looking at who we ARE in the present time. We aren't listening to our higher self and what our intuition is telling us. INTENTION is a thought, feeling, and physical action from the deepest depth of your soul. I AM, I DO, I HAVE, I WILL DO.

Connecting the Two: 
The intention is putting a plan in to action and using each intention as stepping stones that will lead you to your overall vision. If your vision (goal) is to be a Lawyer. What are you going to do to get there? 

The best way to find this answer is to meditate on it. I know, I know - Don't roll your eyes at me - it works. Trust Me on this! Meditation is a practice that I do every time I set Intentions. This is one of my favorite rituals for the New Moon when I feel most connected to set intentions to be manifested. You might feel uncomfortable at first, even feel a little silly, but the more you practice this technique, the more you'll feel a sense of clarity and calmness. Give it a Try.

Intention Meditation.
The main goal of Meditation is to release tension, open your mind and be present in your thoughts. So, Sit yourself in a comfortable position or lay down in a quiet space, close your eyes and let your mind wander for 3-5 minutes (to start - as I use this practice for 7-10 min). When you are ready, focus on your breathing, with every exhale - release tension - in your jaw, neck, back, feet. When you feel the release, begin to visualize what you want to manifest into your life (in the example, a Lawyer). Now visualize how you will feel when you get your first job as a Lawyer.  Are you happy? Grateful? Do you feel a sense of Pride? When you have this answer, focus back on your breathing for a cycle or two of Inhale and Exhale. Once you are focused on your breathing, begin to think of the actions you can take to get closer to your vision (goal). And as you do, think of each action as a step up a staircase bringing you closer and closer your vision. When you are ready, take another minute or two to find your center again and breathe another cycle or two in inhale-exhale. Slowly open your eyes and say "Thank You, Thank You, Thank You" - as a sign of gratitude towards the clarity you just received. Now you are Ready to Write out your intentions. 


Remember, Intentions are actions that will help manifest what you desire. The best way to be connected to these intentions is to find a quiet space that is relaxing and comfortable to you. For a lot of us, that is our bedroom; for some it could be a home office, our living room, our a patio outside. Or maybe it's at your favorite park under your favorite tree. Wherever it is - Go to that place. For me, it's in the confines of my home. Sometimes it's when I'm nestled up in my  bed, sometimes it's when I'm under the stars sitting on our front porch, or sometimes it's laying by my meditation space in our living room. But it's always quiet. I like to light candles, incense, and make the space one that brings me comfort and warmth.

Have a pen and paper - a cellphone or laptop will do, but I find it more effective when you can write it out. I write all of my intentions in my notebook that way I can always refer back to it and  I know it won't get lost or accidentally deleted. Everyone sets intentions differently - I get intense - I am a color coder. I always suggest writing your intentions in pen, permanent marker is best, this way you are sealing your intentions like a contract to yourself and to the universe. 

Your list of Intentions does not have to be long - they can be 2-5 or 5-7. I suggest keeping the list on the shorter side that way you can manifest (do) less with more focus. I usually do about 5 intentions, six if I'm feeling dangerous that day. *Also your intentions do not have to be about gaining something, it could be about releasing something & letting go.* But always remember - with setting the intention to release something, know that you are gaining something in return. 

I am
I accept
I will
I release
Some examples are:

I am grateful for all the things that I have in my life.
I will drink water today so I am healthy tomorrow.
I release _____ and I accept ____ into my life.
I am showing up every day to better myself and honor myself.
I accept the inward flow of self-love and acceptance.  

Whatever you choose to write as your Intentions - just remember to set them from a place of pure, good intent; and be specific and clear. And if at ANY reason while setting an intention you feel uneasy or negative about it in any way - don't write it down. Not to say it won't be an intention eventually, it just isn't the time right now - and that's okay. We must be grateful for what we have NOW and what we have control over in this present moment. The only way we can manifest what we want is to be grateful for what we have and in return we will gain from that. Ask and you shall receive, this could be dangerous so once again be very careful, be specific with your intentions, and then once you have written them out - seal it with a repeat of "Thank You, Thank You Thank You" as a act of being thankful for all the blessings you are about to receive. Sign your full name, first middle and last, and then let the universe do it's thing. Close your journal, fold that piece of paper up and put it in a envelope, and don't obsess over it. 

Just remember to listen to your intuition - Open your heart up to listen to your highest self and the flowing energy around you. You'll know what intentions are great and you'll feel your visions manifesting the second you give them wings to fly. Continue to be grateful and watch your life transform. 

Love Yourself, Love Other People
Love, Love, Love!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Astrology Talk: The Introduction

Over the course of the last several months, I have been more vocal about my interest in Astrology. On my Instagram I discuss the moon phases, the zodiac, and the day to day movements of the planets. I wasn't sure anyone would listen nor would they be interested in what I always seemed to think of as "a weird quirk," of mine. But to my surprise, I've had great feedback and many questions about individual signs and what specific things mean; and I thought, Maybe I could bring astrology to my blog? - This could be a way to have longer, more in-depth discussions and serve as a platform to have more conversations and reach a (hopefully) wider audience. Before I dive right into everything Universal and Astrology related, I want to answer she F.A.Q's about my background with the Astro world so we can better dive in together with understanding. 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Have You Always Been into Astrology?

A current trend that seems to be popular is the Horoscope. I see everywhere now that people, predominantly teenagers, are starting to dig more into their Zodiac. And that's great, and I think it's important. So while, Yes, it could appear that my love for Astro is recent due to the rapid increase of Zodiac acknowledgement...My interest started long before this current worldly fad. I remember always being the kid who loved to look up at the stars and be under the moon - it was a whole different world and I was intrigued. I just thought it was part of my free-spirit, hippie child nature.For me, the real love started in 6th Grade. 2001. and I was on our schools "6th Grade Camp" camping trip. There is one specific night where we were all outside sitting under the stars and learning about the constellations and the planets. Hercules, Orion, Pegasus, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor and the name of the brightest start was Polaris. Of course when you're breaking it down to children it's  taught as, "Orions Belt, Hercules like the movie, Big Dipper, Little Dipper". I was absolutely fascinated and probably the only one as my classmates were excited to just be out past our bedtimes. But I remember realizing how big of a world is out there, and how there is life beyond our little home we call Earth. Crazy right?

When Did you Start Learning about Astrology?

After that, I spent time getting familiar with the constellations, the stars, and the zodiacs. I found out that I was a Gemini and I hit the ground running with it. I cannot tell you how many times throughout my life I refer to my Gemini Side. If you talk to me in person than you have totally heard me say it at least once but I'm going to take a leap and say you've heard me say "I'm a Gemini" or "It's the Gemini in me,"  more than once. And it's true - I am a Gemini to my core and proud of it. And while most of the time the reply is "I'm not into the zodiac so I don't know what that means," It still feels good to say and sometimes I find that person goes home and looks up what they are. *(My Jedi mind trick). I started with getting my hands on all the books I could that were in the library of our little elementary school. Sadly, my 6th grade teacher was a History Buff so our specific room had more books about war and mummies. When I got to middle school I was excited to have a full dedicated class to science; of course that backfired when I realized it wasn't going to be a class strictly on astrology; I really enjoyed that part of the lesson though. Still, I found myself in the library with a good astrology book. This is also the year that I learned all about Gemstones and Crystals, which was important seeing as I got my first set of crystals in 5th grade. (more on that later)

What is your favorite part of Astro? (moon, stars, planets, etc)

As I got older, year after year of science class - I found myself diving deeper into the Zodiac and everything Astro. But, as kids can be, if something is seen as weird we suppress it. So nobody knew about my love for the stars. Sleeping outside on our trampoline was my favorite because I got to point out constellations, I got to remind myself of the planet names, and I got to feel the energy from the moon. I'm a firm believer in the moon, it's actually a problem. But not really, just a deep rooted obsession. I continued to set out to learn as much as I could. I got books, which I hid behind my dresser, and by this time, the internet was a big thing - Hey Myspace! So I used Google to the fullest advantage. I learned all about the phases of the moon and all the metaphysical beliefs and universal powers behind each phase. This is when I started my practice of living by the moon in conjunction with my horoscope of my Gemini Zodiac. I was around 15 or 16. This is when I discovered what a Natal Birth Chart was. I have a post coming on this soon! And when I was able to discover how in sync the Zodiac/Horoscope to the Moon/Planets was - Everything Clicked - and we've been in a committed relationship ever since. 

What made you start talking about Astrology?

If you are an avid reader of my blog, or you follow me on any platform of social media - Then you know that I've been going through quite a bit of change recently. And one of those things is falling back into a relationship with myself. Self-Care and Self-Love appear to be the most important thing in my life right now and they totally are. SR and I had a conversation about my confidence recently. I've allowed myself to dig deeper into what makes me happy and what I want out of life; for myself and for our marriage. With that I have had to do a lot of soul searching and I've had to change a lot of things up which included cutting a lot of things out of my life that no longer felt comfortable being in my space. People, Places, and Materialistic Things. All Gone, like a pick-axe to a Ice Cube. Gone. And I am being reacquainted with all the little parts of be that I once loved - Like my love for astrology. That's what made me start talking about Astrology. I let go of all the fears, the doubts, and the low-self esteem. I'm in a current phase of finding my place and talking about Astrology is just a small, but important part of that adventure. 

I have so many topics to discuss, so many things to share - and I would love nothing more than to begin this Astro-Conversation with all of you. Let's learn together, Let's support each other in the special little things that we all love. And Let's Explore. 

How does Astrology Interest You? What's Your Zodiac? Let's Chat...