Christmas Decorating

Wednesday, November 26, 2008 | | 3 comments

My parents came up to Columbia today to help me decorate the apartment for Christmas. We have a designer tree of red and gold ornaments in our living room, two red velvet stockings, garland and gold bows outside on our patio, and a tree of family ornaments that Eric and I accumulated growing up. I just love the holiday season!

Mom's Birthday Celebration

Monday, November 24, 2008 | | 1 comments
Friday night I joined my grandma, aunt, mom, dad, and husband at Oscars in JC to celebrate my mom's 50th birthday!! We had a blast eating at a 50s diner for her 50th birthday (get it?!) My grandma and aunt Tammi were in town because my grandma had cataract surgery...hence the ultra cool sunglasses. Saturday morning we got up bright and early to shop the Heisinger Home Bake Sale, a family tradition for the holidays. Also on Saturday we celebrated Ethel's 80th birthday (Eric's grandma). It was the weekend of big celebrations. Now it is Monday and back to work. :(

The Cosmic Universe

Thursday, November 20, 2008 | | 4 comments

I think the cosmic universe and the stars and the planets are all aligned for me right now. I've been very stressed out about whether or not I should quit my job at Ann Taylor to open up more time to research for my thesis, write papers to be published, and prepare for a future in education. I've been thinking about quitting for a while now, but I was afraid my manager would get upset that I was leaving right before the holidays. (For those of you who haven't worked retail, I equate this to an accountant leaving two weeks before tax mom said this was an exaggeration.) So rather than quitting I've been cutting back hours, ignoring papers to be published, and putting off research for my thesis. Yesterday I decided I couldn't take it anymore so I put in my two weeks. You know what my manager said? "It is okay, Ashley. We will miss you, but we understand. You have to do what is best for you." I about died. I've been stressing over how to tell my manager and she handled it beautifully.

Next, I've been dealing with a problem student who hasn't been showing up for class. He has an excuse for everything he misses and thus far I've been very lenient. Finally his absences began to reflect in his work and he failed an assignment. I spoke with my adviser on the matter and she said she would support my decision. I knew he was going to be upset, it was only a matter of time. Eventually he did confront me, and sure enough argued that it was an unfair grade. I didn't have time to talk to him at the moment, so I sent him a very direct email saying it was non-negotiable. I assumed he would take it to my adviser and complain to her, but you know what his response was? "You're right. I'm sorry." That's it! No argument, no wanting to explain his side of the story, nothing!

So the cosmic universe is on my side right now. You know what you should do when the stars and planets are in your favor? Buy a lottery ticket. And that is exactly what I did.

Amazing Art

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 | | 2 comments

This man's art is absolutely incredible. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, but check out his website for more information.

Ann Taylor

Rumors are going around that Ann Taylor gift cards will be worthless after January 1 and that they are closing 117 stores nationwide. Although Ann Taylor is closing many stores, they are also opening stores. The phrase we keep hearing from headquarters is that they are trying to be proactive dealing with the current economy and closing "lesser" performing stores, not necessarily "poor" performing stores. In addition, Ann Taylor is also opening many stores, especially a new branch called Ann Taylor Loft Outlet, which I am very excited about! I'm not saying that stores aren't struggling during this economic downturn. It has been a tough season but Ann Taylor seems to be coming out on top. I hope this helps clear a few things up about the email that has been circulating.

Anywhere in the World?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 | | 3 comments
If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

Right now, I would go to Switzerland. Today in class, Dr. Dickerson, talked about her trips to Switzerland when she was doing a lot of work with the WTO and showed some amazing pictures. The architecture is utterly stunning and the landscape is breathtaking. Who would have guessed such a gem existed in a world of Paris, NYC, and Tokyo.

Some interesting facts about Switzerland:
1. They have four official languages: German, French, Romansh and Italian
2. It holds the headquarters for the World Trade Organization in Geneva
3. Swiss cheese isn't necessarily from Switzerland, it simply resembles Emmental cheese (which is a cheese from Switzerland.)

Girl's Weekend in Kansas City

Monday, November 17, 2008 | | 1 comments
I had the most fantastic weekend with my best friends, Beth and Stephanie. We've been friends since middle school...(can you believe that, girls?!)...and have been best friends ever since. Even though we may go weeks without talking, when we do get together it is like not a single day has gone by. So Beth is living in Kansas City now and Steph and I drove up to stay with her.

Friday- I met Beth at the end of her work day at the school where she teaches first grade. She gave me a tour and showed me her adorable classroom. I made her pose like a teacher at her desk so I could take a picture. She has a beautiful school, especially for the elementary level!

Saturday- We had an entire day of shopping at the Legends and a little time at Nebraska Furniture Mart. We found wickedly good deals, Beth and I got pants from Ann Taylor for $3! Isn't that insane? That evening we went to the Power and Light District in KC.

Sunday- We woke up early Sunday morning and went to breakfast at this fantastic locally owned place. Their cinnamon rolls and sticky rolls (which came with a steak knife stuck in them) were HUGE! I had their "award winning" biscuits and gravy, Beth braved the sticky roll, and Steph had a large order of french toast.

Dreams and Goals

According to, my birthday color is white. This means:

You dream and have goals in your life. You get jealous easily and few things make a big impression on you. You are thought of highly by others.

So what are these dreams and goals of my life that my birthday color says I have? For those of you who have facebook, you've seen the following list of "Things I Want to do in my Life." I am definitely a dreamer (usually during the day) and a planner (with 1-, 5- and 10-year life goals.) My dreams and goals change constantly, but this is what I'm dreaming of today...

Things I want to do in my life:
1. Be a muse for someone

2. Get a masters
3. Get a PhD

4. Travel the World

5. Become a licensed massage therapist

6. Learn all the romance languages

7. Found a charity

8. Write a book

9. Learn to cook gourmet food

10. Learn to sew

11. Sell my black and white photographs in poster stores

12. Go to cosmetology school

13. Teach at a college or university (check)

14. Own my own business (check)

15. Get married (check)

My first Meme

Friday, November 14, 2008 | | 1 comments

I've never heard of a meme, nor do I even know how to pronounce it. Yet, I was tagged to one so I guess that means I should participate.

Here's how you play:

* Pass this on to five blogging friends. (I didn't pass this on, but if you like the idea, copy it onto your blog)
* Open the closest book to you, not your favorite or most intellectual book, but the book closest to you at the moment, to page 56.
* Write out the 5th sentence, as well as two to five sentences following that...

Unfortunately, the closest book to me is The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman. I'm reading it, this time, for my class Social Changes and Trends in the Rural Sociology department. I've already read it three times for other classes, I'm tired of the book. So anyway, the 5th sentence on page 56 says:

Tens of millions of people around the world became programmers to make the PC do whatever they wanted in their own languages. Windows was eventually translated into thirty-eight languages [with more being added all the time]. People were able to become familiar with the PC in their own language.

Fascinating, I know. The book is pretty interesting, but page 56 was rather disappointing. If you haven't read the book, I suggest looking at a section called "The Steroids." It will get you hooked.

So there it is, my first meme. Hope you enjoyed!

New Vintage Poster

Thursday, November 13, 2008 | | 3 comments

We are making progress in our apartment, we just got new curtains and this fantastic vintage poster! Can you believe Eric actually picked it out? He is really into vintage things (mostly old sports memorabilia) and suggested that we get this poster for our kitchen. We had this big blank wall so the poster really fills in the large mass of white. I don't have the curtains hung, yet. I'll post pictures of those later.

The Library

As a graduate student at the University of Missouri, I spend many hours at the Ellis library. I arrive everyday by 8am and often don't leave until 10pm. I spend many of those hours researching for my thesis, reading books, scanning microfilm, flipping through newspapers and magazines, and surfing through online databases. My favorite room is 201, the quiet study. It has huge picturesque windows, no one talks on their phones, there are no computers and therefore no sound of people typing, the silence is intimidating to a lot of students so many people avoid the area. It is the perfect place to read. The best part of Ellis library, however, is that about 20 years ago my Dad also made this Library his home. He worked on his thesis here, studied to get his specialist, and finally completed his dissertation in this very library. I feel like it is a family tradition to work here, read here, and study here. I hope it brings me the same success that my Dad has had in his career.

My Home

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 | | 1 comments
Eric and I have been decorating our home so I thought I'd post some pictures. We will be decorating for the Holidays in a few weeks (can you believe it is that time, already!?) so I'll post those photos later. It is amazing that we found time to concentrate on making our apartment feel more like a home. Between Eric working full time and going to night classes (yes, he is a full-time student, too!) and my three jobs and graduate school...we don't have much time beyond work and school. Nevertheless, we found time and here is the product of my hard work. (Really Eric did all the hard work but I told him where everything goes.)

We have a new vintage poster on its way to our home for the kitchen. We are still trying to find an armoire that we like (and can afford) for our television. We are still wanting a new bedroom set, but that will probably have to wait until I'm done with graduate school. Things are finally coming together!

Trick or Treaters

Monday, November 3, 2008 | | 1 comments

I waited all night for trick-or-treaters this past Friday...not a single costumed kid came to our door. I called my parents every hour to see if they had gotten kids yet, and of course they had. Around 9pm Eric and I heard a knock on our door and we had four trick-or-treaters begging for candy! They were so lucky they came, they got a variety bag of chocolate candy each. I took a picture of my only trick-or-treaters to remember my first Halloween in my own place.
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