Oh What A Life

Made it through two weeks of the new year! Phew! I was worried. School is already getting me down, so I’ve decided to reminisce on all the great things that happened to me in 2017. Not to dwell on the past or anything, but I need a pick me up.

Here are a few of my favorite moments from last year:

Groundhog’s Day Redemption


Our first party of the year! It was so fun to go all out for an event nobody ever thinks about. We got out the fur and cheap champagne and a good playlist, and it was a hit! We invited so many of our friends–most of them didn’t come, but the eclectic group of people who did come brought their friends. It was a lot of random people mixed with people we all cared about. It was so much fun.

AOII Dad’s Weekend

This was the first year (at least in a while) that AOII did a Dad’s Weekend–planned by our one and only Taylor. I didn’t think my dad would want to come, but when the shirt designs came out, I decided that maaaaybe I would I ask. Turns out he did want to come and he wanted a shirt. Sweet!

I got to spend good quality time with my dad. We went to happy hour one night for a drink and appetizers and just talked for a long time. I learned about all the pranks his family used to pull on each other and the wacky things that used to happen to them.


Tori, Mads, and Kristin’s dads came too (and Tori’s mom, my fav person!), so we all got to bond and check things off of our fun “to do” list Taylor made up of things around downtown. It was a lot of fun, and I’m so glad I asked my dad to come up for the weekend.

Spring Break Wine Tasting

After a few years of watching my mom and JoDee go wine tasting in Paso Robles without me and my underage butt, it was finally time to join the party. And Gracie came up too! We hopped from winery to winery tasting and laughing and eating a lot of cheese and crackers–ahem, I mean, charcuterie.

It was all fun and games until we went to church a liiiiittle drunk and my mom expressed a tad too loudly that she needed a diet coke, which cause Gracie and I to laugh so hard we had to leave for a few minutes to collect ourselves. And then it was margaritas with the priest! Being Catholic is somethin’ else sometimes.


But it was such a good time! So many laughs, so many good wines, so many smiles.

The Great Toboggan Debacle of 2017

Thanks to my lovely little with a very nice house in Mammoth, I got to spend a low key weekend in a snowy wonderland. Madeline and Danielle spent most of the time snowboarding, while I stayed snuggled up in the house doing homework and watching 13 Reasons Why. It was so nice to get some alone time!

The best part was that I came up with an idea for Book 3. I woke up on the couch and just completely fell mesmerized by the falling snow. It was absolutely wonderful. Such a peaceful time to really reflect and get things done.


Tori’s First Rodeo and Pozo Saloon Camping

Tori was the first Frat Rat after me to turn twenty-one. It was really exciting to finally have someone to go downtown (and split an Uber fare) with. I had a few friends old enough, but not a roommate. It was such a fun time to really get to be a part of my great friend’s bar crawl, and thanks to Zach it went pretty smoothly.


This day was also special because it’s the day I met Matthew for the first time!! Wow, what a day.

That weekend we hit the Pozo Saloon for a night of country music and margaritas. We got there early and set up camp, ate snacks, and drank cheap beer. It was hot and I got badly sunburned, but it was so much fun. So many Cal Poly students were there getting their country jam on. It was such a good time! We froze that night, even with the layers we brought, and we all felt hungover terrible the next day, but it was a weekend for the books.


San Francisco Day Trip with Matthew

Over the summer, right before Matthew started his big boy job in San Jose, I drove up to visit him in his new place. One of the days that I was there, we rode the CalTrain into the city to explore and go to a Giants game–I know, how could I?


We walked all over the city and saw all the touristy things and some non-touristy things. Matthew showed me where he used to intern, we ate at his all time favorite sandwich place (and I must say it was delicious), and we took a cute picture in Union Square. I got to spend so much quality time with Matthew, and I was so, so happy to spend the whole day with him.

Quickie Trip to Tennessee


Wedding bells were ringing for Natalie’s cousin this summer, and I got to be her plus one. An excuse to go to Tennessee with my best friend? Count me in! There is so much green it is crazy. It rained the first night we were there–which ruined my new copy of Lord of the Rings–but we still hit the hot tub. It was so weird but so fun.

The wedding itself was beautiful. Small and quaint and lovely. There was a weeks-old baby I got to hold for a long time. So many pictures and so much love. In lieu of a cake, the couple had different flavored cupcakes, and they were so good! I still think about them sometimes. So add good food the list, right after love.


My favorite adventure buddy, Amy, tried so hard to win tickets to the album release party for Niall Horan (former One Direction Irishman and all-around adorable person) at iHeartRadio. Who wins things ever, though? Nobody!

Oh wait, except Amy!!

The stars aligned perfectly and she won two tickets to the mini concert, and she invited me! The plus was that the venue is basically down the street from my house, so we could just stay for free. But we drove down, waited in line, and got ready for one of the greatest experiences ever! We were pretty close to the front and had a good view. The music was wonderful and Niall was such a cutie, as always.


What a highlight!!!

Obscure Barbie Night Out

Halloweekend is a big deal in college, and being our last (cue the tears), we wanted to make it count. Our plan? Obscure Barbies. Goth Barbie, Doctor Barbie, Astronaut Barbie, etc. It’s not too easy to pull off, so ours weren’t perfect or too obscure (except Madeline), but we still went as all out as we could. Kristin was Pop Star Barbie, I was Jazz-ercise Barbie, Madeline was Paleontologist Barbie, and Tori was Doctor Barbie.


The lines were long and we got separated, but Tori and I ended up in Blast Taproom (meaning that yes, one of the walls is just a line of beer taps), with a few of our friends. There was live music and good food and an array of tastes. Sadly, no gin, but it was still a fun time!

I’m a Great-Grandmother!


Last year, Danielle took a little, and I didn’t get to meet her until after I got back from abroad. I missed the whole reveal experience: the revealing itself, the pictures, the dinner at Pluto’s (RIP to our place!!), the drive-in movie. It’s the best part about getting a new addition to the family. But this year, my grand-little Jen took a little of her own, Jordan. She’s so cute and fun! I mean, to be honest, I don’t know her that well, but she handle our crazy family that night like a pro. My branch just keeps getting cuter and cuter!


This goes without saying, but seeing Hamilton at the Pantages Theatre in LA was such an amazing experience, and I will remember it forever. The cast, the music, the sets, the choreography, IT WAS ALL SO WONDERFUL. I cried.


And that’s all I have to say about that.

Wow, what a great year! So many fantastic things happened and I met some pretty great people (like Matthew!). My life has changed so much, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

I’m ready for whatever comes next!



One Foot in Front of the Other

Do you hear that?

It’s the sound of 7 billion New Year’s resolutions being made, being kept, and (already) being broken. I’ve made a list of mine, and I’m doing my absolute best not to slip up. I know it has only been a few days, but sometimes that’s all it takes to break a resolution.

One of my big ones was to blog more often–because that it something I really need to work on. I didn’t do too much blogging this past year (or the last, other than my abroad posts), so I definitely want to put more effort into that. This website has helped me through a lot of hardships just by being here. There’s just something soothing about writing down my secrets and publishing them for the world to read–even if I only have, like, ten real readers.

But that’s not really the point.

A lot of things happened in 2017, good and bad. Politics are chaotic and kind of make me want to pull my hair out.

Hurricanes and floods and fires destroyed homes and livelihoods, and I pray for those affected every day. The families…I can’t even imagine. I drive up the coast and see the hillsides all burnt to a crisp. It’s horrible. I’m thankful for the men and women who fight to keep us safe.

There was a sickening number of people who came forward about being sexually assaulted, both in the “regular” world and in the media world. And those are just those who came forward. The people who have expressed their experiences publicly in the #MeToo movement are incredibly brave, and those who still cannot admit to the world about these things are still equally important. I believe in every single one of those people and I admire the courage it takes to even keep moving forward after something like that.

There were great movies released, like Lady Bird, which is a literal work of art, and I love it. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was surprisingly pleasant and enjoyable. The newest Star Wars received both good and bad reviews–I, for one, found it very good overall. Oh, and I can’t forget about Get Out which was amazing, topical and relevant and well-presented. I only watched it recently, and I was stressed out the whole time. It was a rush.

I read some fabulous books, too. Carrie Fisher’s most recent memoir–may she rest in peace. Big Little Lies was wonderfully written and had such an intriguing story. I was hooked from the first page! The TV show on it was also very well done. There was also another fun read by Sophie Kinsella, The Undomestic Goddess. I always love her books. They keep me laughing and I’m invested until the end.

I’m hoping that this is going to be a great year. Of course, I always hope that, but I’ll wish for that every year for the rest of my life. It’s going to have it’s ups and downs, but I’m confident in myself. That I can make my year worth it and wonderful. I’m going to write a lot of things and read a lot of books and go on a lot of adventures.

And graduate!

And find a job…yeah, that too. I need to figure out exactly what I’m going to do in the real world. I’ll always be writing, but I also need an income. There’s a lot to figure out in the next six months, and that won’t even be the whole year! I get to start over halfway through with something completely new! It is exciting and intimidating and nerve-wracking. It’s even more unknown than college was.

The real world…that sounds pretty scary actually. Matthew is out there with a real job and a real income and a real 401K. He seems to have it all figured out. He constantly tells me otherwise, but I think he’s got it pretty much down. I only hope I can work it out as well as he is. I admire him so much.

I’m taking 2018 one step at a time, starting with Winter Quarter. It’s always the hardest. I’m not expecting this year to be any different, but ya know, thinking positively. I did very well academically in the fall, so I’m hoping I can pull out equally or better grades. I’m banking on some of my resolutions to help me there. I’m trying to do a bit more planning in general and I’m writing everything down. I’ve gone so far as to map out my Netflix binges! I had such a big problem with that this past quarter, and it is a top priority to be better about that. To not mess things up as badly as I did.

I’ve got big things planned in my life. I can’t wait to see what this year brings!

Yours truly, Ash

I Put a Spell on You

It’s the spookiest time of year, folks!! October is upon us, and I couldn’t be more excited. Not only is Halloween one of my favorite holidays, but it’s also one of the reasons I wanted to become a writer! And in a few weeks’ time, catch me singing the first verse of “English Girls” by the Maine over and over. Mostly wishing I was in London in mid-October, like the song says. Like I so happily was last year.

But I digress.

Since it is Halloween time–aka the best time–I’ve been thinking about all the spooky, scary, and suspenseful movies I love watching this time of year. These movies either make me jumpy with (the good kind of) anxiety or nostalgic in the best kind of way. So here is my stockpile of movies I’ll be watching this month! And then throughout the rest of the year to fill the void.

Hocus Pocus

This is a classic!!

Yes, it’s a Disney movie, but it’s the perfect balance of spooky and funny, and with the all-star cast of the Sanderson sisters and the super-cute leading man, you can’t go wrong. Bette Midler, you get me!

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Halloweentown (and sequels)

Okay, okay, so it’s Disney Channel, (not quite as good as regular Disney) but it’s when DCOMs were the best movies to look forward to! I always think it would be fabulous to live in a town where it was Halloween all the time. With witches and goblins and trolls, there’s no end to excitement.

To quote Marnie, “Halloween is cool.” I couldn’t agree more!

The Nightmare before Christmas

So this is a crossover between Christmas and Halloween, but Jack Skellington is one of the most iconic Halloween figures of all time. Like the previous movie on this list, Jack lives in a world where it is Halloween all the time. I mean, he grows tired of it and decides to take over Christmas, but that’s not the point. The point is that Tim Burton knows how to successfully create a world that is dark yet humorous.

Sleepy Hollow

Calling on Tim Burton again, and Johnny Depp, of course, comes the tale of the Headless Horseman. It’s suspenseful, mysterious, old-timey, and um, hello, Johnny Depp. And Christina Ricci–one of my favorites. Like most movies on this list, there is a twist at the end that makes it worth the watch. And I just can’t say no to a period drama.

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The Others

This is, by far, one of my favorite movies. It was my mom’s favorite growing up, and she rented it at Blockbuster (remember those days??) for my friend and me to watch in our horror-movie-phase. It stars Nicole Kidman as an over-protective, religious mother living with her two children in an estate in the middle of nowhere. When her daughter starts claiming to see ghosts in the house, tearing down the curtains so needed for these children who are allergic to the sun, and the new housekeepers and gardener act suspiciously, the suspense almost becomes too much to bear! It still freaks me out to watch. If you like suspense thrillers, this one is for you.

The Awakening

Not based on the book I read in high school, thankfully, this film gets me in the suspense department, as well. It’s about a young woman who’s made a career of debunking seances, proving that these grieving people are wasting their money on a farce. She gets a request to investigate a “ghost” at an all-boys prep school in the country and takes the job. The only other woman on the property is an elderly housekeeper woman, played by Imelda Staunton aka Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter series. Don’t let that shy you away from this movie, though! You’ll find she has some out-of-whack viewpoints in this one as well. It’s decent as far as movies go, but it does a solid job of keeping you on your toes with a pretty great twist.

The Addams Family

And the sequels for this one, as well. I love this dark and twisted family, the way many of their beliefs are reversed and how they feel about death. Wednesday Addams is one of my favorite characters of all time! She is dry and cynical and pretty badass. I love when their baby brother is born and they try all kinds of outrageous ways to get rid of him, failing miserably each time. It’s entertaining. Or maybe I just have a dark and twisted mind? Maybe.

Image result for wednesday addams

It’s still a must-watch!


And coming in hot for another one is Christina Ricci! This movie still gets me every time: a spooky house, a sweet little ghost, three obnoxious uncles, and Bill Pullman. You can’t go wrong! This movie always freaked me out for a long time, but I watched it every year anyway. I couldn’t get over how cute Devon Sawa (as human Caspar) was. I still can’t get over it, to be honest. That blonde hair, blue-eyed, sweet boy…hm, sounds a bit like someone else I know. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve picked up on the humor and this movie has only grown more sentimental in my heart.

Also getting honorable mention here is Caspar and Wendy. I love little Hillary Duff!

The Haunted Mansion

Because it’s Eddie Murphy, Disney, and it has a cool added backstory. Oh, and a creepy villain!

Edward Scissorhands

Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, and tragedy, the perfect mix for my Friday nights. So this isn’t a scary or suspenseful movie and it doesn’t involved witches, ghosts, or goblins, but it belongs on this list. It has that darkness of a Tim Burton film, with a protagonist who is lonely, uncared for, and has scissors for hands, with a pang of love and love lost. And it leaves me a bit jumpy and anxious at times, as many movies of the season do.

Honorable mentions: Beetlejuice, Poltergeist, Friday the 13th, Zombieland, and that one episode of Boy Meets World that still gives me the heebie-jeebies! (Season 5, episode 17, to be specific).

Oh, and IT—can’t forget my new favorite movie!!!

These are just my favorites and recommendations. There are plenty of other scary and suspenseful movies to sink you teeth into this October. I suggest Freeform’s 13 Nights of Halloween for ideas.

I’m so excited for this time of the year! I wish it would last longer than just this month, but with my friends, I know it will last all year.


I’m going to see Matthew this weekend and he has a scary movie for us to watch together. Maybe it’ll make the next edition. We’ll just have to see!

Happy October, everyone! May your month be spooky and candy-filled and wonderful!


Midnight Memories

June 18, 2017. Six months after December 18, 2016. Aka the day I left London.

Okay, okay, you all knew this was coming. You know how much I loved London and how much I miss it every day. It is my favrotie city. I completely fell in love with it, and that love hasn’t decreased the least bit in the last six months. It’s probably grown actually.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? Yeah definitely the case here.

Speaking of absence, I have been away from the blog a bit lately due to school and whatnot, per the usual. But now it’s summer, and I have time to read for fun, write a bunch, and Netflix without guilt. It’s an exciting time, summer vacation. It doesn’t quite feel real yet…that or the fact that I am about to be a senior in college. Weird…

But London. Yes, I talk about it a lot. So much. I sound pretentious and people get annoyed, but can you blame me? It was the best experience of my life!! Three life-changing months of traveling, exploring, and learning more than I ever could in a classroom (but yes, I did spend time in a few of those). I see Benjamin a lot, and we talk about it constantly. And then whoever is around us rolls their eyes and makes fun of us. Do I care? Not really.

So to commemorate six months away from my city and six months back in my little nook of the central coast, some of my favorite memories from studying abroad:


The Harry Potter studio tour at Warner Brothers! A classic and *~magical~* experience. I relive this day in my snapchat memories all the time.


Sipping coffee on the shore of this gorgeous loch at the edge of the Scottish Highlands. The sun was bright and shiny, but it was still coooooold! This was one of my favorite days. The Highlands are UNREAL. “Ye’ll tak’ the high road and I’ll tak’ the low road and I’ll be in Scotland afore ye…”


Check my Instagram to see about a dozen pictures of me at the Cliffs of Moher…all from this same trip. I cannot get over how beautiful it was, even in the gloom. There is no feeling like being on the edge of the world!!


AmsterDAMN…I could talk about this weekend forever…so I’ll just leave ya with this pic. So many bikes. So many trees. So much beauty!! Okay, I’m done.


And obviously walking the famous Abbey Road crosswalk. I got to do this, like, three times, and it was both incredibly awkward and touristy and equally fabulous at the same time. I was so embarrassed at the time to do something so utterly cliche, but it’s Abbey Road. It’s classic. It’s iconic!!!

So many spectacular memories…unforgettable. I promise I’ll try to stop talking about it all the time, but living in London completely changed my life. There’s no way to stress it enough. I grew into a whole new person! I still can’t believe I got to study abroad, and I am thankful every single day for it.

Wait…do I talk about London the way vegans talk about being vegan??? Oh, my gosh, I am going to be so much more aware now…(nothing against vegans, ya know?)

And to balance out all the fantastic European mems, some good ones since I’ve been back!


Being incredibly extra human beings and hosting a Groundhog Day Redemption party. And wearing matching (faux, obvi) fur to it. Honestly, what a bash, and what a way to kick off the next two quarters of being reunited!!


A weekend Mammoth trip with Danielle and Madeline. They skied. I read. It was a win win, even though everyone says I was being lame. Hey, I came up with the plot of Book 3–it was a win! It’s fun and mysterious and Ally Carter-esque. I’m so excited. And it was more than worth the freezing temperatures to frolic in the snow.


Hiking to see this incredible view…enough said.


Tori’s big 21st!!! Super exciting for the first roommate after me to turn this magic age. Her sign is cute, too, huh? Yeah, we left it at Taco Bell…but we got it back!! The night was a roller coaster, but the nacho cheese from my crunchwrap DID end up coming out of my shirt. And Tori killed downtown!!


Pozo Stampede: where we drank beer and margaritas, blasted country music, and got very bad sunburns. Worth it!

See? I can still have adventures in America. I’ve got a pretty cool backyard out here on the central coast, and I need to explore it more. Now that it’s summer, thought, I can! I have a pretty cool job that doesn’t limit my adventuring power much, so catch me doing fun things in the next three months.

It won’t be the same as country-hopping and wandering aimlessly around cities and museums and parks, but that’s okay. If I’ve learned anything in the last six months, it’s that there is so much more out there in the world than I gave the chance. I can’t just sit around and wait for life to happen. I need to make life happen–which (I hope) is what I’ve been doing. I got a new job (and lined one up for the fall), I’ve made spontaneous mini-adventures, and I’ve been so motivated this quarter.

So many good things are happening in my life, and as much as I want to crawl into my brain and relive my Autumn in London, the present is calling. This whole adulthood thing means taking calls now, right? So I guess I have to answer it! Yeah, that was soooo cheesy. Please don’t hold it against me.

Hmmm…six months back in this country…wow. It’s kind of been forever, kind of been the blink of an eye.

Life’ crazy sometimes, right?


xx Ash

((PS peep my latest Insta on the sidebar for a little fun piece of news in my life *wink wink* *nudge nudge*))

The Reason…13 of them, actually

If you know me, really know me, you know that depression has been a defining factor in my life, in who I am today. Yes, we are starting on a morbid reminder that I have a messed up head. But to quickly follow that up to let you know that I am A-OK right now and not falling backwards, my head is well. Still incredibly sad to not be in London, but I’ll be back there one day.

The reason I bring this up is because today (at a university with a highly underrated libral arts program), Jay Asher, author of the novel Thirteen Reasons Why, gave a little talk. This novel of his follows a high school kid named Clay as he listens to seven cassette tapes made by his classmate Hannah Baker, who had just commit suicide. On these tapes, Hannah explains the thirteen reasons why she killed herself, and each side is dedicated to one person. The book made me rethink a few things.

Asher grew up in San Luis Obispo and went to Cuesta and Cal Poly, which was a pleasant surprise considering how many engineers people at this school discount my major and my career choice. He talked about the book and explained his process, answered our questions, and made a lot of jokes. It was an hour and a half of my life well spent.

I have known I wanted to be a writer since high school, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t second guessed my decision. In fact, I have done exactly that–a lot. I often wonder if I am a good enough writer to create anything worth reading. I mean, this blog’s readership is not impressive, and though I don’t admit it, it kind of bothers me sometimes. Of course, I started the blog for me, so I guess it’s not a huge deal. But my pride is a little bruised, not going to lie.

Anyway, Jay Asher. I read Thirteen Reasons Why in high school, and I knew from the first page this book was going to change things for me. After struggling with depression for so long by myself, this was the first thing that really helped me to deal with it. It seemed that Asher so understood what I was going through, and he was able to say it with such grace. Saying I cried while reading it is an understatement.

To this day, that book is still so important to me. I have read books that have touched me or made me feel a certain way–I mean, that’s why I love to read–but nothing has really got me the way this one did (and still does). So getting to meet and listen to the author tell us about how he got where he was and what he is doing now was awesome. He shared his writing methods, how and where he came up with his ideas, and how he went about getting published. He also talked a little bit about how the book turned into a Netflix series that is coming out next month. I am so excited for it!

I have been in a bit of a block lately creatively (plus it’s midterm season), so I have not been able to undulge in my favorite rainy day activity, other than for my writing class. I want to get back to Book 2, and I have all these ideas for it, but I haven’t had the time. And with worrying that I am not a good enough writer has not helped much. But hearing Asher talk about everything he has been through and everything he has done, I am much more optimistic. I long to get back to writing, to have time to get back to writing. I fell back in love with the writing process today, and I cannot wait to get back to it.

Now I have to thank Jay Asher for two things.

So here I am, finally blogging, finally writing, and finally jittery excited about a TV show since psych. I’ve got a life update post hopefully coming at you soon, along with an ode London and a rant about the relationship between college students and permanent residents here in SLO. Looking for some downtime to polish them off and loving this rain (except when I am stuck in it).

Think positively, folks. All is well.