Saturday, March 28, 2009

Zumba Ally

So, I've been skipping zumba on Tuesdays and Thursdays because that's when my nemesis goes. The Saturday class doesn't start until 10:00 but lately I've been sleeping later on Saturdays anyway. I was really looking forward to some good cardio in class today and I knew T. would not disappoint. I get to class, which is super empty on Saturdays and awesome! And T. walks in and asks me where I've been. Conversation follows......

T.(Instructor): Hey, Ash. Where've you been?
Ashley: There is this woman who comes during the week that has this crazy attitude towards me.
T: Come talk to me. (And she and I move away from the other people.)
T: I know who you are talking about and she is a total bitch.
Ashley: I think she has a problem with the fact that I'm tall and stand in the front.
T: But, I want you in the front.
A: I know and I just need to get over it but I keep leaving class angry because of her.
T: Well, she used to stand right up on my butt and it was throwing me off. And then one day, every time I stopped to watch the class, she would stop.
A: Oh yes. I was there that day and just wondering, what is her deal?
T: Right? Try not to let her bother you. She's not worth it.

And she's right. And I know that, so I'm going to give Thursdays another shot. T. is the best! And class was a really good workout. I think maybe my strength is starting to pay off during cardio which is the whole point, right? Less than 2 months until beach!

Sorry I've been a lazy blogger lately. Peace yo!

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I am dismayed and disappointed about many things today but there are 2 in particular that are most egregious. See if you are not dismayed too......

1) While putting away groceries today, we noticed that the boneless, skinless chicken breasts we buy on a very regular basis have 16 g of fat per breast, 12 g saturated. Uh, HUH?! Chicken is supposed to be a healthy meat, right? How come everyone is always preaching about grilled chicken over beef and the fact that it's heart healthy, yada, yada. 12 g SAT FAT! You've got to be flipping kidding me. I might as well be deep frying it instead of constantly trying to find new recipes so that it's not 'just another chicken dinner.' Unbelievable! So now, I'm on a research mission. We usually buy the Meijer brand (FATTY!) and next week I'm going to look at the nutritional chart on the Tyson. I will spring for the Tyson if it contains less fat. And I implore you to check out the packages of chicken in your fridge or freezer and report back with your findings.

2) I love The Soup on E! with Joel McHale. Sometimes, I think Joel McHale looks like my brother-in-law. (No TV yet, buddy.) I find Joel's quips and comments hilarious and so every week when he announces where he'll be performing live I am disappointed. The locations are never anywhere near smelly Dayton. They're almost exclusively west coast. UNTIL NOW! This week, Joel announced that he'll be performing at the Lakewood Civic Center on June 20th. Really? Could it be true! What would Joel McHale be doing in Ohio? So, we check the calendar and sure enough, the 20th is a Saturday. One step closer......... I look up the tickets online today. OVER $100 EACH! Can you believe that ridiculousness? I understand Joel is great and all but Britney, Madonna, U2...even these HUGE names have tickets for less than one hundred hard earned dollars (times two). So, bye bye McHale. Hello boring evening at home June 20th. So much for creating some excitement in life.

Utterly dismayed.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Two in One Day!

I have another book to review but I'll do that another day. I'm a reading machine! Just wanted to report that both the Underwear and Coffee challenges are going swimmingly. No underwear purchased. And, I'm almost at the end of week 2 with just one cup of coffee per day and one cup of green tea. I don't even really miss that second cup and the Lipton Green Tea I bought are tea pyramids, not bags. PYRAMIDS! If you're unfamiliar, a tea pyramid allows the tea leaves to infuse more freely. At least that's what the box says. It's like I can feel the antioxidants working already!

Plum Spooky

I finished Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich this weekend but have been too busy to blog. (Quelle horreur!) This is a Between-the-Numbers Stephanie Plum book. If you're not familiar with this series, Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter who gets into all sorts of wacky antics. The series is kind of mystery/comedy. They're fluff books really but someone suggested them to me (It starts with One for the Money, and the rest of have numbers in the title to help you remember if you read that one or not. Sweet!) OK anyway, I'm slacking on the synopses again but I just can't bring myself to summarize this because you'll just be all, "Wow, this book sounds awful." If you haven't read any of the others, this one is pretty lame. However, if you're already an Evanovich fan, this one is par for the course.


Suck it, Evil Nemesis from Zumba. So, I went into tonight's class ready for a fight. If I saw them making comments about me, I was going to say something (yeah right). Anyway, the whole posse was there and I just ignored them. I got there early, as usual, and staked out my spot. There was more pointing and whispering (because we're in middle school I guess). BUT THEN! The instructor had me lead a song and they were all, Je suis confused. When the song ended, I resisted the strong urge I had to hold out my guns (newly sculpted) and say, "How you like me now?" Ashley - 1, Olg Hag Crew - 0.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

One Fifth Avenue

I picked up One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell off the express shelf last weekend not really expecting to like it. I'm not sure what I had against it. I enjoyed Sex and the City and Four Blondes (both by Bushnell, obvi). Anyway, it started off a bit slowly as it follows the intertwining lives of a cast of characters living at One Fifth Avenue, from the power hungry President of the Board to the screenwriters, actors, and new money that also reside there. The problem I have with books that have no focal character is that I think they lack just that, focus. The first half of this book fell prey to the difficulty, I think, of devoting enough time to each person in the ensemble to properly develop them. However, Bushnell turned it around and I geniunely became invested in all of their lives. I don't really have a full synopsis to give. It would be too long, also I can't remember all of their names. If you like Bushnell's stuff, or just want to live vicariously at this ritzy address, it's a good light read. However, Bushnell references Sex and the City multiple times (necessary?), gave a character her own last name, and gave another character the last name of a county that she references later on in the book. I suppose if those are my main beefs, it was worth reading, right?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Open Letter to Kitson

Dear Kitson - How could my boots be sold out? Why did it take you 3 weeks to tell me that they wouldn't be shipped to me and only after I called and e-mailed regarding their whereabouts? Where do you get off letting me order these boots while you are moving your store only to realize you did not, in fact, have my size 10 aubergine Hunter Wellies available for purchase? If I happen across a photo of some celebrity with large feet wearing my boots, I will know you sold out to screw me. I will never attempt to purchase anything from your establishment again, EVER!

All the best, AG

Zumba wars continue........ at last night's class, the old hag facemaker made comments about me to her friend again, just loud enough for me to only catch every couple words. She stepped up her game by pointing at me while she talked about me. Touche, lady. I will get you. You haven't seen the last of me and my fantastic zumba moves that I think you are jealous of.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Julie & Julia

I forget why I picked up Julie & Julia by Julie Powell but it was another library find. Oh yes, I was in the craft book aisle which is by the cooking theme books but not the cookbooks thus, Julie & Julia. This book is a work of non-fiction about a woman, who cannot cook and yet decides to tackle every single recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. Her challenge was daunting and I won't spoil it but for a first-time writer (her book came about from her blog which documented the journey) it was approachable and funny, which I appreciated. It's a couple years old but it's worth the read if you're looking for a departure from your usual fiction as I was when I stumbled upon this even though I have no affinity for Julia Child and I have yet to master the art of American Cooking before hitting up les livres des francais. (Is that right? Oh it's been so long....)

This is going to be a multi-topic post. Get ready.........

On Sunday, I attempted to finish my second most recent sewing project. It was a Simplicity pattern that I'm too lazy to look up the number on but it would have been a short sleeve, white, collarless jacket, part-Bolero, part structured shrug, if that makes sense. I had cut the fabric a couple weeks ago and just now found the time to stitch. I thought it would go together quickly, and I was right. It gave me the opportunity to practice a pleat (on the sleeve) and more practice with sleeves and neckline, on which I am abysmal. I got it all sewed except for the bottom hem when I decided to try it on. I'm not posting a picture because it is simply too embarrassing. It was a Simplici-don't. My cropped jacket that would have been go-to for dresses, tanks and the like looked like a piece from a line of paper hospital-wear. It would have been as if I had worn this stylish cropped jacket over a gown just prior to surgery. John laughed at me. The fabric, which I thought was going to be so versatile, is to blame. It was a white linen pique which, apparently, doesn't translate well with this pattern. Oh well. Onto the next!

Also v. excited that my car repairs were less than $500 this weekend. Wheeeee!

And, I'm starting a new challenge. I've decided that I LOVE imposing challenges on myself. Currently I have the underwear challenge, and a spending challenge (in order to force the saving of money), and now I have a caffeine challenge. It goes like this:

Each morning at work I typically drink 2 cups of coffee. I'm not as concerned about the caffeine as the amount of cream and sugar I put in the coffee. And so, the challenge, which is henceforth going to be renamed Operation White Food Ban. I am allowing myself one normal cup with cream and sugar but THEN, I will switch to green tea. This will bring in antioxidants and all the other benefits of green tea while nixing the cream and sugar. And also, coffee stains your teeth. Anyway, stay tuned for my progress. Day One -- so so, but I'm attributing this to Daylight Savings Time. I'm wicked tired and I don't think it was the lack of caffeine.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Underwear Challenge Update

Yes, it's only been 2 days but I just wanted to say this is going to be even easier than I thought. Another coupon came in the mail today! Two in one week. This one was accompanied by a $10 off, no minimum purchase coupon. Those are the best ones! Free undies and bathing suit on sale? I'm there! I'll be celebrating tonight with a Johnny's Jade Martini. We were calling it the JJ Martini but that sounded too much like va-jay-jay. Not so appetizing. Anywya, it's his take on PF Chang's Jade martini, which they have lamentably taken off the menu. Recipe follows:

2 parts Midori (or Melloni, if you're cheap like us)
1 part Coconut Rum (again, spring for the Mal, or go Cruzan)
2 parts Pineapple Juice

Pour over ice. Shake. Strain. ENJOY!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Multiple Bles8ings

Yes, I am technically a fan of the TLC show Jon & Kate + 8. In the beginning, the show was entertaining. Now, it's maddening to watch Kate's behavior, and yet I tune in weekly. Did they run out of decent footage of her so they're just showing how she really is? I digress. This is about her book, Multiple Bles8ings, in which she forces the S into an 8. Super clever, no? No. Anyway, I wasn't going to read this but Britt said it was a fast read and she wanted to know what I thought about it so when I saw it on the Express shelf of my local refuge, I grabbed it. It took me less than 2 hours to read. That's not usually the sign of a thought-provoking book. Kate starts at the beginning of her relationship with Jon, covers her pregnancy with Mady and Cara and on through giving birth to the sextuplets. As a show-watcher, I didn't learn anything new by reading this book. I'm not sure she really thought about the audience the book was targeting. She couldn't have offered any extra tidbits of information not gleaned from 4 seasons on TV for the world? I don't have a lot to say, and neither did she. I guess for my griping about it being such a fast read, I'm glad I didn't spend any more time on this one. Pass.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Underwear Challenge

Like many others, cardholder or not, I am constantly getting coupons for a Free Panty (only time that word will appear here) at Victoria's Secret. These coupons often come with another deal: $10 off one bra, etc. In the past, I let many of these coupons go unused. Sometimes I was just lazy, sometimes I felt guilty walking in there saying, "Which underwear is free?" and "No, just the underwear today." I got over that guilt part. I now make a beeline to the back cotton P table and quickly voice that question to the nearest bum-rushing sales girl as if to say, "You will not make a sale off me today. Just the free pair please!"

I will admit, my underwear wardrobe is rather large. This is a holdover from my days at OU when it was necessary to have nearly 30+ pairs to ensure that I would make it to the next laundry day. However, I had a revelation the other day when I received what was probably my 3rd coupon in one month. How long can I go without actually purchasing a pair of underwear? In this self-imposed challenge, I will only use my free "P" coupons. I will not physically purchase a pair until I absolutely must. No, I will not wear nasty old ones just to keep the challenge going. I do have some self respect. But, think about how much underwear you buy in a month. Not that much, right? Not that much unless underwear is your thing. It's not my thing. Shoes are my thing. So I feel as though these coupons could sustain me for quite some time. And here's the catch, the more use them, the more they keep sending them to you. Maybe you didn't know this. It's how store coupons work. They want you to continue shopping in their store. Although, what I will be doing cannot really be considered shopping. I plan to spend money on other things at VS. I'm considering a new bathing suit and they have this new bra that's intriguing. Funnily enough, the ad for that bra came with......a free P coupon + $25 off 2 bras. Boy they are really trying to sucker me in with that one!

Check back for progress and feel free to take the challenge yourself!