Two Weeks ‘Til . . .

1 - My summer internship is finished. I will have produced 24 three-minute stories over the course of 12 weeks. WOAH. You can check out the archive of me behind the desk and then also out around Newton, MA here: newtv.org.

2 - Finally my new reel <key word> should be up on reporterashleydavis.com. Which means, I’m on the cusp of being ready to apply for my first full-time reporting job.

3 - The first Boston apartment that I called home will be packed up into boxes.

4 - I will be on the verge of hiring my replacement to train for my graduate assistant position at Boston University. :-O!

5 - Andy’s days in Boston are coming to a close. It’s okay though. We’re up for tackling the seemingly inevitable long-distance challenge. (But maybe send some nice prayers our way, since it’s not going to be as simple and happy as being in the same city.)

In the way of the universe, change comes with buddies. So a lot happens all at one time. But at the end of two weeks of hard work I will be greeted with: a) a strong mimosa. b) multiple benedryls or c) a very very strong mimosa. Any of which will HAPPILY get me through a bi-coastal flight from BOS -> SEA for me to finally visit and spend some time with my Andy in his hometown. For eight whole days. It is guaranteed to be the best.

Seattle was on my “things I’m dying to do” list way before I even moved to Boston. It’s even more now it’s so meaningful. It’s the whole side of Andy, who I feel I know so well, that I haven’t been able to see yet. Your hometown, when you love it as much as Andy and I love our own, makes up a big part of who you are.

After Seattle is moving into Boston apartment number two. In about 12 hours.

And then immediately hitting the road for North Carolina.

And then a Labor Day weekend with some best friends and my Braves in Atlanta.

Suffice to say that August may be one of the best months of 2014.

Imma be a Navy SEAL. Or something like that.

This post brought to you by the new VS bathing suit I ordered yesterday……And a desire to conquer looking good in it….

#INeedATan. Stat.

#INeedATan. Stat.

Cliff notes for those out of the loop: Ashley loves to run. Ashley’s leg(s) are fractured. Ashley can’t run right now. Ashley’s being creative at how she can stay active and not turn into a walrus.

This week was not the best.

My parents are coming next week! (!!!!!! I haven’t seen them in six months. This is exciting.) So that’s meant some serious advance working on other deadlines. It’s been coming together, but suffice to say that Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week you might as well have called me Murphy.

Cause I was living Murphy’s Law.

EVERYTHING was going wrong. The worst. I haven’t had stress quite like that in a while.

When things go wrong, what does Ashley typically do to feel better?

Run.

Since that wasn’t an option, I was really blessed to have my rooms Sarah invite me to her Pilates class. She’s invited me a couple of times, but I had resisted because:
a) I thought my school gym pass was better than I have now learned that it is (no classes, what!?)

     b) I was intimidated to try something new

     c) I thought I liked other exercises more.

But let’s face it. “Man that ride on the gym bike just made me feel SO MUCH better,” was said by no one ever.

So Tuesday I squished myself into some Pilates clothes and went to what I thought was going to be mostly a mat workout.

That turned into actually being THIS:

That’s not me. I think my butt maybe got 1/4 of that high during this move.

I have officially been to my first Pilates TRX class.

Let’s just say “Whoa.”

I have never in my life sweat so much from staying in a 2-foot radius. It was pretty crazy. Actually, scratch that. Insanity made me sweat riiiiiidiculously. This was working on par with that though.

The focus on breathing and my muscles was exactly what I needed to stop thinking about everything else that was stressing me out. Not to mention that the way I felt the next day told me that it was a good workout. (My armpits were sore? I don’t know how that happens.)

When you Google TRX you get:

UM. It's serious.

UM. It’s serious.

I alternated between thoughts of:

- If this strap breaks, I’m breaking my face.

- It’s impossible to do this as gracefully as the teacher.

- I wonder if anyone notices I’m doing half of the sets?

- Thank goodness I squished myself into tighter clothes. Otherwise this would be a show in here.

- How in the world is that tiny girl on the other side of the room so good at this?! I don’t see muscles.

It was very hard. And a lot of fun. And now I’ve found another way to spend money and think I’m going to sign up for a month of classes.

I think it may be the just right thing to get me through this injury funk. Not to mention, there are regular pilates and yoga classes at this same studio that I can take advantage of.

Have any of you tried TRX? Anyone in Boston interested in signing up and going with me? It’s only $30 for unlimited classes for 30 days! I’m thinking about signing up at the start of July to get the most bang out of visits given I’ll be out of town a lot next week.

“Lucky?” He said. “Oh no, we’ve been a lot of work.”

One of my favorite parts of being a reporter carrying around a television camera is that some people are very inclined to talk to you. It’s not necessarily that they want to be on TV. I think maybe they just see me and recognize that I’m going to appreciate hearing their story. Last weekend I was covering a community event and an elderly gentleman walked up to me.

“Guess what,” he said.

I wasn’t sure if he was talking to me, so I kind of stared for a second.

He repeated himself, “Guess what.”

“What’s that?” I obliged while smiling and thinking he looked like he was probably in his upper-80s––no telling what he was maybe going to tell me.

He lit up in a smile and said “June 13th. June 13th will be mine and my wife’s 60th wedding anniversary.”

How do you not smile back to that? I immediately offered my congratulations. And a couple of “wow”s. And I perhaps unwittingly said “You two are so lucky!”

“Lucky?” he said. “Oh no, we’ve been a lot of work.”

I had to ask the question you’re crazy to not ask:

“So, what’s your secret?”

Charlie gave me three bits of advice:

1) It’s all about the communication. You have to be able to talk to each other all the time about every thing. Even when you don’t want to. You should always want to.

2) None of those, she goes with the girls all the time, he goes with the boys all the time. Take a trip together every year. You need adventures together.

3) Spirituality is important. Your hearts need to be on the same page.

Sixty years of experience. And I cherished every bit he had to share.

His advice harkened to this study recently posted on The Atlantic called “Masters of Love.” It’s a fascinating study highlighting how kindness, in the ways you don’t think about, is very important for a relationship’s success.

“There are two ways to think about kindness. You can think about it as a fixed trait: either you have it or you don’t. Or you could think of kindness as a muscle. In some people, that muscle is naturally stronger than in others, but it can grow stronger in everyone with exercise. Masters tend to think about kindness as a muscle. They know that they have to exercise it to keep it in shape. They know, in other words, that a good relationship requires sustained hard work.”

The kindness “Masters of Love” talks about and the kind of communication Charlie talks about, they’re both forms of work you put into a relationship. They’re the parts of a relationship that come easy in the first three months. And the parts of a relationship that become the choice to love someone later on.

It’s not always easy.

And it’s not luck.

And it’s what separates the 60-year relationships from the rest.

That’s what makes love so special.

On this Monday, cherish love a bit. What happier a way to start the week? Especially if you’re somewhere in the earlier days of your own 60 years.

Do you have any “relationship rules” with your significant other?

PS: Happy Belated Anniversary Charlie!

To the genetics behind my Boston adventure.

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So, this is Mr. Davis.

He is my dad. And a teacher. And a scientist. And a smartie pants. And an intellectual. And a social butterfly. And an adventurer. And a traveler. And a goof. And a talker. And a stabilizer. And a cooker. And a supporter.

He’s so many things.

And because of him, I’m a smartie pants. I’m an intellectual. A social butterfly. An adventurer. A traveler. A goof. A talker.

So many great things about me started with him. I just so happened to take the right chromosomes.

When I think about my huge life-changer of a decision to move to Boston and try something new; I know that there’s some part of him in me that’s letting me go on an adventure for both of us.

Thanks for showing me what love and strength, responsibility and dedication are like, Dad.

And thanks for part of that loving and supporting being directed right at me.

Happy Father’s Day to all the daddies!!

From My Lobster Sammie to My Boat Shoes. #CapeCodder

There have been so many  wonderful and fun adventures this spring but I haven’t been able to blog about them. Mostly because I’ve been lazy—sigh—but, I now right the ship.

One of the best parts about this beautiful time I have in Boston is that I’m learning so much about a new city––but also a new region. I moved to Boston in September being the hugest New England nube. I had no idea what was good about Rhode Island, nor did I have a consistent idea of which was west and which was east – Vermont or New Hampshire? (They look alike, cut me some slack.)

Having my car here over the last six months has opened up a whole new radius for me.

Most recently traipsing all over Cape Cod with Andy and his mom.

There had been a huge build up to May since….well, since I met Andy. (For me, May has meant graduation and Andy moving away from Boston. BUT. That’s not happened yet. Well the moving part. So we won’t talk about that for now. I’m using avoidance as a coping mechanism very effectively :) )

May came.

And with it a graduation.

And finally meeting Andy’s mom and brothers.

It was the best. Such the best. And such a happiness that I immediately felt like I had known them for a long time.

Graduation was a wonderful send-off of celebrating some of my best new friends.

Credit to Ms. J-Radz. Most of the people in this photo….They’re what’s made Boston “home.”

Of course, most of my time revolved around being with this guy and his family. It was – I’ll say it again – the best.

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We have some awkward photos in our relationship. There’s a strange part of me that likes this photo though. I look proud.

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Don’t mind my mound of crap in the background. I was a working girl that day doing interviews!

Did I mention that he was also the speaker at the graduation ceremony? Proud girl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In that wave of bonding, I tagged along on a week-long road trip all along Cape Cod and into Rhode Island with Andy and his mama. We left on the road trip pretty much immediately after graduation had settled down.

And I have to say. Y’all, I pull off New England OK.

Lobstah Sandwich? Check. Clam Chowdah? Check. Boat Shoes? Check, check.

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Our first stop on the Cape was South Yarmouth. It was lovely. We stayed at the Red Jacket Resort and our view was aahhhmazing. It was so nice we went with the intention of staying one night and ended up there for three. Totally recommend.

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While it was a little too breezy for what I would call “beach time,” it was still really nice to just be barefoot in the sand. Jacket or not. What shocked me though was how clear and green the water is up here. Maybe it’s because it’s so cold…

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Glare warning. You would NEVER believe that I’m vaguely capable of a tan these days. Curses NE weather!

One of those days we channeled our inner “Wings” and went to Nantucket for the day. It involved three hours on a ferry, biking around this tiny island, finding a secluded beach where I FINALLY saw a seal (I’ve been on the look out for months) and it was DEAD. Smelly, gross, leathery, dead. Disgusting. But the rest of Nantucket was so great. Very quiet, peaceful and as New England as you could imagine.

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Andy takes a lot of naps. This is a lifestyle choice we don’t see eye-to-eye on. “WAKE UP! Let’s look at the water together.”

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We did sequence shots of Andy jumping down the cliff into the water forever. This one was the funniest. He looks so happy. HOORAY BEACH.

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So we settled on a selfie.

As we wrapped up our time in Cape Cod, we made a mecca to the homeland of potato chips. We got less free samples than my potato-chip loving heart would have preferred–but it was still a fun, free stop along the way.

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Then it was off to Newport, RI, the mansions and the cliffs. Newport is so beautiful and unique along the coastline (at least to me). If you ever want a weekend getaway that’s cozy and romantic, or cozy and fun—try that. Lots of old stuff. Fun things to see. Good restaurants and bars. And when it’s warmer there are good beaches, as well.

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Surreal that someone lived in these places.

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Not suitable for sandals. I about fell to my death a few times.

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Haha, hence I took this photo thinking it was funny how terrified I actually was. I kept thinking of some book I read in elementary school where a girl falls to her death off of cliffs. Scary.

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Mansions. These have to be haunted. But totally less scary.

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This is Rose Hill … or Rose Cliff…Andy always has to tell me the right one. Regardless, it’s where the original Great Gatsby was filmed, as well as some of 27 Dresses, True Lies and….another movie I hadn’t seen. It was gorgeous and so incredibly Art Deco.

We toured four mansions over two days. It was fun and interesting. The history nerd in me was in heaven wandering around listening to the audio. I have to say though, living so close to the Biltmore House growing up has spoiled me. I was rather unimpressed by some of the sizes haha but then had to realize that to these aristocrats these homes were just “summer cottages.” Crazy.

We stayed in an airbnb in Newport that Andy swore was haunted. It was pretty scary one night — but mostly because I think we had been watching too much “American Horror Story.”

When it was time to go back to Boston it was bittersweet having to leave and take on the oncoming summer busy-ness. But it was also a welcome to be back in my own bed.

What a wonderful opportunity to spend so much time with Andy and his mom. When you have bi-coastal families that’s just such a rarity. Who would’ve ever thought I’d date someone from the other corner of the States and have to even think about such things?

All I can say is, when I left North Carolina I knew that my world was bigger.

Boston added to that.

Going to the Cape. Gallivanting New England adds to that.

But also, having Andy does too.

My world is a LOT bigger than it was a year ago.

So, do you want to go to Cape Cod? I’m full of places that I’VE liked. What about you? I’m very open to New-England-like weekend, day and long-weekend trips. Pearl the Mazda is ready for a trip — just give me a suggestion where to go next!

Body betrayal.

The past 13 months have been challenging. Spend 10 minutes talking to me about running and I immediately delve into how amazing it is; my exciting half marathon in 2013 and then inevitably conversation turns to “the injury.” A tibial stress fracture meant going from 13-mile runs to 2-mile runs. Running two minutes, walking two minutes, etc.

The definition of frustration.

But over time I was running again. It was maybe just three and four miles on a good day. But it was a run.

Until my grand accomplishment two Sundays ago––when Andy got me out on the esplanade and we ran a comfortable, fun, enjoyable five miles.

My longest run in 13 months.

I was enthralled.

And then I woke up to a sore leg that Monday.

And then I ran on TWO painful shins Wednesday.

A nightmare.

How could I have re-triggered the stress fracture so quickly? And how in the world could I now have symptoms of another one in my right leg?

To say that the end of last week I felt defeated was to paint a pretty accurate picture.

Turned out that my reporting assignment this past weekend would be both torture and exactly what I needed: I was covering the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half-Marathon and Festival.

That meant a day of interviews with Runner’s World editors. An interview with elite runner Shalane Flanagan. Seminars. Shoe workshops. And of course, watching thousands of runners conquer one of the most iconic running landmarks in the running community.

I got some of the best feelings of:

- Companionship. These people know how I feel.

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- Encouragement. (This was the best consolation ever on an injured runner having to rest.)

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- Inspiration.

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- Reassurance. I’m not a total dummy for hurting myself. It’s part of the package.

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 8.43.52 PM One of the takeaways I sadly but also comfortingly took away from the seminars I visited was that injuries are a part of the package. You just have to know how to best try to prevent and then also best try to treat.

My current plan is a full week of rest. That week is up tomorrow. In the meantime I’ve retreated to my November Project Deck workouts since they’re less weight-bearing and still a good strengthening workout.

November Project Deck-A-Day

[Easy, just use a deck of cards. Draw a card. Black? Do that number of push-ups. Red? Do that number of crunches. I'm not big on crunches so I do planks, Britney Spearses (haha, I don't know what those are really called) or other core holds.]

November Project Deck-A-Day

Does this look like a happy runner to you? I didn’t think so.

From here out, I’m going to do better about writing about running. When I’m intentional with running and recovery, I think that’s when I’m healthier and safer about it as well.

Grad school, you’ve been great for so many things! But you’ve been terrible for schedule and routine.

How do you keep consistent with your recovery plan? Any tips for coming back from an injury the right way? Have you been to the doctor multiple times about your running injury?

I’m seriously considering a visit back to the specialist–but I think I’m going to try to rehab it myself (the right way) first.

Wanted: A Wolfpack

Every time I take the Meyers-Briggs test the most skewed personality trait is the extroversion part. I have a knack for finding a familiar face where ever I go. And I’ve been known for either collecting friends? Or having enough that I deem my “friend quota is full.”

I’m the worst.

But it’s just because I love being around people and feeding off of the energy of interaction.

Since I moved to Boston though, it’s been a little tough to replicate my (AMAZING) North Carolina crew. Three very, very best guy friends? Girl friends who had gone through every crush, relationship, conquering and failure with you? Well that’s impossible.

Part of it is my fault. I went and got an awesome boyfriend who I wanted to spend every waking second with. And I moved in with a built-in friend from home who is my female saving-grace here in Boston. They have made it less of an investment to try to make connections with other people. (Sorry, Andy and Sarah – Looks like I’m throwing you under the bus.)

Part of it is seemingly Boston’s fault. I haven’t quite had a person cross my path, like Bridget Weber (Lynch ha), who I instantly knew I would be best friends forever with.

Maybe I’m not immersing myself in the right groups.

Or maybe I’m bitter because I did have the great fortune to make some amazing friends who have sadly now all graduated and moved away.

But regardless.

I need a Boston rew to carry me through the end/eventual move!

So web friends, give me some advice. What should I do to meet more people? So far this summer I work pretty much alone at my internship — so no opportunities there. Are meet-up groups odd or acceptable in the city?

Also, keep in mind I don’t have a ton of funds to join a lot of sports teams, etc. because that’s a typical way I’d be putting myself out there.

For now, this Sunday morning, I’m off to church….

Boston, you are home for now.

Repeat to self “Boston, you are home for now.” And again. Repeat.

The perennial planner in me has watched the closure of my first year of graduate school, sees my final semester down the road and is already so tempted to try to plan for what’s next. The after Boston. The fresh job. Another move. Some change. Some shifting. Some more growing.

And I want to prepare and dream and get excited or feel in control of next January.

(HA!) Like that can happen.

And even if I could magically begin planning where I would like to move next or the exact job that I would like to apply for, even if–well, I would miss out on enjoying a whole six months of Boston.

I have loved living here and I still have so much to explore and appreciate.

That little planner inside is a hard one to squash!

So, how do I cope? I focus in on what to appreciate and love right now. My first year of school is done and this coming week I start my internship at Newton News (exciting opportunity). That means a full summer opportunity of getting myself together.

What am I hoping to work on?

The reel.

This is a duh. My internship will give me the opportunity to be on camera twice a week and produce a lot of new work. That means that at the end of the summer I should have my reel ready to go to start applying for jobs this fall.

Fall school work.

Would you believe I really want to get a head’s start this summer on my fall work? I have to turn in a thesis or “professional project” as I prefer to think of it at the end of the next semester. It will probably make my life a LOT easier if I can get some form of a head’s start. Minimum I need to have a full game plan for the fall.

Um, my fitness.

I say “um” because it’s kind of a shame. Boston and graduate school has translated to eating out and a lot of recreational drinking. 25-year-old bodies aren’t made for constant rich eating and college-style drinking. Mama needs to get back in shape! So, that means putting together a routine gym and running plan that will:
A) Get me back in shape!

B) Not re-irritate my stupid stress fracture.

But, am I right?

Cook, cook, cook.

This plays off of the fitness part.  A big part of the fluffier Ashley is alllll of the eating out. I mean, come on, it’s Boston. There are so many great pubs to try! But, I really want to work on cooking at home more and healthier. This is something I really enjoy and also summer should be the easiest season to get a jump start.

This all seems pretty reasonable, right?

This is likely my LAST summer “break” so I want to make it as productive as possible!  Now. Seriously. To stop planning….

Excerpts from “How to be Perfect” by Ron Padgett

Get some sleep.

Eat an orange every morning.

Be friendly. It will help make you happy.

Hope for everything. Expect nothing.

Take care of things close to home first. Straighten up your room
before you save the world. Then save the world.
Be nice to people before they have a chance to behave badly.

Don’t stay angry about anything for more than a week, but don’t
forget what made you angry. Hold your anger out at arm’s length
and look at it, as if it were a glass ball. Then add it to your glass
ball collection.

Wear comfortable shoes.

Do not spend too much time with large groups of people.

Plan your day so you never have to rush.

Show your appreciation to people who do things for you, even if
you have paid them, even if they do favors you don’t want.

After dinner, wash the dishes.

Calm down.

Don’t expect your children to love you, so they can, if they want
to.

Don’t be too self-critical or too self-congratulatory.

Don’t think that progress exists. It doesn’t.

Imagine what you would like to see happen, and then don’t do
anything to make it impossible.

Forgive your country every once in a while. If that is not
possible, go to another one.

If you feel tired, rest.

Don’t be depressed about growing older. It will make you feel
even older. Which is depressing.

Do one thing at a time.

If you burn your finger, put ice on it immediately. If you bang
your finger with a hammer, hold your hand in the air for 20
minutes. you will be surprised by the curative powers of ice and
gravity.

Do not inhale smoke.

Take a deep breath.

Do not smart off to a policeman.

Be good.

Be honest with yourself, diplomatic with others.

Do not go crazy a lot. It’s a waste of time.

Drink plenty of water. When asked what you would like to
drink, say, “Water, please.”

Take out the trash.

Love life.

Use exact change.

When there’s shooting in the street, don’t go near the window.

Ashley Gets More Comfortable on Cam

It’s really annoying to start every blog post with an apology for the delay–both for you–and for me. So, let’s skip that and talk about fun things.

One year ago this week, I was having a complete anxiety attack over the impending decision to move to Boston. I was given less than 12 hours to make a decision on an apartment that I had never laid eyes on and agree to a montly rent that I had no idea how I would pay for.

At that time, as I laid in the floor hyperventilating, my mom calmly told me that a year would pass either way and before I knew it it would be next spring. She said that we wouldn’t believe how quickly the time would pass.

And boy, was she right.

One year. And now I’m back to stressing about where I’ll live next :)

In funny torture, Boston University makes its graduate program three semesters–which means you’re left looking for an apartment for––three months? You have a year lease and then everyone wants you to buckle down for another year.

What’s a girl to do?

Well, I don’t have a clue. I’m obviously staying in Boston through the end of school. I do love it here. But, after December the story is yet to be written and I want to give myself the greatest flexibility to either be with my loves while I look for a job, or travel, or just move to the next gig! I’m hoping and praying and crossing fingers for a splendid ordeal to work out. But I need some prayers!

It’s hard to worry too much about life stuff though with so much school happening. Shooting, shooting, shooting. I’ve been doing a lot of application this semester. The first part of my program gave us the tools: intro to cameras, intro to editing, intro to approaching stories. This semester has been about constantly generating––and I can see huge growth in what I’m doing. The latest example was completed earlier this week. I’m pretty excited to show how much more comfortable with the camera that BU’s program has helped me to become:

I’m happy to say that I’ll be getting even more on-camera experience this summer as I take part in the Newton News fellowship and generate a lot of stories over the coming months.

That means I’m not sure when I’ll get to come home to North Carolina next though; which is intimidating. I’m hoping and praying for at least a long weekend in the coming months!

In the meantime, I came to Boston to switch back to newswoman––and I have to say––that’s been my true focus over the last seven months; now eight more to go before a graduation!