Turn it up: The Best New Soul Music You Haven’t Heard Yet

Introducing, Leon Bridges.

I may be taking for granted that you haven’t listened to him since I hadn’t discovered him until All Things Considered’s feature last week. But apparently, a LOT of people do love him as much as I do because when I tried to go buy tickets to his October Atlanta event I saw that not only was it sold out — so was practically the rest of his North American tour. Granted, they are small venues — but that’s where you SHOULD listen to music this amazing.

Song: “Coming Home”

Artist: Leon Bridges

Why I picked them: Obviously I have a soft spot for old jazz, new soul and anything that shows off instrumentation. When I found Leon I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t been listening to him for 10 years. His sound is mature, full of roots and still has the incredible potential to play to this same style for a long time without ever getting old. And every song on his debut album has all of the same charm to make you want to repeat the album — not just this single “Coming Home.” I am absolutely in love.

Best part of this song: I dare you to listen and not find something moving to the rhythm of the beat. My foot is unstoppable.

Favorite lyric:  I wanna be around / I wanna be around you girl  ( I love the bridge in this song  — but honestly, I would also choose the instrumentation if that was an option overall.)

The Atlanta I Love.

I’ve been in love with Atlanta since I was probably five years old.

Something about the skyline driving through to Braves games or the combination of road-side farmers stands and urban graffiti. I have always loved the eclectic southern-ness of Atlanta and it was a beacon of “the good life” for me since I was a teenager.

“Man, if I live in Atlanta when I grow up — I will be the HAPPIEST,” I thought and wrote in my diary probably 50 times from 2001 to 2010.

I couldn’t wait to be able to go to The Ted on any given day of the week, read the AJC on the reg and officially be considered a peach state resident. Strange aspirations maybe, but they were all tokens of the city that I obsessed about.

I had and have been to other cities of course; but Atlanta has always been magical to me.

Growing up I would tell anyone who would listen about how one day I would probably be VP of Communications for the Braves and if not that maybe I would work at CNN. Lofty ambitions, but life is funny. And great sometimes.

You can imagine what people said when I announced four months ago that I was moving here. It was the smallest surprise of the year. Half the people I told thought that I already lived here.

Now, I live here.

Every day.

I don’t think I’m a bonafide Atlantan yet by any means. I DO have a Marta card; but I’ve never been to a number of the local institutions like Manuel’s or the Landmark. I’ve yet to really run very far on the Beltline and I’m not sure I could find my way around on the west side of I-75. I have no idea what the best restaurants are in Decatur and I haven’t been to a single festival yet. There is a lot to still see and experience on my “Atlanta To-Do List.” In fact, I probably need to create an actual list.

Related: If you live in Atlanta and have suggestions on what earns me my Atlantan certificate. Please advise.

But now on any given Tuesday I can go to Braves games, explore new restaurants, neighborhoods and museums.

Atlanta is home.

And I love Atlanta.

The trails. The parks. The history. The culture. The diversity. The food scene. The music. The access to hiking, swimming, home, friends and family.

There are so few things that could improve this city for me. (Aside from much improved public transportation. That’s it.)

But I found an Atlanta that I loved even more when Andy visited last week.

It wasn’t in a specific place or an activity. We had:

  • normal nights at home
  • tacos at Superica
  • drinks on the Beltline
  • King of Pops shade breaks
  • hikes on Stone Mountain
  • tent time at Lake Lanier
  • tomahawk chopping at Turner Field
  • picnics at Piedmont Park
  • meanderings downtown
  • sightings at MLK’s childhood home
  • lots of neighborhood explorations

It was a normal week of me trying to share why I loved this city so much.

Since moving here, it has been so fun–but I promise you that each exploration was paired with “I wonder what Andy would think of this?” or an “I can’t wait to show this to Andy when he visits.”

Can you imagine how lovely it was to just adventure and have him there to talk about it?

It was the BEST Atlanta yet.

Turns out when you combine the city you love + the person you love, it results in the BEST days. But, not to cheese ball, basically Andy and I always have the best time regardless of what city we’re set in.

I was pretty close to right at 14 years old when I thought that living in Atlanta would be the end-all to pure happiness.

But this week I saw a side of an even sweeter Atlanta that I hadn’t quite experienced yet–and oh boy, I cannot wait to visit that place again.

In the meantime, I get to keep exploring. I get to keep finding new reasons that Atlanta is my favorite. More parks to venture into and more neighborhoods to wander. More days to learn about myself in a city that–over the years–has been integral to my figuring out who I am.

While I really wish Andy was coming back tomorrow or that my trip to Portland started Wednesday instead of three weeks from now–I have Atlanta. And if I have to be patient for the day that we get to make a city ours, I’m positive that 95-degree heat, 80-percent humidity, and all, I wouldn’t take any other place while I wait.

Sometimes, God Demands Your Attention.

The last 24 hours have been a different kind of test of patience.

While I’m on vacation and able to be home the last two days it’s coincidentally been the same days that plumbers needed to come in and re-pipe my apartment. That means holes in walls. Moving around my stuff to the point that it looks like I’m moving out. Dust. Invasion of privacy. And some lost sleep.

Apartment life is … getting old.

But the real kicker was that I got home yesterday and ALL i wanted to do was hang out in my apartment…alone…and watch television.

I’ve been a little distracted with Andy’s impending visit (today!!) and have let myself get stressed about the inevitable underlying question of our relationship….when will long distance not be….and who is going to move when….

That stress can creep in and ruin good moments. It can sadly diminish the BEST times when we’re actually together. And it takes a lot of will power to be in the moment. Crazy, I know.

So, anyway. Stress in the back of my mind. I wanted some crap television. That was going to help me focus on my excitement.

I walk in the door and see a weird blinking light on my internet router.

No signal. 

Instagram won’t refresh.

The horror.

I restart my router.

Restart my modem.

Turn on my television.

Nothing.

Holy. freakin. Crap. What an inconvenient day. Not only is my apartment a wreck I have no entertainment. I felt like I couldn’t even be there—it was the worst.

I’m seething in my lack of apartment luck for the day and begrudgingly grab a bag to instead go work out. (I REALLY wanted to sit on the couch, guys.)

After two miles of serious sweating I decided to take a break and just walk. After all, my cable wouldn’t be on until 9 p.m. what in the world else was I supposed to do.

And it was then that it hit me.

I needed to pray. I needed to spend some time with God before Andy’s visit. All of the stress that I let slowly build up? I haven’t been doing a good job at all about letting off the steam — and sending it up in prayer.

One of the hard aspects when you move is finding a new church and a new spiritual routine. For me, Winston took forever. Boston took a bit. Atlanta, I’ve sadly just been busy! Terrible excuse, I know. And when you neglect one part of your faith — the church routine. It’s really easy to start neglecting the other parts — your nightly prayer. Your devotions. Your practice of offering it up.

I’ve always struggled with not having control. I blame my mom. It must be something she passed down genetically 🙂

But, in my long-distance situation with Andy I could be upset about that every single day if I wanted. Luckily, it doesn’t happen that often — but I find that the longer we’re long distance, perhaps the more often that inevitably I stress out. So it goes.

It was an amazing gift to be focused for thirty minutes yesterday on just lifting up my struggles to God and realizing that not having control is an amazing thing because — you can do so much, but the rest you have to hand up to Him.

Sure one of us could FEASIBLY pack up and move tomorrow–but no we couldn’t. There’s a timing implication to this. There’s a career opportunity aspect. There are families involved. It’s bigger than us even though–we’re at the center holding it together.

Can you imagine what a relief it was to just have peace that in the right time ALL of the pieces are going to come together?

What a relief.

What a sigh of peace that I can just enjoy this week! I don’t have to be calculated and anxious.

The only one who can coordinate all of the complex parts of your life–yup, that’s Him.

One of the best parts of Andy’s and I relationship is that we’re both committed to knowing that ONE DAY we’re going to be in the same place. The timing and the exact location are written somewhere I haven’t seen yet. But I can rest in faith that God has a plan and I don’t have to stress at all.

Sometimes, God has to cut you off. He has to demand your attention. And if you’re not careful you may miss the opportunity that God is giving you to have some relief. I almost didn’t see what now appears to be such a clear opportunity.

Needless to say that since then I have felt amazing and renewed.

You need moments like that every so often to remind yourself that you’ve been a bit of fool.

I need to stop doing it all on my own and then … not doing it quite so awesome. 

Spend some time in prayer.

Be specific.

Trust in all areas. And you’ll start to see all areas flourish.

Water. Bloom.

My cable and wifi are finally back on but today instead of television, I felt compelled to sit in more quiet with my coffee this morning. What a gift to have time for reflection and rest as I gear up for the fun that is about to start.

10 hours until Andy touches down in the A!

xx.

Sunshine on a Monday.

Mondays are notoriously tough — but have never been my least favorite day of the week. I save that for Tuesday / which is why I’ve always posted a good new song on Tuesdays. Tuesdays need a good song.

Mondays still have the motivation of a new week. A fresh sheet of paper with a crisp to-do list. A potential of whatever you think you can get done.

Tuesdays meanwhile, you’re already in the middle of it — and you’re still far from Friday.

If you’re in your Monday at work, I hope you’re in the “crisp to-do list” state of mind. That’s what Mondays deserve.

For me, today is a day off.

I’m a jerk, I know.

But I wanted to write about it because for me days off are a lot different than they used to be. Now, I’m a nocturnal.  I’ll soon detail my new overnight life; but for now just know that the 10-hour wee-hour shifts aren’t for the faint of heart–BUT the three-day weekends are amazing. And it really makes you appreciate being able to be awake and alive during the day time to appreciate something as simple as morning sunshine.

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Second? The amazingness of MORNING coffee. Coffee is meant for 8am. It is weird when you pair it at 6pm. It’s so much better when I can savor it over the course of hours in the morning.

Thirdly, it’s few and far between when I get to listen to Andy’s radio show on Portland’s Rip City 620 AM with this schedule. So a day off, combining his show WITH the cup of coffee and it’s almost like I’m actually getting to have coffee with Andy. (He mostly talked about sports and would read me articles on our shared mornings anyway. He’s basically doing that with his co-host and I just listen along and text in my opinions or totally unrelated thoughts. Not the same; but nice substitute.)

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A day off for me means actually having a normal routine. I can wake up, think about errands, working out — and all of the other normal people things that I procrastinate during the work week. I am in heaven to some degree. But it’s a lot more than just day off happiness; today is especially sweet because it’s the set-up to my Andy coming to town Tuesday and finally seeing Atlanta!

TOMORROW!

It’s been two months since we’ve seen each other and for us that’s the sweet spot. Just long enough that we’re not totally impoverished spending money on cross-country flights and just long enough that any longer and we enter the “Losing our Minds with Missing You” phase. Three months apart gets rough. I will commonly come back to the fact that long-distance relationships are mega hard. But abundantly worth it. Incredible what your heart can do.

I need to try to document the phases of “missing someone” during a long-distance relationship because there are definitely, definitely cycles.

Today is the “SO FREAKING EXCITED I SEE YOU TOMORROW” phase.

Today is maybe even better than tomorrow in some ways because there is all the anticipation and none of the touch of sadness of already dreading the end of the week together. Ridiculous but — a sad reality of LDRs.

It’s a crazy mixed bag of desires for his visit. While I can’t wait to spend every second showing him every single thing and reason to love Atlanta; I could also just spend every second laying in my room and talking to him and snuggling — while teasing that I may not drive him back to the airport later.

LDRs. They’re for the birds. But it’s my life and I’m so freaking ecstatic that we’ll share space the next six days.

So, while I’m sorry that I’m being a jerk and writing about a day off on a Monday–try to feel lucky that if you love someone and you live in the same zip code you have a huge Monday-off up on me.

Regardless where your Monday has you, here’s to the next thing on your to-do list.

For me, my day-off sunlight to-do list is not short–so, I will be starting that …. after this second long cup of coffee.

Thanks to Andy visits, today my Monday is excited.

And for once, tomorrow my Tuesday will be even better. ❤

And as for Friday, for me, it can stay very far away!

xx.

Actually an Adult.

Can’t you tell?

This blog was born out of a desire to…actually live.

For a long string of months I had accidentally taken on a passive approach to the every day and starting this blog was the first steps of credibility to change.

Then everything started to be wild and colorful. I knocked out a 25 by 25 list and found myself exploring, trying new things, adding up travels and embracing new hobbies. Really evaluating where my heart was at led me 1,000 miles from home to graduate school and an adventure in Boston.

I had an open heart to where God wanted me to go and who He wanted me to meet — and I even fell in love.

Actually on the Line went from a way to talk about a new approach I wanted to try — to that “approach” becoming the very heartbeat of my routine. Everything was always on the line and everything was constantly changing.

Two years ago I was working in Winston and feeling like things weren’t quite where they were supposed to be.

Today I’m fully where I want to be–and exactly where 14-year-old Ashley might have guessed:

Living in Atlanta. Working for CNN International. Going to Braves games. Loving living in the South. Seeing my family and friends all the time. And breathing journalism all hours of the day.

It’s incredible how much can change in less than two years.

But it’s not PERFECT. Is it ever?
One thing that’s been missing is this blog. (The other thing is my Bunky who lives 2,000 miles away. But that will be shared more about along the way….#LDRexpert)

But where do you go from an epic 25-by-25 list, I have asked myself? How do you “revitalize” life again when you’re pretty much living as fully as you can handle right now? The Ashley that started this blog and the Ashley that picked it up today are the same; even though situations may have changed.

So, this blog is evolving. I want this to stay a place that I can come and share. So, it needs to get on the same page as my current life.

For the first time…ever…I feel like I’m “actually an adult.” I’m not constantly thinking about “what’s next.” I’m not tracking the “next chapter.” Because, honestly, I feel like I’m in the next chapter in some way. Really though, how is that different at 26 years old than 24 years old?

Here are 10 random instances I have been hit with this realization in the last three months:
  1. Two words: Student Loans.
  2. Moving an apartment full of furniture that’s mine with only one thing from Ikea.
  3. Shopping at Forever 21 only to feel incessantly 26. RIP ability to rock $8 one-season dresses.
  4. Taking out a bank loan for moving expenses…
  5. …and subsequently realizing the importance of savings and serious budgets.
  6. My five-year plan involves figuring out how much I would be approved for to buy a house.
  7. Working out is a weekly requirement. Seriously. There is no choice. Ask the cookies lingering from March.
  8. Being in a relationship that can stand the text “I’m being REAL grumpy and irrational.” And having that person say “That’s all right, I understand. I love you!!”
  9. I am not good with cars. But yet I have, against all odds, learned finally how to put air in my tires.
  10. Realizing…I may need to consider under-eye cream. WHAT? I know. Insane. But I have some. TBD on results. I’m still battling denial before trying.
Maybe I’m no less or more an adult that I was two years ago when I started this blog–but I certainly feel like I’m in a more adult place. Battling adult challenges.
Today Actually on the Line is an effort to continue being real, of course, but it’s evolving into a look at where I’m actually at with connecting my roots and my visions.
My life is a navigation of balancing the past and future — melding that into what I want today to be.

Keeping up with those who got me to Boston.
The life I created in Boston.
The new life I’m making in Atlanta.
My life is a juncture of old coworkers, high school best friends, grad school buds, and family. It’s a smash of West Coast, East Coast, down South and New England. It’s frequent flier miles to see my love in Portland, Oregon every week I can steal away from the newsroom. It’s constant miles logged on I-85 to see friends and family in North Carolina.

All of these things are helping me learn an abundance about what I want to create now. And who I need to make sure is there with me in the process.
Here, you’ll see a return of my weekly music posts, there will still be faithful reflections and then the overdose of personal details you may or may not care about. Travels around the country. Restaurants I drooled at. Bars I shared beers at. Hikes I recommend and wanders I’m lusting after.
Actually on the Line is definitely growing with me, so there may be some experimenting. While I can’t predict fully exactly where this journey will go next or what you can expect to read in the next post — but — I can promise that there will be life here again.
xx.

Playing Katniss Everdeen in Dupont Forest.

Fun thing about my going to Boston to study Broadcast Journalism? My interest actually stemmed from some experience working in background acting in the blossoming North Carolina film industry. (I even had acting lessons. Hard core, I know.) I had one of the best nights of my life in the same room as Mark Schwahn (One Tree Hill, anyone?) shooting a bar scene outside of Charlotte. Coincidentally with the same casting company that had also cast for The Hunger Games which had shot in North Carolina months before that time. I worked with a bunch of Hunger Games background actors and, like I already said, had one of the best nights ever.

Fast forward three years and I had upgraded to playing Katniss in my old friends’ movie––but in all actuality, I was just frolicking on one of the best WNC hikes I’ve been on in a while. On the natural set for a handful of scenes from the movie.

Dupont State Park

Photo cred: The lovely Sarah Bennett.

And my only qualifications at this point to play the part were actually that:

– I was wearing a braid.

– I had on fast running shoes.

– I have a degree in broadcast journalism now. So. . . I’m qualified to be on camera.

There were actually no tributes though. And no murdering. And for all that matter, the only camera was my iOS-5c.

Just beautiful waterfalls, gravel treks, families with dogs, spots for lunches on wide rocks and familiar sights from the big screen of years past.

Dupont State Forest It was an excellent way to pass a Saturday with Sarah. The teasing 50-degree weekends of North Carolina that fools you into thinking you can wear a t-shirt only for you to be cold–BUT realizing that it is still perfect hiking weather.

Dupont State Forest offers about four and a half miles of scenic views in Brevard, NC. A beautiful loop that takes you through some gorgeous woods and babbling water.

High Falls, Dupont State Forest

High Falls, Dupont State Forest

Seen above is High Falls. It is both gigantic and loud. Sarah and I trekked off the trail and out onto the rocks to grab these photos. It was delightfully fun and totally within the bounds of rules. But, still made us feel like risk takers. That said, it wasn’t a risk-taking hike by any means. If you’re looking for a moderately easy hike in WNC, this is one of your sure bets.

Five total waterfalls (that’s a lot) and a predominantly downhill hike. I’m not sure how much more you can ask for. Entertaining AND pretty easy.

Triple Falls, Dupont State Park

Triple Falls. This guy counts as three.

OK, Maybe an actual Jennifer Lawrence sighting? But you can’t have it all, they say.

This is the area where Katniss helps injured Peta. No sightings to report.

This is the area where Katniss helps injured Peta. No sightings to report.

It does appear that while the film industry in North Carolina has suffered since the high days of The Hunger Games, Dupont State Forest has profited from the increased tourism. There is a very helpful staff and new visitor center to point you on the right trail.

We ended the day with some tasty soup at Mayberry’s followed by a delicious American IPA at Brevard Brewing Company. Mayberry’s had a nice menu and very, very good biscuits with their soup. Brevard Brewing had a lot of brew options and at $3.75 a pint––again, I’m not sure what more you could ask for. I totally recommend the 10-minute drive to explore downtown Brevard. It’s the cute small town vibe in WNC that you’re looking for. I promise. The quintessential hike and brew Saturday that North Carolina gabs about.

Brevard Brewing Company

Post-hike brews with my Boston-to-NC bestie Sarah.

It’s days and adventures like this that really make me take a deep breath of NC. I’m so lucky for the time that I have here while I look for the next grand adventure. How lucky to have had the start here that has launched me on the trajectory that I’m headed.

Home is a very, very lovely place.

A new kind of adventure.

This is exactly how I feel some days.

The new year has started; but my “next chapter,” at certain minutes, can feel like it hasn’t. That’s what the gap time between grad school and that first job offer can feel like. If you let it–that is.

My last chapter, the Boston without Andy, the finishing touches of grad school, the readiness to move from security to new challenges––that chapter could have been called “The Push.” It resulted in me producing some incredible work in Boston. (If I do say so myself. Apologies for not being more humble, but I can’t even begin to count the hours that I put into this. And if I had it to do over again then I would be an even more educated perfectionist and fix so much….But I digress…)

Have I shown you the quick highlights? If not, take a peek:

In the month that I tied up loose ends and trekked back to North Carolina, I’ve been working on freelance video work and applying to jobs––but that chapter . . . “The Push.” It ended as we exited I-90 out of Boston.

I had it in my mind that 2015 would be a new chapter in and of itself.

The first job. That would be the new chapter.

As I look at this time in between though, and I feel the temptation to feel like that GIF. . . a blinking type prompt. A story in waiting.

I simultaneously realize and recognize that “The Push” has ended and “The Search” has started. This in-between is definitely the next chapter. Sure, maybe the job starts another new chapter––but this time is just as important.

If my life were a night at the symphony the conductor would have played a vibrant, fast, intense composition and now we’re in the fluid, softer staccato, weaving different instruments and making you listen to the pauses that fill the song. This chapter, “The Search,” is like a palette cleanser in a seven course meal, where the next piece is going to be extremely flavorful.

But you have to be ready.

One of my favorite things about “The Search” is that I’ve been able to reconstruct my diet and health. I’ve been running again. And after suffering a stress fracture over a year ago, I’m still having to be delicate about the structure of my new half-marathon training.

You can’t run your longest run on a Tuesday and then start your next longest run on Wednesday.

You have to have a cross training day in the middle.

And that day doesn’t “not matter.”

It’s not a “non-day.”

It’s essential.

Each chapter with a purpose. Each phase building on the next.

My 2015 isn’t a blinking type prompt. In fact it’s already well started: With cooking dinners for my family. With savoring the time I have with those I haven’t been able to see as much. With a running calendar. With some freelance videography work. With research of jobs and locations. With constant news watching and the daily allowed FRIENDS binge (I won’t try to hide it….Netflix is definitely on with FRIENDS in the background right this minute).

This time is a huge gift and, while granted it’s not easy every day to sit down and write a blog post about soaking in the quiet times when you’re someone who draws on energy, I understand that this chapter is in perfect timing.

So, if you’re like me and in between the major action––don’t feel like your next chapter is waiting to begin. Embrace the one you’re writing now.

The art of being alone.

Every single personality test in the world will tell you that I’m an extrovert.

Lately I haven’t really played the part though.

“Why couldn’t you just go to a bar to watch the Panthers game?” Andy asked me tonight as we chatted about the Panthers nauseating loss to the Seahawks.

(More irritating? The game was blacked out in Boston––for what, I thought, was no good reason. Usually I love some home shopping TV but please don’t try to sell me a pressure cooker instead of showing me the game I need to watch. I digress.)

“Well, I wouldn’t want to go to the bar alone,” I said.

“You could ask someone to go with you. . . ”

Haha, I just laughed and shook my head. In total rare form, I was completely and utterly alone practically all weekend and it was exactly what I wanted.

For the first time. . . in a long time . . .I had an apartment to myself and no commitments for deadlines or people breathing down my neck. It seemed 100 percent appropriate to sleep too late, watch Lifetime movies, cook comfort food, go on some runs and embrace no make-up for almost 48 hours.

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Isn’t Boston just beautiful? This is one of the best parts of this Sunday.

Honestly, it seemed to be the only logical way to spend the last two free days that I’ll likely have for the next 12 days. Starting tomorrow I enter the outer rings of torment . . . All leading up to the summation of all of my graduate thesis work on Tuesday, November 4th. For those of you outside of Bean Town and out of ear distance from all my talk of politics, my thesis is to produce a three-hour live results show chronicling polling updates and coordinating live reporters across the East Coast. To say that it’s an ambitious project is to put it lightly.

Extroverts typically get energy from being around other people and socializing. I completely, entirely do just that. But for this size of project and the amount of focus needed––it seems only reasonable that I took it quiet. I hunkered down. And I feel ready now for the marathon that starts tomorrow at 6:30AM.

Prayers that “The Midterms 2014” goes off without a hitch!

8 Days Until My Thesis is Done….

19 Days Until Katie Visits….

31 Days Until Seattle….

55 Days Until I Move Home….

….Holy Crap….

…Blink……Blink…..Blink….

…Signals of back to life….

I won’t belabor you with the reasons or how “crazy busy” (but for real) my grad-school life has been. Instead, I’ll share with you my thoughts and lusts and happinesses on this Friday night.

In things I want, pencils that make me write in my Journal again. I have all the feels and too little time to write them. Related, y’all it is HARD to live 3000 miles away from your boyfriend who you both love very much and also are used to pretty much seeing every waking moment of the day.

In other things that I’m missing: home. For some reason, perhaps it’s being busy or maybe it’s my second autumn away from home, but I’ve been really craving time with my best friends and family. It’s odd to not be able to have “birthday weekend” with Brooke. It’s not fun to see all of the Instagram photos from Appalachian’s Homecoming and not be there. Meh! I need to make a serious point to schedule trips home next fall so that I can join in on the fun again!!! PS: Someone buy me this, also.

Imma get a dog. A dachshund dog. Shhh, don’t mention it to my Mom. She doesn’t realize that she’s actually going to get it. Well, she’s going to get two. In all of my “I miss home,” “I want to be comforted,” “I’m entering a new, stay at home more, little bit lamer stage of life and am now magically ready for a dog” — well, I’ve decided that I’m ready for a new dachshund or two. My obsession has resulted in too much Pinteresting and daydreaming about a little fellow named Franklin.

I’m ready to start running. Yes, I realize that writing, NC, dachshunds and running are old news when it comes to Ashley — but stick with me. I haven’t ran normally in SIX months again. I re-injured my stress fracture in April and since then it’s been a frustrating path of getting fluffy. But I ran twice in the last week to no visible after effects on the leg. That means tomorrow I will try to run one mile. And then I’ll walk a lot. But if tomorrow is one mile it’s maybe one more mile closer to be being back to six. Part of my stress craze comes from not running regularly. I just know it. Side note: Check out “16 Breathtaking Runs Across The Country” by Buzzfeed. THIS is my front yard right now, basically. I need Andy to take me on the Seattle run this Thanksgiving.

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 10.43.02 PMAll of this missing home, looking forward to what comes next stuff aside? Living in Boston is perfect for me. This city, every day I’m reminded, is a perfect place for my personality. It’s vibrant in an old, quiet, subtle way. The brick, the brownstone, the people. I really love living here. How many people can say that they walked past the lights of Fenway Park on their way home every night this week? I love that this week’s errands took me through the Boston Common, by Copley Square and constantly around the shadow of the Citgo sign. Boston is good. And while, foremost right now Boston feels brief. It is still, continuingly, a sweet goodness. I still know that this is just where I’m supposed to be.

So, consider this a dip of the toes.

I’m ready to be writing again.

And I’m ready to be talking about where this adventure is going next.

Perhaps all of the distractions above? Writing. North Carolina. Dachshunds. Running. Those distractions of comforts will keep me distracted from the anxieties that keep reminding me that change is … again … right around the corner.

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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.