Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Where I've Been for the Past 5 Months

Four months on, five months off.

It's an interesting track record, I'll agree. But I don't plan to apologize for taking such a long hiatus from blogging.

When I started Not Your Average Ashley in January, the last thing I wanted it to be was a chore--something I had to do every day, every week, etc. I blog purely for fun--sharing my outfits and fashion likes, and (hopefully) generating conversations.

So instead of making this an "I'm so sorry I haven't written in forever" post, I'm calling it a "Let's catch up" post.

Here's what I've been up to over the last few months.

1. I got a full-time job.
The reason I had so much time to devote to blogging early in the year is I wasn't working, or at least I wasn't working full time.

My outfit on my first day of work.

I landed a 40-hour-a-week gig as web editor for TBO Seen, a news site for millennials in the Tampa Bay area. We cover food, fashion and fun things to do in town, and it's a lot of fun. Writing about interesting topics doesn't feel like work, and I love what I do.

The other part of my job is producing daily "Trib TV" videos for, the website for The Tampa Tribune newspaper. Creating at least one video a day isn't something I had ever done before, but I'm so thankful that I get to hone this skill for a company that embraces new ideas.

I have so much respect for bloggers who are able to bring home the bacon from a 9 to 5 and still blog multiple times a week. They deserve a cookie, a high five, or a "you go, girl" at the very least.

I've found that I'm not one of those people. When I get home from slaying it at work, I'm in no mood to sit in front of a computer screen.

2. I got married.
I tied the knot with the love of my life on July 5 during a hot air balloon wedding. It took place at sunrise in nearby Wesley Chapel. The balloon was inflated, and we stepped into the basket and said our vows surrounded by our families. Then, we were lifted into the air, and we floated over neighborhoods, fields and lakes. It was so sublime.

My dress was from ModCloth (of course), my head piece from David's Bridal, and my bouquet from Etsy shop Smitten With Details. Amanda did an amazing job incorporating my colors and making the felt and yarn flowers look just right.

Here are a few screen shots of a photo book I made on Shutterfly.

3. I honeymooned in Europe for two weeks.
If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably seen my honeymoon travels. We spent a week in Italy, and a week in Finland. It. Was. AWESOME!

In Italy, we stayed in Cinque Terre, a group of five fishing towns on the Italian Riviera. The southernmost town is Riomaggiore, and we had an apartment there.

Cinque Terre is an absolutely beautiful place. There are vibrant buildings juxtaposed with vineyard-covered mountains. We explored all five towns, and the highlight of the trip was hiking from Monterosso, the northernmost town, to Vernazza, the next town south.

Newlyweds in front of the ocean in Riomaggiore.

The Riomaggiore coastline.

The beach in Monterosso.

Manarola is the most beautiful town, IMO.

Honeymooners. :)

Our hike to Vernazza.


Admiring the Riomaggiore coast on our last night.

Sunset over Cinque Terre.

My European BFF, Mimmu, is from Finland. We were roommates my last semester of college when she was an exchange student. We stayed with her in Helsinki and also visited her dad's summer cottage on a lake in Visuvesi.

It was so nice seeing Mimmu (it had been three years since my last visit) and having our own private Finnish tour guide, translator, driver and chef. We ended up calling her Mimmu-mummi (Mimmu-mommy) because she basically took amazing care of us the entire time we were there.

Probably the most unique aspect of the Finnish leg of our trip was seeing the midnight sun. In the summer, the sun doesn't set because of Finland's proximity to the North Pole. I've never experiences 24-hour sunlight before, and it was surreal to be sitting outside at midnight with the sun still shining.

Lake cottage in Visuvesi.

Me and Mimmu. <3

Beautiful sky reflected in the lake. This photo was taken at about 10 p.m.

The flowers there were so pretty.

And who doesn't love daisies?

We went to a cute place nearby called Virrat Heritage Village with old-style buildings, a restaurant with authentic Finnish food, and a petting zoo.

And I made a new friend. :)

Getting ready for a day of shopping in Helsinki.

And relaxing with cider after hitting up all the best stores.

I'm looking forward to making another Shutterfly photo book from all my honeymoon photos. IncidentallyShutterfly is running some great deals, including $10 off any purchase of $45 or more, 10 free cards, and one free 11 oz. white ceramic mug with valid promotional codes.

So, that's how I spent my summer. What have you been up to?

This post containsModCloth and Shutterfly affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you click on them and make a purchase.