Photo of the Week No. 29: “Belding’s Office”

July 18, 2018

Guys, I finally got to step inside Mr. Belding’s office! This Photo of the Week is a snapshot from my visit to Saved by the Max, the “Saved by the Bell” theme restaurant in West Hollywood. It’s been booked for months, so my guy and I were lucky to get in when a friend had a pair of extra tickets. As a kid watching the ’90s teen sitcom, I always dreamed about going on a date with Zack Morris at the Max (and sharing a milkshake while listening to “our song,” A12 in the jukebox — too detailed?), cheering on Bayside (and Slater) at a wrestling match, chatting by the lockers with my girl Lisa Turtle, and even being called in to the principal’s (Belding’s) office (for a good reason, obvi). On Sunday, we had the chance to dine and run wild in the restaurant, and, trust, I took photos of all the memorabilia. Having a separate room set up like Mr. Belding’s office was a nice touch. Super nostalgic! Of course, the wood-paneled room had a desk with a name plate and a framed photo of everyone’s favorite princi-pal, among other trinkets. Run, don’t walk, to Saved by the Max, and let me know what you think!

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 28: “Words of Art”

July 10, 2018

I’m a huge fan of typography and handwritten words in general, and that’s why it’s on display in this Photo of the Week. This particular image was taken at the Guga S’thebe Arts & Culture Centre in the Langa Township, when I visited Cape Town, South Africa, in April. The handwriting (I believe it’s in Afrikaans) on the sign has so much personality. Heck, I’d even choose it if it were a font available in Word or Photoshop. What struck me about this scene is there’s something about the way the sign — colorful chalk and quirky handwriting and all — is positioned at the threshold of an arts center with the artistic elements of the building in the background. It’s a work of art in and of itself.

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 27: “Plumes of Peonies”

July 2, 2018

I haven’t met a peony that I didn’t like, and seeing these here peonies was love at first sight. That’s why they’re the star of this Photo of the Week. At first glance, my mind takes me to tropical settings, thanks to the popping pink color on the flowers, the vibrant green leaves and the red branches in the arrangement. These flowers look like they’d be in the lobby of a swanky hotel, but reality this image was taken at a café. Always take time to smell the roses photograph the peonies!

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Wednesday Word

June 27, 2018

This Wednesday Word No. 108, spotted on Pinterest, is an on-time reminder that if you’ve still got breath in your lungs, you have lots to be thankful for. If I’m being honest, the month of June has been a bit of a doozy. I was in a car accident, a four-car pile-up on the 405 caused by a girl plowing right into the back of my car during rush-hour traffic. My beloved Lisa McDowell, whom I named after a character in my favorite movie “Coming to America,” ended up being declared a total loss because the repair costs exceeded the actual value of the vehicle. And then I had an allergic reaction to the first dose of my MS medicine. My face, neck and chest broke out in a rash that I’m still trying to get under control. After waiting two months for insurance to approve the medicine and for it to arrive and for me to learn how to inject myself, I now have to search for a new medicine and begin the lengthy process all over again. On the bright side, I walked away from the accident unscathed. My life was spared, Praise God! Plus, I am now the proud owner of a used 2018 Kia Optima! Her name is a work in progress, but I’m leaning towards Vivian Anita (guess why!). And at least now I know what to avoid in future treatment of my MS, and I’m one step closer to finding the best medicine for me. I’m alive, blessed (and highly favored) and very grateful. God has been so good to me! If you’re in the midst of a storm, hang on. It’s not over. If God brought you through tough times in the past, He’ll do it again! Thinking back on past blessings and victories is always guaranteed to lift my spirits. If you’re in need of a smile, I suggest you start there!

To get inspired by previous Wednesday Word posts, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 26: “First She’s Sour, Then She’s Sweet”

June 26, 2018

This Photo of the Week stars my own little Sour Patch Kid, my 16-month-old niece Azalea. I had the pleasure of spending some time with Zae and my family for a little while this weekend. I captured many precious moments of her and her cousins, but this flat out made me guffaw! This is the face she makes when she’s up to no good. LOL. The scrunched nose and wide grin are indicators that Zae is about to run wild. One second, she’s causing mischief. The next, she’s putting her head on your shoulder or at your feet with both arms raised gently asking to be picked up. I love her sassy, sweet personality, and I hope she never grows out of it!

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 25: “Summer Amusement”

June 19, 2018

This Photo of the Week was captured in the throes of fun at the Santa Monica Pier last Saturday for my job’s summer party. This particular image is a case of being at the right place at the right time. As I was chatting with my guy and my brother, I looked up to see the famous West Coaster roller coaster was passing through against the backdrop of the iconic Ferris wheel. This image is a snapshot of whimsy and merriment. To me, it represents good-natured, old-fashioned family fun, as evidenced by some of the riders’ hands in the air and smiles on their faces. Alternate titles: “Party at the Pier,” “At Play at the Pier,” “Wild Ride,” “Rolling with the Homies,” “Screaming, Joking, Straight West Coastin'” and “Screaming Summertime Fun.”

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 24: “Bath Time”

June 12, 2018

If there’s one thing Berkeley, my four-legged rapscallion, despises the most it’s bath time, without a doubt. This Photo of the Week captures the hate pretty well, in my humble opinion. I mean, check out his crooked muzzle. It’s like he’s saying, “Oh, so you really wanna snap photos right now?! Woooooow, Mom! I’m about to cuss.” I also enjoy the detail found in the droplets dangling from the whiskers on his chinny chin chin. And that his shnarly snout is in focus, while his eyes, ears and body are softly blurred in the background.

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 23: “Langa Landscape”

June 4, 2018

This Photo of the Week is one of many from my recent travels to South Africa — the Langa township, more specifically. You guys, it really was a treasure trove of unique sights and sounds. Saddle up, because this isn’t the last of township images that are bound to make the cut as future Photos of the Week. This image is one of the stark reminders of beauty being any and everywhere. To the lay person, this is an unkempt lawn rife with reminders of scarcity. To me, it’s the manifestation of life at odds. It’s where beauty meets struggle. The colors, the half cab of the truck — they demand your attention. I couldn’t look away. Hopefully this image moves you in some way or makes you see things from a different lens.

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Wednesday Word

May 30, 2018

This Wednesday Word No. 107, spotted on Pinterest, happens to fall on World MS Day. You might be wondering why I’m posting about multiple sclerosis, one of the most common neurological disorders and causes of disability in young adults. The truth is, I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS on March 9, 2018, after an arduous six-month process of trying to figure out why my left foot went numb out of nowhere. I’ve had to repeat the words in the image above to myself more times than I can count.

MS has been a journey that has challenged me in ways I could never have imagined. I often fear how this autoimmune disease will attack me. How long it will be before I have another flareup. If I’ll be able to walk unassisted down the aisle on that big day when it comes. What people assume when they see my lopsided walk and leg brace (I’ve dubbed it my “bionic boot”!). If I’ll ever regain strength, feeling in my left foot. Whether this was something I could have prevented (MS is caused my environmental factors and is prevalent in people with Vitamin D deficiency). How long it will take me to find my “new normal” and what that will look like. If the sting of (well-meaning?) passersby and strangers greeting me with unsolicited remarks like “What did you do to yourself?” and “What’s up with your foot?” will ever be less jarring. If the physical therapy will be enough to help me get my old gait back.

I try to take these struggles — these minuscule mountains that stand before me day after day — in stride, but I must admit that this battle kicks my butt some days. There are prolonged periods of fatigue that seemingly take forever to shake, where I fall asleep on the couch after getting home from work, only to wake up at 1 a.m. with all the lights on and my dog running around irked because I haven’t yet walked him. There are times when walking to my car a block away from my apartment or even across the office to a meeting room is a chore. There are an onslaught of drifting thoughts that rob me of my focus, and cloud all semblance of collectedness and clarity.

Last week I started experiencing new symptoms — intense tingling in my right leg — and it was super scary. My neurologist recommended I undergo an IV infusion of medrol/steroids over five consecutive days to reduce the inflammation. I laughed when he told me. It was unreal how matter-of-factly those words rolled off his tongue. That’s something that I’m still getting used to — the big words, the unheard-of remedies, the expectation that I automatically wrap my mind around them once uttered. It’s still all new to me. The IV treatment lasts four hours. Today was day two of the treatment. It’s taxing. Saddening. Draining. Uncomfortable. It forces me to sit there and come to grips with this illness. I hope these visits don’t happen often.

As I type this, tears stream down my cheeks from the weight of it all, and Berkeley, my four-legged cuddle bug, promptly hops on my lap to comfort me. It’s these little moments that that give me strength to press on. To the friends and loved ones who’ve checked on me daily; called to chat about current events like Cousin Meghan and her royal wedding; made me guffaw heartily at their East Coast shenanigans; let me know that they “got” me and not to hesitate to let them know if they can help in any way, no matter how big or small; sent me throwback memes and videos (Raise your hand if you remember the 1990s PBS gem “Zoom”!) on the Gram; entertained my antics; presented me with unthinkable theories about the Sixers mascot and “Atlanta” that literally floored me with laughter; made the mundane feel magical; came to have lunch with me at my job; or texted a simple “How are you, homegirl?,” “Praying for you” or “Thinking of you” — it means more to me than you’ll ever know. And a special shout out to my fellow MS warriors who have given me pointers and guidance at the height of my feeling lost. You guys are my tribe and I’m blessed to have you all in my life. I refuse to let my diagnosis be a death sentence. If God woke me up today, that means He has given me a gift that I can’t pass up. It’s my charge to make the most of these 24 hours. And by golly, I’ve been fighting to make them count.

In honor of World MS Day, I hope that you’ll learn a little more about this disease that 400,000 people in the United States and 2.5 million people around the globe are living with. And I hope that if you know anyone with MS that you’ll send them some love today and whenever they cross your mind. We need it to survive.

Photo of the Week No. 22: “A Peanut in the Belly”

May 29, 2018

This Photo of the Week was captured this past weekend at my good friend Amber’s baby shower, and she looked gorgeous — big baby belly and all! She and her husband AJ are expecting a baby girl, Daryn. I got to feel my honorary niece moving around in her mom’s stomach, which was the coolest yet weirdest feeling. There’s legit a baby in Amber’s stomach! And she’ll be here real soon. This image was taken when Amber picked the winning onesie from the little garden of onesies that guests decorated. There’s actually a really cute story behind it. Amber’s late grandfather used to call her “Peanut,” so I’m sure seeing the little peanut drawing on her baby girl will bring fond memories of him to mind. There’s hints of how special the name “Peanut” is by the smile on Amber’s face. I can’t wait to meet little Daryn! Alternate titles: “Baby’s Got Bump,” “I Don’t See Nothin’ Wrong With a Little Baby Bump and Grind,” “Peanut’s Pretty in Pink” and “Watch Out World — It’s a Baby Girl.”

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores