Category Archives: Other Stuff

1 Second Everyday for 2018

Last year on a whim, I downloaded the 1 Second Everyday video app. The concept is that you do a video a day and pull one second from each to compile a video snapshot of the entire year. At the end of the year, you have a video that’s a few minutes long and showcases a little bit of your life from each day of the past year. How wonderful!

I will say upfront, I am usually terrible at sticking with something that has to be done every single day. I forget. I get tired of it. I get behind and then quit altogether. Something like this is most definitely not the type of thing I’d say I’m good at. However, I finished the year with only missing ONE DAY from my video. Just one day! Not only am I thrilled to have this documentation of such a big year, I’m incredibly proud of myself for sticking with it.

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2016 Book Report – Part One

I did a lot of reading this past year, much more than any of my previous adult years. I recently fell back into a habit of reading and I made it somewhat of a priority in 2016. I thought I’d do a quick review of what I read last year. I’ve broken the list down into two parts for your reading pleasure. Here’s some of what I read in 2016:

Big Magic.

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Currently: Mid-September

Small Towns are Full of Assholes Trunk available at Firecracker - The StoreI did my first “currently” post here because I’d never done one and kind of liked them. Today I’m coming back at you with a second edition. Since we’re all friends here, (Right? We’re all friends??) I’ll be transparent and say that at 9pm last night I realized that I did not have Thursday’s blog post ready to go. *gasp!* And since I set a goal this month to get back to my Monday/Thursday schedule, I had to get something ready to go. Fast. Sooo….to distract from the embarrassment of my unpreparedness, let’s get on with it.

Currently I am:
reeling with excitement from the launch of Firecracker -The Store’s social media. (Instagram / Facebook) Seriously. So exciting!!

dying at how funny that sticker is on a trunk I have in the shop. Small towns can be full of a bunch of assholes…

feeling so incredibly loved from the amount of support and kind words that have been sent my way lately.

regretting committing myself to a party at my “new” house in less than two weeks.

working like a mad woman on said house.

making lots and lots of lists.

looking at what might be one of our best months in real estate thus far. Four closings just this week! *happy dance*

trying yoga. For real. Like in a class with an instructor. I’m as shocked as you are.

actually liking yoga.  

writing more and more each day, thankfully.

waiting on the weather to turn.  (Bye, Felicia! – that’s what I’m saying to summer.)

drinking all the pumpkin spice lattes.

about Christmas.

reminding myself that done is better than perfect.

focusing on making the right decisions, being the best version of myself possible, blocking out all negativity, and trusting my gut.

What are you up to so far in September? The month is half way through and it’s been a busy few weeks already! I’m looking forward to wrapping up the month strong. What are you most excited about this month? For me, it’s the *fingers crossed* possibility of FALL!

Things I’m Loving Right Now.

Hey everyone! I didn’t properly introduce myself last week. My name is Ashlee. I am friends with Pamela and I also work for her. She gave me the opportunity to guest post here last Monday (you can read that post here) and she is also letting me guest post this Monday. Your regularly scheduled Pamela posts will come back soon, I promise.

Things I'm Loving Right Now. Read more at pamelapetrus.comPamela and I both are list people. We value a good to-do list, a call list (inside joke, but I couldn’t resist), I even love a good pro-con list. I like to think I’m very Rory Gilmore in that sense. So I thought it would be fun to share a list of things that I am loving right now (or looking forward to). Ready? Here goes nothing:

  1. Oh, The Places You’ll Go!  by Dr. Seuss. Don’t ever let my age fool you, I’m a child at heart. I also L O V E words and what they can do. This book was given to me when I graduated high school and I recently picked up another copy to gift to someone. I sat at Starbucks reading my children’s book this weekend and I just thought to myself, “EVERYONE needs to read this!! It is SO GOOD!” So, go pick up a copy. I got this one for $10 at Target. Read it yourself, then one day when you don’t need its wisdom share it with someone else who does.
  2. Insta Dri Nail Polish in Slick as Slate has been gracing my fingers and toes for weeks now. I take it off just to put it back on. In high school I was all funky colors. I wanted lime green toes and bright blue fingers. I definitely still have that same taste and get a little crazy with my nail color sometimes, but I’m trying to streamline my nails more so lately. After three consecutive weddings in the fall and so much nude nail polish, I kind of fell in love with gray. It goes with everything and it’s still kind of fun. It’s not black but it still gives the same vibes. Summer is coming quickly and I’m sure I’ll break out the pinks and blues but for a couple of more weeks, I’m going to rock that gray.
  3. Mid-Rise Super Skinny Jeans (Dark Wash) are my favorite jeans. I went to a high school where it was a rule to tuck in your shirt and so I have boycotted the idea of tucked in anything for the past five years. But after I bought these jeans I saw someone tuck in a shirt to some high-waisted jeans. I thought it was super cute, so I tried it with these and I loved it. A cute blue and white striped blouse tucked in with my beige cardigan, these jeans and some cute shoes….I feel less frumpy and more together. Plus these jeans dress up better than almost any other pair of jeans I’ve had. (*Note: jeans can only be so dressy, I’m learning.)
  4. One Tree Hill is one of the few TV shows I am watching right now. Usually I limit myself to investing in one show at a time. I don’t want to spend ridiculous amounts of time watching television; I would rather be doing about eight million other things. However, I usually have one on hand to relax and let my mind be distracted with. OTH is one of my favorites. This is my first time watching it from Season 1 all the way through. What a journey it has been! I wasn’t allowed to watch it when it was airing on TV but I would still sneak it in sometimes. I’ve always loved it but there’s something nice about returning to Tree Hill every once in a while. #Nathan&HaleyForever #BDavisIsAGirlBoss
  5. Friends is another TV show. I said in the last point that I only watch one show at a time but right now I’m watching a few. Well Friends is one of the others. I have never watched this show. Maybe one or two random episodes, but I didn’t like them. After a long weekend in Dallas with some friends, I came home obsessed with the show. I took every Friends quiz to see which character I am and who my Friends soulmate is (Chandler. Of course.). Have I mentioned that I’m only 22?! This show came out six days prior to my first birthday. Oh how I love it now though!
  6. This workout has kicked my butt and it has been awesome! For the next few days after doing it, every laugh hurt so bad that I would say “OUCH!”. Pamela asked me if I had broken a rib and not told anyone. It was an intense workout, but so good. I typically just run and do some bodyweight training. This shook up my routine and I definitely didn’t hate it. Working out is fun to me and I love the satisfaction of being sore later and this one didn’t leave me disappointed there. I made some modifications where it called for dumbbells since I didn’t have any. For the plank rows, I used books (Insurgent and Allegiant to be precise). Then for the dumbbell crunches I instead did the superman yoga pose. It was so challenging but I can’t wait to do it again!
  7. Warm weather, sunshine and flowers mean summer is coming. I was made for warm weather and sunshine. As I’ve gotten older I have been able to more greatly appreciate the other seasons too, but still, my heart beats for 80+ degree days and sunshine. I am anxiously awaiting the days of cute shorts and warm summer nights. I want ALL of the flowers. I want to plant flowers in pots. I want them in vases in my house. I want to pick them and smell them all. I also just want to lay in the sunshine all day. Is this too much to ask?
  8. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is my favorite new movie. I can definitively say this because I have been to the movies at least once a week since the new year almost without fail. I have seen a lot of movies so far this year and this has been my favorite. This is not a big shocker at all to anyone who knows me. The movie was just very real, very honest and I think it honored the men who served there in Benghazi. Definitely worth watching.

Things I'm Loving Right Now. Read more at pamelapetrus.comThese are some of my favorite things right now. What are some of yours? What is inspiring you right now?

Guest post by Ashlee Matthews from

“Live It Like a Song”

I have been trying really hard lately to figure it all out. I just want to know certain things. What is the right thing? What is the thing I was made to do? Who do I want to be or become? I want to have it all nailed down and to know what is going to happen next or even just if I’m where I’m supposed to be currently. I can’t shake my own restlessness and I just can’t seem to find peace in my story.

I listened to Jon Foreman’s TEDx talk recently. Jon is my favorite writer and one of my favorite musicians. He’s basically just an incredible human being. Jon spoke on what it means to “live your song” and how you can do that. He suggests that inside each of us is a song and we can offer that to the world. A lot of times we wonder if our song matters. In the big picture of life, next to all of the war, hate, divorce, etc. does our song matter? . . . It does. It has power and it matters, he says. There is an empty space in the rhythm of life without your song. But that’s not even my favorite part.

Towards the end, Jon starts talking about how we have to have the ability to forgive ourselves for the wrong notes. We are going to mess up in life, we are going to play the wrong note. The act of living is messy, imperfect, and awkward at times, but we have to give ourselves grace, as we also have to show grace to those who “wrong note against us”, he says (I chuckled a lot at that line). He moves on to say that as a musician, you find yourselves making music with the tension. There is tension in the strings of a guitar, but it can make a beautiful melody. We live in the tension. We live in the struggle (amen, Jon!). We have the ability to make music with the tension in our lives, though. We can create a beautiful melody with the struggle, the pain, the hurt, the anger, etc.. I processed that thought for days after hearing his talk. I feel the tension in my life, most certainly. What if instead of trying to relieve the tension though, I made a melody out of it? What if I worked within the tension instead of trying to get out of it? Mind blown.

I was so pumped because Jon kept commanding: “Be brave. Be brave with your song.” Brave was my word for 2015. I wanted so badly to be brave, something I didn’t think I had in me. Looking back I see the bravery in that year. I see it in small acts like embracing silence and acknowledging my own feelings. I see it in the really big moments like resigning from my first big girl job and completing my first Tough Mudder. Even though this is a new year and I have a new word, I think I’m going to hold onto brave. Probably forever. It’s one of my favorite words and it’s what we all need to be, with our lives and our songs. Sure, that can be scary. What if we mess up? What if it doesn’t sound as good as someone else’s? What if we fail? All of those are valid questions and the fear is valid, yet we must play anyway. We must live anyways. Be brave.

I don’t know what it looks like necessarily to “live my song”. I think maybe it looks a little something like being myself . Maybe accepting the things I can offer to the world, my gifts if you will, and using them to make the world a better place. Focusing on the things I do  have to offer instead of focusing on the things I don’t might be a good start. Living in love would be a good next step for me. Just being loving and showing others that they are loved. Then, I think it’s just being free in knowing who I am and who I am not. My word for this year is become. I want to become myself and stop trying to be anybody who is not me. God did not make two of me, nor did He make me in anyone else’s image except His own, so trying to be like anyone else is a terrible plan. I love running. I love writing. I love Jesus, chocolate, fish, tacos, tattoos, Duke basketball, large bodies of water, any kind of music and dolphins. I love to dance but I’m not very good at it. I laugh at everything. I’m clumsy. I’m smart and yet sometimes I lack common sense (ironing clothes for instance…). It’s all part of my song. It’s what makes me, well me. These things, they make up who I am and they contribute to the song I make out of my life, a song that’s all my own.

"Live It Like a Song." reat

I hope that you will be brave with your song. I hope you will let yourself live your song and know that it matters. You don’t have to have it all figured out, neither do I, but maybe if we just keep playing our melody each day, letting our song set the tone, it will lead us right to where we belong.

“On that final day I die

I want to hold my head up high

I want to tell you that I’ve tried

To live it like a song”

-Jon Foreman

Be brave with your song.


guest post by Ashlee Matthews from





Coffee Before Talkie at pamelapetrus.comThis past Thursday I got a steroid shot and per usual, I was awake all night. As I laid in bed and catnapped, I had a few thoughts. First of all, I’m super glad that I went on to the doctor early. He said this crummy feeling and annoying cough is going to hang around for at least a week. Not cool, sickness. Nonetheless, I knew that I’d be wide awake that night as soon as I felt that lovely prick in my hip. Steroid shots burn, y’all. For real.

Here are some miscellaneous thoughts I had as I lied awake Thursday night:

  • I love being awake when the rest of the world is asleep. For me, there’s something so relaxing about knowing no one is going to bother me for a bit. On the contrary, being asleep when the rest of the world is awake gives me quite a bit of anxiety. One of my more thought-provoking pieces was written about these late night hours.  And another one. 
  • I tend to be super creative and inspired during these hours. My thoughts and imagination run wild and some of my most creative ideas and breakthroughs have happened when I should have been sleeping. I tend to have to weed out the crazy stuff after I’ve had some sleep though. Not everything I churn out under the influence of delusion makes sense.
  • I’m much more more bold and brave during these hours. I’ll comment on a stranger’s post, encourage someone that I might have thought twice about normally, and write more “real” things when I’m awake late at night. If only I kept up that courage all the time..
  • I dream during these hours. (Not literally, obviously. This post is about being awake!) I think about the what-ifs and how to make magical things happen. I make plans for putting ideas into action and I often work out kinks in ideas that I haven’t been able to finalize yet. I always feel like I can take on the world during these hours.
  • My bed feels soooo comfortable. For those times I stay in bed instead of getting up to be productive, I realize just how awesome and cozy my bed is. I feel like it just swallows me up and hugs me. And then I continue to lie there awake.
  • I almost always want to paint. For some reason, I’m always inspired to paint in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, I’m usually too tired to actually give it a shot. Maybe I should! I could be missing out on some Midnight Masterpieces!
  • I think about myself more than other people. During the day, my thoughts are usually consumed with other people. Is so-and-so ok? Did I forget to do something for or follow up with someone? Did that person just take my humor in the wrong way? Does someone else need me? During these late nights hours though, I think about myself. My thoughts. My feelings. My dreams and ideas. It’s very refreshing and motivating.
  • I’ve done this late night thing every now and then since I can remember, even without steroids provoking it. As a girl, I can remember going to my mom and telling her I couldn’t sleep. (She was always awake too, so genetics probably play a part in this.) She would always tell me to “just go rest.” I didn’t usually fall back asleep, though I did feel more rested the next day than if I’d stayed up. Now when I struggle to sleep, I tell myself to “just rest.” That’s what I did on Thursday, which resulted in a series of quick naps throughout the night. At least some sleep is better than no sleep! (My Fitbit says I slept for 2 hours and 21 minutes.)
  • I feel lucky and thankful and grateful in the middle of the night. Oddly, my thoughts are usually super encouraging and positive late at night. I find myself being thankful for my life, my possessions, and my business. I even begin to appreciate the imperfections! This is another item I’d love to carryover into the daylight hours.
  • I send all of the emails to my team. I don’t believe it sending business related messages after business hours. (It’s a new thing that I am passionate about…setting boundaries for work and such.) However, when the ideas – the good, the bad, and the ridiculous – are bursting through my mind late at night, I fire away! This is probably a tad overwhelming for my team when they start their work day the next day. I just know that if I don’t send these ideas right then, they’ll have vanished by the morning. Bits of genius only stick around for a moment when they come late at night. And they might be buried among a few absurd options. That’s just how it works.

(Business tip: If you want to go ahead and respond to a business email after hours, type it up and save it in your drafts. Then, send it first thing the next morning. This begins to cultivate a culture of business for you and teaches people when you’ll be available for business discussions. I don’t really care for the term “work-life balance.” Boundaries, however, are important.)

P. S. Someone told me that I should “be a writer” recently and it made my whole week. In reality I am already a writer. However, her insisting that I should be a legit, professional, get-paid-for-it writer was so encouraging and reassuring. It truly means the world to me when you guys comment, mention a specific post, or talk about reading the blog in general. It encourages me more than you know, and I am so appreciative! (I probably shouldn’t have mentioned “being a writer” on this random post. Ha! Oh well. It’s Monday.)

8 Cute Valentine’s Day Ideas

This is the “month of love” and it’s no secret that Valentine’s Day isn’t really my jam. My husband is thankful that I’ve never expected a delivery of grossly over-priced flowers or some fancy jewelry. And for the love of God, do not get me a stuffed animal. Even though I don’t get carried away in the hype of the holiday, I do think it can be a sweet day. Rather than being all about a significant other, I think it’s a good opportunity to show love and kindness to anyone…children, coworkers, and even strangers. You don’t have to be happily married, living in a two-story brick house, with 2.5 children to enjoy Valentine’s Day.

My apologies. That was a bit of a soap box moment. Even though I do have some tiny issues with the commercialization of the holiday, there are a ton of really cute Valentine’s Day items around the web. Here are links to some of my favorites this year.
Joanna Gaines' Tic-Tac-Toe Valentines. Read more at pamelapetrus.comI loved these handmade tic-tac-toe gifts by Joanna Gaines. This could be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like. At first glance, one would probably think that only the over-achieving Pinterest moms would do these Valentines. However, it wouldn’t really take that much effort, and I love that it’s not something that’ll be thrown away in less than a week. That longevity is a major win in my book.

Funny Valentine Cards. Read more at pamelapetrus.comThese funny Valentines are right up my alley (and free to print)! I’m not much of a mushy gal, so something with a bit of humor is more fitting for me. And these are quite funny.

How to say “I love you” around the world. What a great skill to have!

We’ve been eating a lot of cheese and crackers lately. (Random, I know.) Why not use a cookie cutter to cut it into little hearts??

What a cute idea for Valentines from the kiddos to their grandparents, etc.

Valentine Socks. Read more at pamelapetrus.comI’m a sucker for a cute pair of socks (especially fuzzy ones). This would be a great, inexpensive gift to hand out around the office. Or teacher’s gifts?

And I just loved this full-blown plan for Galentine’s Day. Seeing someone put so much work into celebrating their friends gives me all the feels.

This french bread pizza is more like how the Petruses will actually celebrate Valentine’s Day….except probably without the hearts.

Happy February, friends. Go wear something red and tell someone you love them!

Also, my Valentine’s Day last year and my Valentine’s favorites from 2014.

January: Review in Pictures

January in Review. Read more at pamelapetrus.comJanuary was such an awesome month. It’s naturally one of my favorites because it’s my birthday month. I also love the “fresh start” and the emphasis on goal-setting. These things combined mean January can’t help but be at the top of my list. As we welcome the month of love, I decided to highlight a few of my favorite moments from this past month.

  1. We finally hung curtains in the living room! It’s been a year and a half since we’ve been in this house…with no curtains. I chose to add these to the month of memories because this overdue change made such a difference in the room, and I feel so happy and accomplished every time I look at them.
  2.  I started working on my daily step goal! I’m not doing super awesome at it. I’ll admit it. However, progress is better than perfection, and I’m definitely more aware of my activity level these days.
  3.  All the houses! January has started off with a bang in the real estate arena. I’m so thankful for a good jump on the year, and I’m so very excited about the growth/changes on the horizon. (P.S. Be sure to let me know when you hear of someone looking to buy/sell a house. I can help anywhere in the US!)
  4.  Our dining room got a bit of a makeover. This photo symbolizes the changes we’ve made in our dining room to create a temporary workspace for my growing team. It also shows that I’m keeping some plants alive (a 2016 goal) and that I FINALLY pulled out this adorable print that I ordered almost 3 years ago. This photo celebrates a lot of milestones and progress for the month.
  5.  I celebrated my 30th birthday!!! We definitely couldn’t recap the month without mentioning this fact. It was definitely the highlight of my month.
  6.  I chose a word for the year and talked about it here on the blog. I’ve already had multiple opportunities to practice being courageous.
  7. I’m painting! I set up a painting nook, and I’ve done some random painting lately. I also talked about some hesitations and developments in the area here.
  8.  This truly is my year. I know without a doubt that 2016 is going to be one of those fundamental, unforgettable years. Big things are going to happen. I just know it. This photo represents the time I spent goal-setting and planning for the year.
  9. I worked on several house projects! One magical day, Matthew and I got so much done around the house. This photo is from a project in my closet room, and I’m happy to report that this room is so close to being “finished.”

Hooray for a productive month! I feel like it’s been waaaay longer than just 31 days, and I’m thrilled about how much was accomplished. I’m also VERY encouraged for the rest of the year. If as much happens the rest of the year as it has in January, I can only imagine what all I’ll have to report in December!

Looking back on the month like this is fun! I think I might start a new tradition. Hello, February…can’t wait to see what we accomplish together!