Monday, March 30, 2009

It's About that Time ...

To pack!
Because I'm leaving on a jet plane ... don't know when I'll be back again.

Happy Monday Y'all!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Great necessities call out great virtues." - John Adams

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Top Secret .... Sssshhh..... Don't You Dare Tell

I'm tempted to tell you about the J.Cre* warehouse sale I went to on Saturday .... but then I wouldn't want too much more competition showing up at the future sales .... because let me tell you, it's fierce.

It's a dog eat dog way of life at these sales.

On your way into the warehouse, you're greeted by a police officer and then handed a huge (bigger than anything you'd find in a regular household) garbage bag and a flyer with prices listed. I would tell you the prices, but you would be beyond jealous, so I'll keep it to myself. Just know, they are good prices. Good -- as in -- you've never bought anything for this cheap in all your life.

Half the warehouse is lined with fold-out tables with open cardboard boxes atop. People - I mean girls - are frantically fighting their way through these boxes, trying to find anything in their size or close to their size. They're stuffing things into their garbage bag so fast you'd think it's free. Well, it's pretty darn close to free.

Then the workers start opening other boxes and holding garments up and yelling out the size. The girl with her hand in the air first wins the prize. If you notice a large, swarming mob in the room, you know there is a worker who has just opened a new box.

Meanwhile, there are no dressing rooms where one would try the clothes on. So the center of the warehouse becomes a makeshift dressing room. People are pulling dresses-- including wedding gowns-- over their jeans and sweatshirts trying to figure out if the garment fits. Other girls are like vultures, looking to others' piles of goodies in hopes that they can finagle an item away without anyone noticing. Some girls are schemers. They make friends with the fellow tryer-oners in hopes of their leftovers.

Like I said, it's a dog eat dog world.

I wouldn't go so far as to analogize it to Filene's selling designer wedding gowns, but it can get pretty crazy. Prepare yourself for some elbows and a bruise or two.

But then again, why would you go??? It's not like they have anything there. (wink,wink).

Monday, March 23, 2009

"Whatever the world thinks, he who hath not much meditated upon God, the human mind, and the summum bonum, may possibly make a thriving earthworm, but will most indubitably make a sorry patriot and a sorry statesman." - George Berkeley

(My husband will likely l-o-v-e this quote!)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Oh so helpful- The Very Best of British: The American's Guide to Speaking British

Savor Grace

Located in an Old Country Farmhouse.

So Inviting!

Last night Dad and I had dinner at Grace's Restaurant. (Rebecca, you would love Grace's!) Currently, Grace's is running a fabulous promotion to encourage "economic stimulus." I happily enjoy supporting local restaurants who buy local, organic, and biodynamic -- and Grace's does not disappoint in the flavor department. We both had fresh salad (the greens of which were grown in a Lynchburg greenhouse) and French country bread with homemade butter. Then I had orange butter Skate (a fish) with grits and peas. And let me tell you -- those peas beat any mushy peas I've had in Britain! We rounded out our meal with fresh gingercake and chocolate mousse. It was delish, and of course, the company was fantastic!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

"If the book we are reading does not wake us, as with a fist hammering on our skull, why then do we read it?... A book must be like an ice-axe to break the frozen sea within us." - Kafka 


I love that my sister will be on the 10 o'clock train into Lynchburg tonight. 

It's a Miracle

We've been issued our visas. Matt leaves today. I rebooked the return portion of my flight -- and here's the kicker: it was only $89. I have a knack for never coming or going on the original book dates, so I know what hefty change fees look like and I am thankful, thankful, thankful they didn't slap me with a bigger fee!

On another note -- cheers to delightful spring weather! I am enjoying the sun and warmer temps!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Check out that beautiful sunset!
The cutest mom and dad there ever was!
I'm obsessed with the sunsets over the mountains. Gorgeous!

Have you ever had a moment in life where you wanted time to freeze and everything to stay the same? Where life is so sweet and so good you just want to bottle it up and keep it that way? The past few weeks in Lynchburg have been that sweet and so good. 

I think Lynchburg is good for my soul. It's possibly a combination of things: the pace of life, the mountains, the local way of life, a good church, the people. There's a lot of good people in Lynchburg. Have I mentioned that before? Man, everywhere I turn I'm running into good people here. I can hardly walk into a coffee shop here without running into someone who's really meant something special to me or who I've had a hearty laugh with. 

The past few weeks have been spent with all kinds of people we just adore. In addition to lots of quality time with my parents, we've had dinner with Deb & Jordan, cookouts at the Giles and at Brad's, many meals with Jalvis & Meg ... then with Scott & Holly, tea & dessert with an old prof and his wife. Yesterday I spent the afternoon with a dear, dear friend who was a bridesmaid in my wedding -- I can't explain to you how good it was to catch up with her after not having seen her in over a year and a half. 

Lynchburg holds such a dear place in my heart -- not because it's such a cool, little city -- but because of all the wonderful people who make this community so enriching and unique. If I could bottle it up, I would. Instead, I'll remember just how blessed I've been. 

P.S. - If you've never had ice cream from Coldstone Creamery, you have not lived. In the picture below, I'm happily about to dig into cake batter ice cream. If you're one of those people who loves a dabble of cake batter (or cookie dough) before it hits the oven, you must try this delectable treat! 

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Size of Texas

Clearly, there is no better way to start a Saturday morning than with a chocolate covered strawberry the size of Texas. (Compliments of Edible Arrangements).
Note: that strawberry is the size of my palm!
A very happy Ashli.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Favorite "M's" of Lynchburg

Moyanne Interiors

Montana Plains Bakery in Boonesboro (Try the ham and gouda brioche)

Marlin - the Blue Marlin to be precise- fish tacos at lunch: yum!

Rest Easy ...

It's almost the weekend!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"Lynchburg is growing more rapidly than any [town] I have ever known in any country." - Thomas Jefferson in 1817

Did You Know?

Did you know that you can find out the city's assessed value of any home and the price the owner purchased the home for? If you are on the market to buy a home, looking at the city's deed book and tax parcels could tell you a lot about the house you're considering. 

For example, I did some research on one of the houses my mom and I visited at an open house this past Sunday. The owners of this home bought it as a new construction in 2003. There have been no substantial improvements since they bought the home. Yet, in little over five years, these buyers are now asking 50% more than what they paid for the home. That's a huge markup!  The house is not worth that much -- even though it's nice.  Now my suspicions as to why the house has been on the market awhile and is sitting empty are confirmed. 

If you're considering making an offer on a house, think of the bargaining chips you would have if you do your research: you would know that the city assessed the property at a much lower rate and the buyer purchased the house at a substantially lower cost. If you wanted to do more homework and be an even more informed buyer, you could find out the rate of increased cost for labor and supplies in the area which you are buying (for example, as of December 2008, the cost of lumber has gone down by 55% in the past two-three years). 

Bottom line: Do your homework. Be informed. And potentially save money!

Friday, March 6, 2009

I Always Love a List

1. I made this for dinner the other night. (Plenty of leftovers).
2. And made this for dessert.
3. Laughed my head off at this video.
4. Am obsessed with this book.
5. Loving this tv show -- will completely and utterly miss it when I return to Europe.
6. Currently am enjoying this historic district.
7. And cannot get enough of these bookshops: Givens and Inklings.
The House passed a bill today to allow bankruptcy judges to rewrite mortgages. The judges would have the authority not only to change the interest rates of the mortgages (questionably semi-reasonable) but also to change the principal (shockingly unbelievable). You can read more about it here

This bill frightens me to no end. The rule of law is out the door and the rule by the will of power has arrived if the Senate confirms this mess (read Neitzsche for more info).

{Caveat: in terms of the rule of law, this bill is not entirely distinguishable from everything else being passed by Congress.}

However, as one who has witnessed the arbitrary power of bankruptcy judges -- (not that I've had a problem with it previously -- sometimes people need to be told that they cannot purchase a car with a 24% interest rate while in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy -- and yes, people in bankruptcy have tried), but those who are debtors who have filed for bankruptcy voluntarily availed themselves to the mercies of the court. Sellers and lenders contracting with buyers did not avail themselves to the bankruptcy court.  Furthermore, it's not like I have all kinds of respect for all lenders these days. But, the principles of contract law will be thrown out the courtroom door and trampled on if judges can singlehandedly change terms of contract -- and that is something for which I have no respect and can't believe the American people will tolerate.

America is on a slippery, slippery slope. 

Which is why ......

I'm thinking of immigrating to Andorra. Who doesn't want to live on the border of France and Spain and pay no income taxes???

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Turning Lemons into Lemonade

This past Tuesday Matt and I had to go to Alexandria, Virginia for yet another attempt at renewing our visas. The odds were against us: we had to leave at 6:30 in the morning to get to our appointment at 11 - we had also just had 10 inches of snow the day before - we are sick of dealing with this visa mess - and had to promptly return to Lynchburg that evening. Calculate the hours -- that would be somewhere between 7 and 8 hours in the car just for that measly passport/visa situation!

Instead of hating our scheduled Tuesday, we made sure we had a bit of fun by visiting Historic Alexandria. It's the cutest, quaintest little place you've ever been! (Shout out to Leslie for the official introduction last month! Because ... a trip in 9th grade to some church there doesn't quite count). 

Center of Historic Alexandria
Look at those lovely streets and my super cute husband!
I'm loving the adorableness of it all!

And possibly the best part of all: Lunch at La Madeleine. Note how there is something strawberry on each of the above plates: strawberry jam, strawberries on spinach salad, and strawberry crepes. Yum!

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Proper Post

The view from my Parent's Balcony

Look what we woke up to this morning!

At least they're great about clearing the streets!

Another GORGEOUS view from my parent's balcony. 

10 inches of snowy bliss!

Creative Commons License
This work by Ashli Sutton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at