Add Another Candle

I am now 27-years-old. Another candle is being added to my cake and I could not be happier. So many people dread the aging process and are “forever 29,” but I relish what each new year brings to my life. Every year I am taking another step in the direction God is leading me to go.

It has become a tradition with my blog to post on my birthday about my life and what has changed over the course of one year. I began this tradition in 2014 when I turned 23 in “The Life of a Twenty-Something” and talked about myself growing up. Then in 2015 I discussed finding my faith again in “The Year I Grew Up” and how life had changed so drastically in one year. Then in 2016 I wrote letters to my younger selves giving advice on how I would do things differently. This year, however, I want to focus on my future…

Continue reading “Add Another Candle”

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House Hunting Adventures v. 2

Lesson Learned v. 2: Angles Mean Everything

I know I’ve broken the news that G and I are now homeowners. However, it took us quite a bit of hunting to find the house we love. In my first addition of our House Hunting Adventures, you might remember that we visited three houses that had some serious foundation issues going on. Unfortunately, it seems with the high levels of rain this year, foundations were an issue for a number of houses in our area.

Oddly enough the next three houses we toured did not have foundation problems though. Instead, they had a lot more going on which turned us off pursuing them longer. We quickly found out pictures never tell the whole story. How in the world can some couples buy houses without ever going to look at them thoroughly?! There would be no way after these three (which looked great online) that didn’t quite meet up to our expectations. Let me tell you about our next little jolt in attempting to become homeowners…

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I Ate Keto For A Month…

In case you haven’t been online lately, the ketogenic (“keto” for short) diet is trending so hard that the CrossFit Army is at war in terms of devoted followers. It is the diet that screams, “Fat isn’t bad for you!” and allows you to not only cook with butter but also indulge in copious amounts of cheese every day. Closely related to the once-famed Atkins diet, the keto diet revolves around eating lots of fat, limited protein, and very little carbs. 

Basically, you aim for macro percentages of 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbohydrates. Exactly how many grams of each depends on your body type and energy needs, but most dieters take in no more than 20 grams of carbs per day, with few leaning upwards to 50 grams if they’re needing the boost for heavy workouts. In a traditional Western diet, 50 to 65 percent of a person’s calories come from carbohydrates so this is a complete shift in how your body runs.

The goal is that your body will enter into ketosis and start to burn fat rather than glucose. Usually, your body gets its fuel from glucose which is found in carbs. When you take out carbs though, your body is like, “What the heck?” It doesn’t know how to run any longer, so it turns to another source of energy: fat. Or, scientifically speaking, ketones.

A diet that allows ungodly amounts of cheese, has tons of delicious-looking recipes, and sports thousands of Facebook groups for community-building? Sign me up! I began on Monday, August 20th and wanted to experience the keto diet for myself. Here is what happened when I committed to the high-fat, low-carb diet for one month.

Continue reading “I Ate Keto For A Month…”

We’re Homeowners!

A quick aside to say WE ARE OFFICIALLY HOMEOWNERS! Over the past month G and I have [im]patiently been waiting to close on our first home. Today we signed the papers and were handed the keys.

We. Are. So. Excited.

There is a lot of work to be done — including but not limited to writing a few more House Hunting posts working up to falling in love with our new house — but we could not be more thrilled to take this new step in our lives. Now onto celebrating with tickets to a local comedy show tonight and starting work to make the house our home tomorrow.

Cheers!

Welcome to Uncorking Peonies!

About the Blog

Uncorking Peonies is a place on genuine Life, where both joys and failings are captured to inspire you to live the best life possible.

Uncorking Peonies began in 2014 as “Peonies ‘n Mint” and was a meditative, journaling tool as I transitioned from being a college student to career-seeker. The blog mainly focused on relationships, life lessons, and the trials of “growing up.” After a short hiatus, my love for writing led me to rebrand the blog and in September 2017 Uncorking Peonies launched.

Uncorking Peonies has followed my wedding planning process as I prepare to marry my best friend, Grant. The blog has grown from a simple wedblog to a full lifestyle blog focusing on entertaining, transitioning into a newlywed, building a home, and remaining reflective of self-love and care.

Wedding // Are you a bride-to-be? Congrats, girl! The days leading up to your wedding are going to be some of the most fun and stress-inducing days ever. But don’t start freaking out – you aren’t alone! Follow my own little journey to the aisle and maybe pick up a bit of inspiration along the way.

If you love all things weddings (like me!), I’m always pinning new décor ideas on Pinterest. Follow along with me! >>> Uncorking Peonies on Pinterest

Lifestyle // There are a lot of inspiration boards and advice columns on the actual wedding, but what about after those eight hours? Life goes on, and now you’re living Life with another person! Uncorking Peonies lifestyle posts are full of trial and errors, love, family,  budgeting, and basically everything that makes up a newlywed’s new way of living. We’re all in this together, and I’ll be genuine in my stories of how I am acing (and BSing) my wife-game.

I’m always sharing my latest local finds, relationship post reblogs, and daily adventures on Instagram, so be sure to join me there! >>> Uncorking Peonies on Instagram

Health // While I work my 8-4 to better my community, I am always striving to better myself 24/7. This means physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. There is still TONS of room for improvement, and here I discuss the do’s and the don’t’s that have made me into the woman I am today.

In my Health section I cover topics ranging from workouts, weight loss, self-care, and my faith. My opinions and results are my own, and not meant to be taken as professional advice. 

Recipes // I have always loved to cook, and I especially love cooking for others. I attempt to make a new recipe at least once a week. My taste buds are loving my new finds! Feel free to take a gander at some of my favorite recipes and tweak them to your own tastes.

Join me on Sundays when I release new recipes through my Savory Sundays series.

Home // My husband and I are in the process of buying our first home! Not only does this mean we’ve gone through quite a bit of the house-hunting adventure, but we also have a lot of DIY remodels planned. Follow us as we work tirelessly to transform our house into a home.

Twitter is my space for rantings, ravings, and celebrating the little things – all of which are so conducive to a happy and healthy life! Want to chat? Find me and @ me! >>> Uncorking Peonies on Twitter

Entertain // I live to entertain. Hosting, decorating, strategizing, and all things event planning – you name it, I’m there. Coming from an event planning background, I thoroughly miss the excitement and creative outlets I once exercised professionally. However, I find ways to keep the passion alive by celebrating Life with my friends and family, and I share my secrets through projects, ideas, and #smallvictories in successful hostings.

Travel // My husband and I want to start a family, but after a few years of enjoying marriage just the two of us. We have many goals prior to having children, and one of those goals is to travel a bit. Luckily, we live in the beautiful [relatively central] state of Michigan that is home to hundreds of wineries, breweries, beautiful sights, and so much more. You are welcome to pack your bags along with us as we check out some of the amazing places God has given us to explore.

Also find some reviews of wineries/breweries/distilleries/etc. that we have visited!

Click to like Uncorking Peonies’ Facebook page to get post updates so you’re the first to see my newest ventures! >>> Uncorking Peonies on Facebook 

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About Ashley

Hey everyone! I’m Ashley, the wine-drinking dreamer behind Uncorking Peonies. I am a lifestyle blogger hailing from Southwest Michigan, one of the most beautiful places in the world. (I may be biased, but there’s just something to be said about four seasons, wine country, and living a minute from the beach.)

I am a wine enthusiast, nature-exploring foodie who values conversation and adventures with loved ones above all else. I love Jesus with all my heart, and am an advocate for many organizations and causes in my community. I’m a passionate ENFJ with a background in wedding and event planning who is now bettering her world through community action. I’ve learned hard lessons, gained some insight, and still have mountains of improvement to make to become the best Me.

Here is where I share the little things that make me content and the big things that cause an impact. All with a bit of positivity, honesty, and good-natured realism. So grab a glass of wine and join me!

Saying Yes & Following The Path Of Fulfillment

I have been struggling lately. I have been struggling with the question, “Who am I?” There are so many possible labels: a wife, a friend, a Christian, an advocate, a member of my community, a woman, a dreamer, a runner, an organizer, a finance assistant, a blogger. Yet when I consider those labels, I don’t feel I embody any of them completely. I have this unrelenting  want to add the word “BETTER” before each title. I want to be a better wife, a better friend, a better Christian, etc. All at once. All together. All to perfection. And as I wonder about who I am, I begin to feel overwhelmed with disappointment at my elusive potential.

That is where my biggest struggle lies: in the want to be “better” than how I perceive myself. Focusing on that want which seems so unfathomable, unapproachable, and unreachable, I recognize I am viewing my life from the base of a gigantic mountain. I can see multiple trails I could claim as my path, each with a directional sign reading who I yearn to be. Yet I feel if I choose one path, then the others will go unaltered. Never being explored, never being grown, never being conquered.

Smarter hikers than I would venture down a path to see where it leads and then retrace their footsteps to explore another trail. Stronger hikers than I would choose one path, complete it, and return to the beginning to begin anew. Not me though. I want to take all the paths at once without giving any specific label up. All or nothing is what I felt was necessary to give my life meaning and purpose.  Continue reading “Saying Yes & Following The Path Of Fulfillment”

And I Thought Life Would Slow Down…

Somehow I thought Life would slow down once the wedding was over. What a naive little bride-to-be I was!

Hello, friends, and let me apologize for my absence this month so far. I know, I know, I promised many upcoming posts on the adventures of being a newlywed and delicious recipes and fun DIY home decorating ideas and, and, and…

I’m sorry.

This is my first post in August. I’m sorry. Life has been so hectic for G and me over the past month, and I am finally catching a little bit of breath tonight to at least sit down and let you all know why I have been MIA.

Continue reading “And I Thought Life Would Slow Down…”

House Hunting Adventures v. 1

Lesson Learned v. 1: Look In The Basement First

I know I’ve mentioned it a few times before, but here it is officially: G and I are house hunting. Our current apartment lease is up in August, but we have the option to renew for another year if we would like. Though it looks like this is the most likely route we will take, we are casually working with a realtor and viewing potential houses. It has been a fun experience so far because we are able to see what we like and dislike, what we’re willing to compromise and not, and not feeling rushed as we look.

The Michigan housing market where we live is absolutely crazy. There are double the buyers than there are sellers, and that leads to many houses only being on the market for hours before they’re under contract. Though we do not feel rushed to purchase a home, if we ever do come across one we love and can picture as our own home, then we have to be prepared to JUMP. Luckily we haven’t felt that urge yet, but we sure have come across some very unique adventures in the houses we have viewed…

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The Ugliness of Self-Care

Today I want to talk about self-care. True self-care. Not the romanticized and trendy version the world is constantly pushing down our throats. Not the bath bombs and face masks and #treatyourself high-dollar purchases and ritual meditations the world seems so eager to focus on for peak lifestyles.

No, I’m talking about real self-care. The self-care that is often a very unbeautiful thing.

Continue reading “The Ugliness of Self-Care”