Très Ashley

Besame Mucho: Blue Ribbon Basset Hound

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The last few months, we've been noticing that our fourteen-year old basset hound, Besame Mucho, has been looking extra elderly. Her once black head is now completely grey. She can't see or hear anymore but still has her super sense that basset hounds are known for...smell! She is always appreciative for a big doggie bone and a good belly rub.
Besame is our first baby. We got her shortly after we were married in 2000. I remember pinning her ears up as a puppy with my pink roller clips because her ears were so long they would get in her dog bowl...then she'd come kiss you!
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It was an unforgettable day picking out Besame. My husband and I went to a basset hound breeder's house in Azel, Texas. There must have been at least twenty basset hounds inside this little home. I remember thinking that there was so much love in that house. Imagine a sea of basset hounds all tap dancing around a country house, wagging their tails and passing out sweet kisses to any friendly hand that comes their way. There isn't anything cuter than a basset hound puppy.
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My Dad is quite the singer. When we brought our baby home, he sang to her Besame, besame mucho, Como si fuera esta noche la ultima vez...Besame loved it, she would wag her tail as fast as a humming-bird flaps its wings.
Yes, Besame was our first baby...we were her pack. She has always loved to be right with us, preferably touching both of us. Later when we had children, Besame became Nana...just like in Peter Pan. She would lay by the bassinet babysitting our children.
I remember taking her to the vet when we thought something was wrong with her. I was so worried that when the vet's receptionist asked me, "What is Besame's last name?" I replied without hesitation, "Mucho! Her last name is Mucho." My husband shook his head and the receptionist laughed at me.
sleepy besame mucho
I have dreams about Besame. In my dreams, she talks like Scooby Doo. She saves our family from danger and leads us home...talking to us in her deep basset hound voice, "Follow me guys, I can smell the way home." 
Our neighbor's love Besame too. She's wandered off several times...following a scent, a friendly child or the mailman. Everybody loves Besame! She's our neighborhood mascot bringing people joy and good luck one belly rub at a time!
Basset hounds don't walk, they shuffle. Our basset is a shuffle award winner. Every year in Hurst, Texas they have a "Basset Hound Shuffle" and one year Besame won big! You haven't lived until you've seen four-hundred basset hounds coming at you. They have many contests like howling, best trick, longest ears...Besame won the blue ribbon for "low rider" and "biggest paw."
Besame's soundtrack to life includes "Besame Mucho" and War's "Low Rider." They're two of the most perfect theme songs for our basset.
Besame will always be our blue ribbon baby. For now, she seems content sunbathing in the grass in the early morning, eating her favorite milk bones and getting extra belly rubs from loving hands.

Many Happy Returns to my Mom!!


Happy Birthday Coco!
One of my funniest memories of my mom was when we went to a drive through for lunch one day. I think it must have been quite the day because we stopped at the first window, paid...then bypassed the second window and FORGOT our lunch! I remember my mom asking me to pass over her drink...I can still hear us laughing, "Oh my gosh! We just paid and drove away!" When we came back for our lunch the lady at the window couldn't stop cracking up at us...we couldn't stop laughing either! I'm grateful my mom and I are brunettes!
 My beautiful Mom...Maid of Cotton!
We've had a lot of good times together in NYC when my sister used to live there. This trip was just the two of us there for a friends wedding. This was such a fun trip, but this happened.
My Mom with my son. Just look at those happy faces! 
Always a Daddy's girl.

Many happy returns Mom! We love you so much! xx

Enjoy these posts about my Mom:

Happy Father's Day!!

Happy Father's Day to my three favorite Dads...my husband, my Dad and my little brother.

I'll never forget, the day I skipped high school to go to the '94 Dallas Cowboys Parade to celebrate their Super Bowl victory. It was one of the most exciting days but I was nervous about getting into trouble with my parents. I called my parents to tell them what I had done (they already knew). When my Dad answered the phone, " How bout them Cowboys!" I knew my Dad was the coolest and that everything was going to be just fine!

 I love these proud Dad faces!
 This is one of my most favorite pictures...my little man with his Daddy.
Where it all began...
That proud Dad face is also a proud Grandfather face! My daughter loves her "Coach!"

Happy Father's Day to my three favorite Dads and to all Fathers!

Enjoy these other posts about my Dad:

Happy Birthday, Honey!!

School's out for summer! We're all singing Alice Cooper and celebrating glorious summertime. We're also celebrating because summer means...birthday season for our family. My husband's birthday was a few days ago. 

Derek loves cheesecake. You can tell we all had fun with this one. My daughter did the decorating and my son helped with the candles.
Derek's cake was a New York style cheesecake. Have you ever made a cheesecake? It takes a looong time...but it's worth the wait. If you want to try one, this is the one to make.


Happy Birthday Derek! We love you! xx

Happy Birthday Aunt Ann!! Celebrating with a reunion in Galveston!

My Aunt Ann recently celebrated her seventh birthday. Festivities took place in her hometown of Galveston, Texas. It was wonderful seeing all the cousins play, laugh and sleep.


Living in North Texas, Galveston is our closest beach...our home town beach! We stayed in a beachfront home in Galveston's Beachtown. The Beachtown houses are like sand castles come to life! I knew I would love it because it's the same group that built Rosemary Beach and Seaside. With its catch phrase, "A Simple Life by the Sea" Beachtown delivered just that. 



My Dad with his big sister (the birthday girl), Ann. 
  




 "For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), It's always our self we find in the sea." ~E.E. Cummings
 
  Cupcakes and kites make everyone smile...burying my brother in the sand was pretty funny too!
The celebration continued off the beach and on to The Orginal Mexican Cafe. My family has a birthday poem that has been a tradition ever since my Aunt Ann and my Dad were children. There were several highlights of the night and one of them was when the WHOLE family recited the poem. The cousins were looking at each other with wide eyes thinking, "Wow, you know it too?"  It was a magical moment and made us all think of the top of our family tree, (my grandparents) were it all began. 

Many happy returns of the day of thy birth,
May sunshine and gladness be given. 
And may thy dear Father prepare the on Earth, 
For a beautiful birthday in heaven. 
Thanks to my cousin-in-law's, Windy and Rachel who planned the most spectacular weekend in Galveston!
Happy Birthday Aunt Ann!

P.S. Galveston, Our Hometown Beach

Pilates in Pajamas

Were you ever a girl scout? I was my fourth grade year and have the best memories. My daughter just joined her school's troop and is having such a great time. Her troop leader asked me to lead them in a Pilates class to earn their fitness badge. It just happened to be pajama day in second grade and now Pilates in pajamas is my new favorite way to work out.

I think these girl scouts just might be Pilates for life kind-of-girls. They responded to the exercises really well, worked hard and stayed focused. They definitely earned their fitness badge.

It was the dream of Joseph Pilates to have his Method taught beginning with children in schools. He said, "Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness."

Pilates truly is for everyone...especially children! Our children are the Pilates practitioners of tomorrow. All parents want their children to be happy and healthy. Pilates helps young people by offering an experience that can foster healthy habits for life. 



At the end of the day, I can't help but revel in the fact that it was Joseph Pilates' dream to have children learn his exercises so they would grow up knowing how to take care of their bodies for the rest of their lives. When you learn things as a child, they truly stay with you forever. 

Joseph Pilates said, "Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor."
P.S. Pilates for Kids Get to Know Joe  and Achieve More with a Personal Trainer

Art and Appetite (and blueberry muffins)

What are you up to this weekend? If you have a chance, this is the last weekend to enjoy the Amon Carter's mouthwatering exhibition of over sixty paintings that explore the art and culture of food and dining in America. Think...cookies, cakes, fruit, turkey and the pure joy of the visual feast...all guilt-free. Fort Worth's Amon Carter Museum is sponsored by Central Market and the Ben E. Keith Foundation, of beer distribution fame, as well as the Fort Worth Promotion and Development Fund.

Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture and Cuisine ends May 18 at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth. Hours: noon to 5 p.m. Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays. Free. 817-738-1933.

Famous paintings of Art and Appetite includes many iconic works such as Nighthawks (1942) by Edward Hopper, Freedom from Want (1942) by Norman Rockwell, and Campbell’s Soup (1965) by Andy Warhol. 

If you can't make it to Art and Appetite, then make your own art in the kitchen to satisfy the appetite of the ones you love. My children both said that blueberry muffins are one of their favorite things that I make. Wishing you a healthy appetite and happy feasting! xx
Lemon Blueberry Muffins

1 3/4 C flour
1 C sugar
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 C blueberries
2 large eggs
1/2 milk
1/4 C vegetable oil
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 C fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a standard 12-cup muffin pan. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt. In a another medium bowl whisk the sugar and eggs. Slowly add the milk, vegetable oil, zest and lemon juice to the wet mixture then combine with the dry mixture. Gently fold in blueberries and scoop (using an ice cream scooper) into the muffin pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 


Charlotte's Web and my little Fern



FIFTEEN YEARS of reading Charlotte's Web to my second grade class and this year was the most memorable because my daughter played the part of Fern in her second grade class. Watching her be a part of one of the most beloved children's books made my heart swell. 

You can see a little bit of the performance HERE on my favorite app STELLAR. 



Dance It Out



How much do I love Steller...? Oh, so much. It's my favorite new way to tell stories. Do you Steller? Here's my first Steller story on DANCE! Dance It Out!      

Three Happy Cows: Back And Better Than Ever!

TEXAS LOVES THREE HAPPY COWS!

Yogurt has always been a staple in our house. We favor Greek yogurt to have with breakfast, lunch and dinner...it's the perfect food for any time of the day.  

Three Happy Cows has a huge Texas following and is back after a fire destroyed their plant, forcing them to stop production for several months. The company is named Three Happy Cows because cows produce the best tasting yogurt when they're happy and healthy.  

Their new flavor, vanilla bean, will have you hiding yogurt in secret pockets of the refrigerator because it's coveted by the whole family. I like to pack lunches for my children with Three Happy Cows drinkable yogurts (mango is my son's favorite). 

The vanilla bean is so rich and delicious and the caramel so naturally sweet that it's hard to pick a favorite. My fruit loving children often request strawberry and blueberry. I'll admit to being nearly hooked on mere anticipation of the soon to be introduced honey flavor but truly every flavor has a fork-worthy texture that will make you say, "This is the BEST yogurt I have EVER tasted!" 

I love the fact that Three Happy Cows is made in Dallas, Texas with fresh milk from happy cows. It's a wholesome super food that you can feel good about feeding to your family. 

These happy cows help keep us mooooving!
You can find Three Happy Cows at Central Market, Sprouts, Market Street and several others. Happy eating! 

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Graceful Grace of Monaco

Grace Kelly is loved for being a movie star icon and a princess. Born in 1929, she came from an upper class Irish family in Philadelphia and was extremely well educated along with her three siblings. 

She was the daughter of a self-made millionaire who was a socially enthusiastic brickworks owner and Olympian, Jack Kelly. Grace's Dad was a champion sculler who won three Olympic gold medals as part of the U.S. rowing team and Grace's Mom, Margaret, was the first coach of women's athletic teams at the University of Pennsylvania. Grace displayed talent for performing on the stage instead of the Olympics early on. 

Grace became famous in the 1950's starring in movies such as Dial M for Murder (1954), The Country Girl (1954), for which she won an Academy Award for Best Actress, To Catch a Thief (1955), The Swan (1956) and High Society (1956). 

She had the right connections and was a muse to many...Hermes even renamed one of its most popular bags "the Kelly" after her. She wore powdery gowns designed by Edith Head and MGM's costume designer, Helen Rose. The pearls, ladylike clothes and hats (that she had to wear to all public functions) were all part of Grace's charm. 

She had a lot more independence than most women of her time and was hardly innocent. She supported herself early on, lived by herself and chose her movies, friends, social activities and men. She was comfortable with her sexuality and enjoyed the company of most of her costars off camera...and in her bed. 

In 1955, Grace was asked to attend the Cannes Film Festival where her film, The Country Girl, would be shown. During her visit in Cannes she was invited to participate in a photo session at the Palace of Monaco with Prince Rainier. There were several complications and delays on route to the Palace but the end results were memorable and the Prince and Grace began a long series of correspondence with letters. 

After getting to know each other through their letters, Rainier traveled to Philadelphia and met Grace and her family and friends. He proposed after three days and she accepted. Jack Kelly agreed to pay a two-million dollar dowry to Prince Rainier in preparation for their wedding..."The Wedding of the Century." 

As Rainier's princess, Grace was forced to give up her acting career. Her movies were banned in Monaco by the Prince. Besides being Catholic and the love for their three children, (Princess Caroline, Prince Albert, and Princess Stéphanie) they didn't have very much in common. Grace didn't speak French and usually remained silent so not to embarrass herself or Rainier. It was an adjustment for Grace to have her life centered around her husband. 

Grace was kept on close watch in the Palace by her lady-in-waiting, Madge Tivey-Faucon. Her role was to spy on Princess Grace and watch her every move for Rainier. 

Grace began to lose herself and became extremely unhappy. Rainier forbid her to act in what would have been her fourth Hitchcock movie, Marnie. Grace contemplated divorce but their Monaco priest, Father Frances Tucker said, "Your children will suffer most. They are heirs to a European throne. You'll be lucky to see them again. I suppose the world will also hang its head in disappointment." She also consulted an American divorce lawyer but after being advised that she would lose her children, she accepted her life in Monaco.

Princess Grace may have seemed to have a fairy-tale life but she missed the freedom she was used to before marrying the Grimaldi Prince. She missed the closeness of her New York friends. She became more of a loner in the Palace due to being surrounded by Rainier's disreputable friends

Rainier was very opinionated and insensitive. He thought Grace's appearance should remain unchanged. Grace wore low healed shoes so not to appear taller than him. Once she cut her long hair into a bob of the moment, the new artichoke style, and Rainier was so angry that he threw his drink to the floor and stormed off. 

Rainier Grimaldi said of his wife, "She had the Irish in her, a mixture of good-heartedness and kindness, combined with strong will." 

The spirit of freedom remained missing from such a beautiful heart, banished as a part of one of the world's highest profile trades of one life for another. Sadness and happiness often walk along the same road of difficult choices.


Five things Grace Kelly said: 

"Fairy tales tell imaginary stories. Me, I'm a living person. I exist. If the story of my life as a real woman were to be told one day, people would at last discover the real being that I am."

"It would be very sad if children had no memories before those of school. What they need most is the love and attention of their mother."

"I'm basically a feminist. I think that women can do anything they decide to do."

"My real difficulty was to become a normal person again, after having been a movie actress for so long. For me, at the time I was living in New York and Hollywood, a normal person was someone who made movies."

"I would like to be remembered as someone who accomplished useful deeds, and who was a kind and loving person. I would like to leave the memory of a human being with a correct attitude and who did her best to help others."

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