Category Archives: My ghetto-fab life

Death by Double Stuffed.

Well, we could say that the chocolate situation is not going well.

If by “not going well”, we mean that Friday night found me curled up in the fetal position, moaning about withdrawal and how Adele is the only person that understands me. Also, I may have said some particularly nasty things about apples. [Between us, I have a sneaking suspicion that Kellan is adding to the apple pile in the middle of the night just to make me suffer. I spent Saturday morning cutting tiny little holes into all of his socks in case I’m right.]

Before you pass judgment, I’ll have you know that I recently read that oreos are more addictive than cocaine. And frankly, if I could have snorted a line of oreos on Friday night, I might have tried it. [Double-stuffed would have been the happy death of me.]

All that to say, things were DIRE. My hiney was screaming no, but my heart was saying yes—and so I decided to take a temporary break from my chocolate hiatus. I made Ina Garten’s brownie pudding which is so decadently good that it makes me want to burst into song.  Kellan may or may not have discovered me belting “I Will Always Love You” with gusto in the middle of the kitchen right when that molten pan of chocolate came out of the oven. I was glad my eyes were closed, because they were rolled into the back of my head.

It’s a Pavlovian response, and I JUST CAN’T HELP IT.

Brownie pudding was my one cheat, and I’m now I’m back on the no chocolate wagon. Women cannot survive on vanilla alone!

This weekend, Kellan and I spent some more time looking at a house that I strongly suspect may have been the site of a recent Wicca convention. As we peruse the internets looking for a  a place to call ours, we routinely stumble across sellers who are self described as “highly motivated” to sell their house. Last week, we decided that as far as buyers go, we are “highly UN-motivated”. However, Christmas is coming and Lord knows that if we move in December, Kellan is just going to have to figure out how to move our Christmas tree with us.

Upon receiving that little tidbit of information, my darling husband quickly because a motivated buyer.

Which means that we’re talking to a realtor this week.

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Filed under My ghetto-fab life

Operation: Brownies or Birth Control?

DSC_0195You were all just dears about my apple situation.

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the comments, notes and texts with recipe ideas! Unfortunately for all of us, half way through my rainy New York day I realized that what I’d secretly been hoping for all along was a recipe for apple molten lava fudge cake.

Preferably something that tasted nothing like apples whilst simultaneously using up ten pounds of them. Also, making it fat-free would have just been a smash.

Alas, nobody read my mind, and so I’ll take some of your other recommendations out for a spin!

It’s all for the best really, because [brace yourselves]: I gave up chocolate two weeks ago.

I know. I KNOW. And it’s taken me two ugly weeks to talk about it because as my darling husband commented, I’ve been busy CHANNELING SATAN.

As all unfortunate stories tend to do, this one started with a honeymoon breakfast buffet. My Mama raised a smart girl, so I know to eat bacon when I see it! Fast forward to two weeks ago, when I stormed out of our bedroom in a blind rage asking Kellan why in HEAVEN’S name he’d SHRUNK MY PANTS.

Try extricating yourself from that one gracefully, gentlemen.

There was no escaping the brutal reality that my pants no longer fit like they’d used to. In fact, there was barely any escaping my pants after I’d spent half an hour jump-pulling. [Am I alone with the jump-pull? Anybody? Bueller?]

It’s common for newlyweds to gain weight in the aftermath of a wedding, but I wasn’t going to stand for it. I knew that for me, a couple of pounds were merely the gateway drug to a Carol Brady haircut, jean jumpers and a home birth in my jacuzzi tub and NO MEANS NO.

Still, a nagging question lingered in the back of my mind: were those extra pounds my fault, or my birth control’s? After all, my doctor had warned me that those tiny yellow pills might make me a little tubby, and all I have to say is WHAT KIND OF WORLD ARE WE LIVING IN when your choice is a muffin top or a baby?!

Apparently, I’d chosen the muffin top, but there was only one way to find out for sure whether birth control or…well, muffins, was the dastardly culprit. It was thus that Operation: Brownies or Birth Control? was born.

I cut out all chocolate out of my life cold-turkey and then cried like a small, emotionally disturbed child for a week. I love molten-lava-anything more than life itself, and if I’m not eating chocolate, I have generally lost the will to live and am certainly not wasting my time on other desserts. I felt certain that if my weight stayed the same on no chocolate, I could blame the pills. [And oh, how I wanted to blame the pills!]

Here are my findings seventeen brutal days in:

  1. If I see one more commercial with chocolate in it, I am going to start stabbing people at random.
  2. Kellan may or may not have found me snuggling a box of Ghirardelli double fudge brownie mix in the baking aisle at Target on Sunday. He may or may not have had to pry the aforementioned box out of my clammy, desperate hands. I may or may not have had crazy eyes.
  3. Speaking of my husband, he sweetly and sacrificially offered to abstain from chocolate with me. Precious, right? BAH! I counted the mini Kit Kats, Kellan Dickens. He didn’t last two days!
  4. I would rather die in some apocalyptic event than eat one more bowl of fruit. EXCEPTION: a bowl of chocolate covered strawberries. [Also, bananas and nutella.]
  5. Sadly, my pants fit again. Chocolate was indeed the culprit, and from my corner of the apple pile the rest of my life looks positively wretched.

These are dark times, friends…


Filed under First World Problems, My ghetto-fab life

My Apple Predicament.

This weekend started off with a bang, when I wandered down to the mail room and discovered a package addressed to me. [And let it henceforth be known that there are few things in life that I love more than packages!] I ripped into my unexpected manila envelope and discovered this little bit of happy:

photo (22)The note read: “Dear Ashley, couldn’t resist sending ‘househunting files’. Love, favorite Mother in Law.”

BAH! I was so excited that I took my very first selfie, and I’m still embarrassed about it. My sweet mother in law sent me the most adorable Martha Stewart filing system! And who doesn’t love MARTHA? I’ll always have a soft spot for her–decorative pumpkins, criminal record and all. Now, are you ready for “How to Endear Yourself to Your In-Laws, by Ashley Dickens”? Refer to yourself as “your favorite _______”. The day that I married Kellan, I began to refer to myself as “your favorite daughter in law” any time I spoke to Gina and Russ. Call it brainwashing, but by the time Kellan’s younger brother Bryan gets married I intend to have my “favorite” status so solidified that the new girl won’t stand a chance.

Also, odds are that we beat his siblings to grand kids, so there’s always that.

The weekend slipped into bliss-status when one of my very best friends flew into town! Michelle has a wandering hippie heart, and thus I was only mildly surprised when she called me in the middle of last week, and asked if she could come. She’s the latest installment of a panicked flood of friends and family trying to make it to Albany before the snow hits [send. help.], and time with her was unbelievable.

Now, in true Instagram fashion:

photo (23)On Friday night, we spent hours throwing together the perfect fall dinner. Pumpkin pie bars and stuffed acorn squash were only the beginning–the occasion demanded nothing less than my very finest stretchy pants.

photo (24) Saturday morning found us at the Whistling Kettle for brunch! And as we’ve established a thousand times, nothing makes my heart sing like brunch. One pot of salted caramel tea and a crepe later, we dashed off for a hike. And Y’ALL, if there’s one time of year that upstate New York just SHOWS OFF…

photo (25)It’s right about now.  My heart stops every time I leave my apartment–it looks like the world is on fire. The pictures are such a sham next to the real thing.

photo (26)It was breathtaking. Don’t you just love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies.

photo (28)We wandered for a couple of hours, and then found ourselves at an apple orchard, where this happened:

photo (27)Do you see that? The girl in the picture may LOOK happy, but don’t be deceived. That right there is ELEVENTY BILLION POUNDS of apples, and for a girl that eats a grand total of maybe three a year, it’s about eleventy billion too many. I was Jedi mind-tricked into thinking that I needed them by a cute little old farmer and a hippie that loves nothing more than eating local. The aforementioned hippie stuffed a couple in her carry on to take home with her [and really, now that Michelle is eating them back in North Carolina we can hardly call it “eating local” anymore], but left me with a formidable pile that’s currently taunting me from my kitchen counter. I can’t stand wasting food, and thus the apples must be used. But what on earth does one do with that many apples?! Kellan is traveling all week, which leaves me and my apple predicament all by our lonesome. The whole thing is very Little House on the Prairie, except Pa Ingalls won’t be around to save the day.

Send help. Also, recipes that won’t make me lop out of my yoga pants.


Filed under First World Problems, My favorite people, My ghetto-fab life

The Dental Walk of Shame.

Last Thursday, I went to the dentist.

He kindly scheduled me an 8:00 AM appointment for the next morning to have a cavity filled.

Y’all, there are few things in life that are more humiliating than a dentist sitting in a pristine office with a perfect smile and a crisp, white lab coat informing you that your teeth are, in fact, ROTTING OUT OF YOUR HEAD.

I felt like a dirty, rabid hyena.

The urge to explain myself was overwhelming—I bathe! My house is immaculate and I engage in a plethora of varied forms of personal hygiene—THERE ARE THREE DIFFERENT KINDS OF SHAMPOO IN MY SHOWER!! I’M CLEAN!!!

Alas, all I could do was smile weakly [after all, the sorry nubs masquerading as my teeth were about to fall out of my mouth, so I had to be careful!], take my pink reminder slip of shame, and drive home.

Kellan arrived back at the ranch only to find me prostrated on the living room carpet, moaning about how I had to have MAJOR SURGERY.

He grinned, and offered to drive me because the man’s not an idiot.

Friday morning rolled in with a dreary New York fog, and I rolled out of bed and into my yoga pants. I slowly drank a steaming mug of caramel truffle coffee with the vague impression that it might be my last, and then did my best not to swoon as Kellan led me to the car while I mentally composed my last will and testament.

After enough extra pain killer to tranquilize a baby elephant, I spent the duration of our car ride home exclaiming that “Ah fink mehr fehrc ish melteenk awf!” [Translation: I think my face is melting off.], and proceeded to spend the remainder of the day drooling out of the right side of my mouth.

Which MIGHT have been more amusing had we not been having friends over for dinner that night…


Filed under First World Problems, My ghetto-fab life, Then I found $5.00

Release the Flying Monkeys!

JCP_3508Kellan and I made an impromptu decision to go house hunting this weekend.

Honestly, we’re not even convinced that we’re in the market to buy, but we’re young and had nothing better to do after church than to wander into strangers homes and stare at carpets that saw the Nixon administration.

Also, the terrifying Home Alone basements. I just. I can’t.

The whole experience went as swimmingly as you might imagine, given that Kellan spent our time making mental spread sheets while I walked into each respective foyer, stood eerily still, and waited for the house to “speak” to me. [Not one of them said a darn thing.] While I’ll admit that my strategy may not be the most rational, I remain entirely unapologetic given that  I’m pretty sure my husband wants to buy the little brick number where the realtor had made hot chocolate chip cookies, because HOT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES. Nine later, and that man was ready to sign a mortgage.

So really, this is going well.

Monday morning found me at the Albany DMV, because my brand spankin’ new social security card had arrived in the mail and I had successfully geared myself up for phase two of becoming a Dickens. Y’all, I even had a FOLDER. A folder with my marriage license, passport, old drivers license, angsty poetry that I wrote in middle school and eleventy billion other scraps of my old life for just in case purposes. After sitting in a dirty waiting room for an hour and a half while the gentleman sitting uncomfortably close to me enjoyed a Hot Pocket [No, I would not like a bite], a bored, gum-smacking blonde who clearly would have rather been anywhere else called me to the front desk. [I VOLUNTEER AS A TRIBUTE!] The aforementioned blonde then proceeded to unapologetically inform me that because North Carolina marriage licenses are different from the ones used in New York, I would need to submit THREE other proofs of name change before I would be permitted to change my license. She helpfully offered the following options as acceptable proof:

  1. NYC pistol license
  2. Welfare/Medicaid/NY food stamp card with photo
  3. St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Photo ID card
  4. Veterans Universal Access Photo ID card


I spent the rest of the day rolling in the deep with Adele, and making Ina Garten’s chocolate brownie pudding.

Goodbye forever.


Filed under First World Problems, Marriage, My ghetto-fab life, Then I found $5.00


Enter Monday, stage left.

Mondays are such a shame, aren’t they? They serve as the proverbial bucket of cold water unceremoniously doused over the glowing embers of a perfectly delightful weekend.

Kellan and I spent Saturday evening attending an annual event a coworker of his throws called Lobsterfest. I knew precisely that much information when I agreed to go, because LOBSTER. [Also, fests.] I may not be the brightest crayon in the box, but I know enough to show up when Lobster is on the menu!

We walked into a tented backyard and marveled at the vast array of lobster-themed decorations. Lobster twinkle lights, lobster plates, lobster wine glasses…I had no idea that lobsters were so in vogue! What else have I been missing? We all know that I rely on you people to keep me in the loop.

Kellan took one look around, and immediately determined that WE need a tradition too. Except, our annual party will look slightly less like a tented gala, and slightly more like hot dogs nuked in a dirty microwave. Hotdogfest2014–you’re all invited! BYOPP. [Clearly, bring-your-own-paper-plate.]

For those of you that can’t make it, don’t you worry for a second. I’ll make sure to pin every precious detail so you can replicate it at home…


Filed under My ghetto-fab life

Amish Country.

photo (15)Yesterday, I had a meeting in Lancaster, PA which was just fine with me because some of my very dearest friends live in Lancaster. And so Tuesday after my mani-pedi [I feel so posh saying that. Like it’s something I do all the time instead of NEVER unless I’m in a wedding. What’s next? Tuesday after the maid finished polishing my Lexus outside of my villa in Tuscany…], I hopped into my car and drove five hours to Amish country.

Y’all. EVEN THE AMISH HAVE CHICK-FIL-A. It’s like, electricity or no electricity, crack-chicken gets us all in the end. Chick-fil-a is the great unifier, bridging cultures and generations. Hallelujah.

I had the best time! Can we all just take a minute to be thankful for the people in our lives who love us without a single unless? Even when we show up on their doorstep wearing yoga pants and asking what’s for dinner? Ash and Dan are those people. Sitting in the kitchen while Ash made quiche [HELLO Susie-Homemaker!], I asked what I could do to be helpful. Dan looked at me, and said:

You can tell me white or red.

White. Oh, and I’m moving in.

Ash and I spent the evening at a local Amish market, and it took all of two and a half minutes for me to become all buy local. But seriously, when the cute little bearded Amish farmer is throwing in extra asparagus when you only paid two dollars to begin with, you can’t help but fall in love! Also, this:

photo (16)

Glass cat figurines. Making houses homes since 1857.

I drove the five hours back yesterday, got home around dinner time and collapsed onto my bed in an exhausted heap. Two hours later, Kellan woke me up looking hungry, which personally I thought was rather high-maintenance given that we had eggs AND beer in the fridge.


I told him I was too tired to so much as scramble an egg, which we all know translates to DINNER OUT FOR THE DICKENS. We went to IHOP; an unfortunate life decision that I regretted before I’d even ordered. If restaurants could speak, IHOP would flop on the couch with a mug full of ice cubes and boxed wine, and disgustedly mutter I give up.

We came home, and I promptly fell asleep again because chocolate chip pancakes make you feel like a wayward can of biscuit dough that got left in a hot car and exploded all over the trunk. If you need me, I’m spending this morning reevaluating my life choices, and introducing myself to the treadmill downstairs.


Filed under My favorite people, My ghetto-fab life