Christmastime is here!!

Christmas has come. To New York City.

[Huge, long side note: In my head I phrased those two sentences the same way Ms. Gupta phrases her famous line from Princess Diaries. She answers the phone and says, "Gupta...mm-hm...mm-hm...mm-hm.......The queen is coming. To Grove High School."]

Anyway, back to Christmas. It's awesome. Everywhere I go there are decorations, big and small. And it's COLD. Yesterday I went into the city and could not believe I'd left my gloves and earmuffs at home! My face and fingers were numb. This is how the Christmas season should be!

On Thanksgiving (after I got home from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!) we ate our little Thanksgiving meal and then put up a tree!! It's only 2 ft tall, but who cares. It's a tree! And it's super cute. In case you can't tell, the base of it is a little red boot trimmed in white.
Bless JP for putting up with me and my crazy decorating. It seems like every couple of days I either come home with something new or I discover something else I had packed away. Today I went out for eggs and came back with stockings to hang (they're tiny ones that were only $.99, so don't judge me). The only other thing I really want to get is some sort of wreath to hang on the door. One of my favorite decorations? The light-up Santa head from Sylvia and Laura. LOVE IT.I'm also thinking that Christmas shopping is going to be so much easier (and surprisingly cheaper!) here in New York. There are so many options for unique gifts for not a lot of money. I'm getting really excited about shopping for gifts. I've started a list.

What do you want for Christmas this year?


It's a trap!

I've changed a lot in the last couple of years. I can't decide if it's for the better or not...and I attribute the particular change I'm going to talk about here to JP and Colby. They would definitely say it's for the better.

I've done two things I thought I would never do. Read the entire Harry Potter series (something I actually swore I would never do) and watch the entire Star Wars saga (which I just never did seem to get around to).

Colby and I were not immediately close when we first met. We were both cast in Beauty in the Beast at MLT. I met her at call backs, and we ended being cast into two different groups. She was a napkin/wolf and I was a silly girl/dish. I bonded with my fellow silly girls and she with her napkins. However, one of my first memories of her involves her and at least one of the other napkins singing the song from Potter Puppet Pals in the dressing room.

It took me 3 years to finally read the series, and it finally happened after JP and I started dating and he and Colby would have lengthy, detailed conversations about what house I belong it. I had no clue what they meant and finally I had had it. JP went on tour, he owned the first 3 books in the series, and I had time on my hands, so I thought what the heck. I read the first 2 and figured that I probably wouldn't feel the need to buy the ones that come after 3. But then I read the third one...and I was hooked. I was very depressed about being hooked because I had abstained for so long (and maybe also because I spent grocery money on the last 4 book at Barnes & Noble)! The series really is very well written - the best part is how seemingly small things you learn in the first two books end up being super important by the end. Just really well written all the way around. (Side note: I hate the HP movies.)

But I still don't know that Potter Puppet Pals song by heart.

As far as Star Wars goes, I did really like them. My favorite moments were when I would ask a question and then JP would proceed to answer with big words that didn't seem to ever be mentioned in the actual movies...he's read all sorts of extra literature that explains all things Star Wars. The best part about having watched these movies is the fact that I now understand all of the Star Wars jokes out there!

In fact, here's a commercial that would not have been funny at all if I had not seen Star Wars. Ole Miss is currently without a mascot and is trying to decide on a new one (also something I would not have known if not for JP).

Let me also add, that I would be all about going to Dragon*Con if given the opportunity.

Who am I????


Time's slipping away.

I feel like the time is just FLYING by. Just a little over 4 months until I'm officially Mrs. Ashlee Haynie.

Work is going well. I'm enjoying my new job, though it took me a few weeks to get used to. It's still very much a learning process, but enjoyable for the most part.

JP and I started a couple of registries at Bed, Bath & Beyond and Target. At first we couldn't seem to think of much to register for, since we recently moved in together so most of our things are either brand new or very gently used. But after the initial searching, my love of having new things took over and suddenly everything that wasn't brand new needed to be replaced! Thank goodness for JP, who is oh-so-logical about every choice. And every once in a while one of us will say, "Man, it's too bad we don't have a [insert object here, i.e., mattress pad, heating pad, ironing board]" and then the other will exclaim, "Add it to the registry!"

For those who don't know, JP was recently cast as an extra in Men in Black III (I was tempted to use the line from Superstar about having a chance to "be an extra in a film with positive moral values" just now). They've been using him as a model to build different alien creatures for the extras in the movie. The transformations have been pretty awesome and I can't wait to be able to post pictures! I'm so proud of him!
My mom and grandmother surprised me with a unexpected visit a couple of weeks ago. They flew in on a Wednesday and left on a Sunday. It was so cool to have them here! I did not take nearly enough pictures! I don't know how that happened, but when I loaded them onto my computer, it looked like we only visited two places. And we definitely did more than that.



I recently had a first time experience.

Well a couple of first time experiences. First, I went to Magnolia Bakery with my friend Kaitlin. I had some vanilla bean cheesecake. It was very good, but it didn't beat cheesecake from Junior's!

So anyway, afterward I got back on the subway. I was over on the west side, an area I'm NEVER in. But as I walked onto the train and headed to sit down, I heard my name! I looked around and there was Katie, a girl I knew through my friend Molly. We couldn't believe running into each other - I mean think about how many things have to line up for that to happen! There are so many different cars, so many different lines...crazy.

I like it when New York shrinks...just a little.


It's hot! Daddy told ya...

It's about that time again. Time for family to start pouring in. My bro Brandon and his girlfriend Xan (that name rocks, by the way) are arriving Thursday and then my siblings Kaley and Elijah are coming in next week. Yay!!!! I love having family visit and introducing them to my life here.

In other news it's HOT. I recently told a friend of mine that New Yorkers are just babies and that it's not really hot, compared to Georgia, but I SOOOOOOOOO take that back!! (Also...no offense to my New York friends.) Apparently the temperature yesterday broke a record. I think it's gotten up to 104 this week? I know Georgia understands this, but in Georgia you get to leave your air conditioned work place and get into your (hopefully) air conditioned cars to travel to yet another air conditioned building. Here I have to walk to the bus stop in the heat, wait for the bus (sometimes a good 20-30 minutes on bad days) in the heat, walk to the subway in the heat, then walk to my office in the heat. Thank goodness we have an air conditioner in at least one room. And thank goodness the temperature will go down sooner than it would in Georgia. Haha.

Speaking of the heat, it was pretty hot on the Fourth of July, but we had fun anyway. It was a bit of a worlds colliding day since it was three different groups of friends who somehow ended up hanging out together. It was a lot of fun. We went out to Governor's Island to see She and Him in concert for free! If you don't know She and Him, it's Matt Ward and Zooey Deschanel (from Elf and also 500 Days of Summer). They're so great! Despite the heat, they were worth the wait. Lots of fun.


JP is back!

Ok, so it's been 4 weeks since JP got back...but I've yet to proclaim it via blog. It's been crazy since he got back. He returned on a Friday, then his family came to visit the following Monday. Then that next weekend I went home to go to Micah's graduation (though I didn't make it and I don't feel like going through that whole story), but then I came back on that Sunday with Mallory in tow. She spent two fabulous weeks with us and just returned home this past Monday. Things finally feel like they're getting back to normal! Whatever normal means...

But having Mal here was a lot of fun. It was her first time riding on a plane and her first time in New York. So very very fun. I love having family visit. The only thing that sucks is that I'm not on vacation so everything has to revolve around my work schedule. Ugh. But it's ok. We make do.

It's nuts to play the tourist a bunch of times in a row. I've been to the same places a lot of times now! But it's also let me get to know the city a lot better. I'm getting to where I can tell you how to get to different places without consulting my iPhone. I have a general idea of which trains stop at which stations. If we're somewhere unfamiliar, but I see a subway station ahead, I have the confidence to say, "Eh, let's just get on a train here and figure it out." It's so much fun when you know what you're doing!


Random weekend home.

Two Mondays ago I was feeling very down. Distance from JP is hard when I'm living in a brand new city by myself. Thankfully, I do have my fellow Georgian friend Molly living up here and we try to hang out a lot, but it's not like we can hang out every day. So for the most part I wake up, go to work, come home, figure out something easy to eat, watch some TV, play on the internet, go to sleep alone...Repeat. Don't get me wrong, I love living here. It's not like I'm second guessing moving here. It's just not the same being here by myself.

But I digress...back to two Mondays ago. I was feeling very down in the dumps and I couldn't stop myself from putting up a woe-is-me status on Facebook about wishing I could go home for a couple of days. (You should know that normally I despise it when I see other statuses of this kind, but we all stumble sometimes, don't we?) Well before I knew it, my flight attendant friend Ollie had me on a flight home for the following weekend.

It was really great to go home for no good reason. It had been two and a half months of seeing no family, of missing out on certain foods, of not riding in or driving a car...the weekend was just very magical.

Saturday I went to visit with my future mother-in-law for a little while. I'm incredibly lucky to get along with JP's mom so well. Before I even knew JP, I respected her so much. She's a great lady with great talent and I have always enjoyed being around her. How could I not love her when she was playing the matchmaker without me even knowing it?

Later I grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A (oh and I'd also had it for breakfast) with Amy and Becky. I've missed them so much. It was fun chatting about everything and nothing and sending Becky into the Twilight Zone. And I got to meet Amy's sweet baby! She is just too precious. I debated sticking in my suitcase, but decided against it.

I got my Zaxby's for supper, then completely surprised Lisa by showing up at her apartment. Definitely an amazing moment.

Sunday I went to church and sang a song. I kind of got choked up a little when I first got to the microphone to practice...I guess I miss singing a whole lot more than I realized. And I guess my vocal chords did too - it was a little rough at first! That's one thing about not having a car...I used to sing nonstop if I was driving by myself. And also if I was driving with someone. But I'm not about to belt it on the subway or the bus with my earphones in. That would be crazy.

The rest of the day was spent shopping with my sisters and my mom. I really miss them a lot. And my mom was amazing about this whole thing. Her response to my coming home proposal? "Hell yes!" I know it's hard for her to send me off on my own and to know that it's not always easy for me, but she has made it so easy for me. She is so supportive, no matter what, and is always there when I need her (if she misses my phone call, she beats herself up for it, but she always calls back pretty quickly!). I had to catch a 6am flight Monday morning and who got up at 2:30 with me? My mom. I know it sucked to have to put me on a plane again, but she did it anyway. Seriously the best Noni Lamb I know.

So yeah, that was all pretty great. And now I'm super pumped about Colby visiting this weekend. We will be painting our own garden gnomes. Amazing.


First big trial...

Tuesday morning JP got a message from American Family Theatre (who he's toured with before) asking if he would be willing to replace an actor for the rest of a tour...ASAP. Of course my initial gut response is "NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!" But after that passed I knew he had to do it. It's miserable for an actor to not be acting. And we're always a little tight on money. So JP packed a suitcase and left on Wednesday. He won't be back until May 21. It happened so fast and I can't decide if it was better that way or not. It's something we've discussed and known could happen. I've tried to prepare for it and be ok with it. But it's not that easy.

Of course I cried a lot Tuesday night. But after a while my crying was just funny because I would stop and then if he said anything or tried to comfort me it would start all over again. And then I realized April marks our 1 yr anniversary and he would be gone (although he keeps saying we can make our anniversary a bunch of different dates, so does this really count? The anniversary we need to worry about will be our wedding anniversary anyway.) I did good Wednesday morning, but when I came home to an empty apartment, I didn't hold up as well. I was sick of crying so I fought it as much as possible by turning on Scrubs (it failed me - it was about romantic gestures and the end was sickeningly sweet with like 5 different couples being romantic), cleaning the apartment (I learned very quickly that entering the bedroom was a bad idea), and making dinner (which is not as fun to do alone).

Luckily, Carla is coming into town today. She'll be staying until Monday. This has been the plan all along so of course I told her JP said yes so that he could avoid her visit. ;-) It will be good to have some company on these rough first few days. And hopefully it won't be too hard on me when she leaves. And hopefully I won't ruin her trip by moping. Haha.

We did Skype for a little while once he got to his hotel. It was strange since the last time we did that was when he was up here in New York visiting his brother and auditioning and I was at home surrounded by family and friends. It was interesting to see how things have changed. Or to feel how things have changed. Back then when his face would pop up on my computer screen I felt a love for him that was brand new and I spent the whole time wondering where we were going and how I was realizing I couldn't live without him. Now when that video starts I feel such a deeper love. A love that I have for someone I know even better than I did before. My love for him has grown exponentially and I don't think I fully realized it until now. It still makes me excited to think about where we're going and I still realize every day that I can't live without him.

Anyway, blogging was apparently not the best idea either. It'll get better.

And so the countdown has begun. 57 days.


Major Update

Well, after that first trip to New York, things just snowballed and got incredibly hectic. So if you're not sure exactly what's going on with me...here's the scoop.

Thursday, January 7, 2010: I leave work early so that JP and I can head to the airport. However, JP had been notified that our flight was canceled...yeah. The one time someone decides to send snow clouds to GA just happens to be the night that we want to fly out. But we rushed up to the airport early and managed to switch to an earlier flight. That was my first time on a plane and although it sucked as far as me still having a bit of a head cold, the view as we came up on Manhattan was just amazing. I will never forget that moment and the excitement I felt.

Friday, January 8, 2010: We got up and headed toward the financial district for my interview. However, it turns out there are two different offices for NY Laser Group and I had gone to the wrong one. So we had to travel an hour out to almost the end of Queens (Kew Gardens). But we made it and when I walked into that interview, I had pretty much already been hired. The lady interviewing me loved my resume and loved me and she already had a schedule written out for me. So she showed me around the office, asked me when I could start, then said ok see you then!

We spent the rest of the day hanging out in the city. We spent hours at the Met (I recommend that if you ever go there, plan on spending a ton of time and definitely use the coat check. I got so sick of carrying my stuff around!)

Saturday, January 9, 2010: Definitely a day to remember. This was planned as our day of fun. We headed down to Times Square and hung out a little until it was time to go see Phantom of the Opera. It was simply amazing and definitely brought on some tears. So so good. Then we decided to hang out and maybe go in some of the shops and stuff. JP also told me he wanted to show me the George M. Cohan statue. He was a major Broadway star and the only Broadway star to get a statue on Times Square. So we headed over there, took some pictures in front of it, then kind of stood trying to figure out what to do next.

So there we are, standing in the middle of Times Square with our arms around each other. JP start saying sweet things about how he can't believe we're going to live here and he can't wait to start a life with me, etc. I would also like to point out that JP says sweet things a lot, so this was nothing out of the ordinary...yet. So I just kept interrupting him saying things like, I know me too! But then all of a sudden he got down on one knee and I totally freaked. I immediately started crying and a million things ran through my mind. I couldn't believe he was doing this without a ring because how could he have a ring? He doesn't even know my size, we haven't even looked at rings, and somehow I think I would just know if he had a ring...but then I looked back at him and he was pulling a box out of his coat pocket. I'm pretty sure I was hyperventilating and he said some other stuff that I couldn't focus on enough to remember and somewhere in there he asked me to marry him and I said yes.

Of course, then a mass of phone calls ensued until finally we headed to Union Square to meet up with Michael, JP's brother, for dinner to celebrate. Stand 4, home of the Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake. BEST THING EVER.

Sunday, January 10, 2010: A day of rest. We walked around Central Park, went down to Ground Zero, and did other touristy things. A great day.

Monday, January 11, 2010: We looked at apartments. We saw three of them and completely fell in love with one of them. The broker told us we could do everything by overnight mail and that we could be in by February 1. We said ok, let's do.

So there's definitely more to the apartment story. It was very stressful dealing with a board, the broker, and the landlord, all seemingly not dealing with each other...but after a lot of stress and a little tears, we are finally in our apartment. Haha. And we love it so much. I posted some pictures on Facebook and I'm sure there will be more to come.