Lez Be Honest

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Let’s talk about a subject near and dear to my heart.

Lesbians.

I’m a lesbian and a somewhat stereotypical one at that. I figured something was different with me at a relatively young age, but never could tell exactly what it was. I remember when I was in the fourth grade having the biggest crush on a girl that dressed and acted like a boy. Her name was Desiree, she was in the fifth grade and wore baggy jeans, baseball hats and sports Jerseys. She had her hair cut really short and spiked it with handfuls of gel just like every other guy in my grade.

I was infatuated with her, but felt really strange because every other girl my age was talking about kissing boys. So instead of expressing my want to kiss Desiree, I focused all my energy on trying to be like the rest of the girls. I over compensated and came off as “boy crazy” and liked all the popular boys every other girl liked while I silently ogled Desiree and the other tomboy-esque girls that came in and out of my school days.

Then in the seventh grade I went away to summer camp where I kissed a girl for the first time. It was a result of a dare but it meant more to me then when I was dared to kiss a boy from the opposing cabin. I didn’t tell any of my friends when I got back to school the following year but in the eighth grade I kissed another girl at a school dance. The boys in my grade loved it and she only kissed me for that very reason, to make the boys notice her.

During that summer I had an older boyfriend and just went along with the motions until my freshman year of high school. I had had a few boyfriends by then and clearly knew I really wasn’t attracted to guys my age or older but then I had my first full on girl crush. It wasn’t like another crush I had before and I knew then that I was probably a lesbian. She was a senior in my debate class and I had a sneaky suspicion that she batted for the girls team.

Needless to say nothing ever came of that situation and instead a few months later Justine came into my life and that sealed the deal. I knew that I was a lesbian and because I loved her with everything I had in my heart I couldn’t deny it or pretend to be like every other girl I knew.

I’m sure my mom has read through this post and may be upset but hopefully there will be more people out there that enjoyed this post because it might just be a retelling of their own story. I’m proud to be a lesbian and quiet honestly I love and support other lesbians.

Big, small, tall, thick, butch, stud, soft butch, femme, hippie, androgynous, Ellen DeGenerous, ummmm… there are so many others I can’t even remember right now. But, hopefully you get the point. Lesbians are pretty much amazing people.

As my favorite little beauty queen would say,

Cheers,
EA

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Nine Years and Six Months

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“The future for me is already a thing of the past –
You were my first love and you will be my last” – Bob Dylan

We met when we were young. I was fifteen and she was seventeen turning eighteen. We hid our love, or so we thought, for years from others but reminded each other daily. I have never been so close to another person in my whole entire life and although many thought what we share was momentary and would fade with time has only grown stronger.

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While others gave up on their journeys and have grown accustomed to failing or giving up, we continue on. At first we were against the odds, people doubted, we fought more than we should have but it gave us perseverance. The beginning was tough.

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There were times when we both gave up. Distance drove us apart. But those times we weren’t together were only passing moments because we always found our way back to one another. There were times when I hated her and when she hated me. Times when either one of us wanted nothing more than to throw in the towel and wish it all way.

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A few times money got the best of us and drove us apart. We let little fights turn into full fledged wars and we wouldn’t talk to each other for days. But through it all we’ve managed and we communicate on another level. Many people believe that we are still young and don’t know any better. We both know they’re wrong.

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We have had our fair share of rough times. We’ve seen the good and the bad. We share more memories of pleasant times when we were both content with life. It’s those things that we cherish and remember best.

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In our nine and half years we’ve already accomplished so many milestones. Graduations,  God children, puppies, buying our first home and our engagement to list a few.

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When Justine kneeled down and proposed at Disneyland it only confirmed more, if that is possible, that I’m meant to be with her for the rest of my life. This picture, as horrible quality as it may be, doesn’t do justice to the amount of sheer joy and admiration I had at that very moment in time.

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Justine, I love you more than words can express, more than stars in the galaxy, more than life itself. Six more months until the rest of our lives.

Happy nine years and six months.

Love always and forever,
Erika Ashley

Plan B 2.0 – Virtual Baking. What?!

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The Beast Bakery didn’t go as planned. Yea we know already. So what is a little baker to do? How does a baker bake without a bakery? How many times can I use the word ‘bake’ in a paragraph. Or hell a blog post?! A butt load so get ready.

Due to the fact that there is no real bakery, The Beast Bakery instead will be a virtual bakery. A what? I will bake from little kitchen here at my little house in my little town. Instead of striving for an unattainable physical location, the use of my very own kitchen will do. I mean it has done so well since I began so it will have to do for the immediate future.

Also, since I won’t be driving around peddling baked goods to cookie fiends, I’m going to be teaching you, my lovely readers, how to bake, decorate and DIY the hell out of some baked goods. All you have to do is check back to the blog every now and again for all the new wonderfulness that is planned.

Deal? Deal. I’d shake on it but I don’t know where your hand has been, so we’ll fist bump instead. *fist bump*

Now on to the good stuff. What are you in for you ask?

 

My original recipes, recipes that have been passed down to me and even some I’ve altered over time.

 

 

Step by step guides on how to bake, decorate, and DIY all kinds of sugary goodness.

Everyone LOVES Pinterest. I bet you’ve seen tutorials and recipes on Pinterest tried them at home and been like, “WTF. My cupcakes look like dog poop. Why don’t they look like these beautiful masterpieces on Pinterest?!” I’ll be reviewing pins and tell you what’s really up and how to tweak specific pins to work best for you, a real person.

I’m getting married (civilly unioned actually since same-sex marriage isn’t “legal” in the great state of California) in less than 9 months so be prepared for wedding updates and some other daily shenanigans.

Excitement cannot define how I feel about The Beast Bakery 2.0. PLUS, by mid-October there might be a Cookie Club you can sign up for to receive a “Cookie of the Month.” Hot damn! I’m in business again!

I want to hear from you- Are you in? Are you excited about the awesomeness headed your way?

Cheers,
EA

Wedding Wednesday – Caterer Tasting #2

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I hope everyone had a fantastica Fourth of July. As I type this dozens of bangs and pops are going off all around our neighbor and surprisingly our little pups are lounging sans barking. This is probably because we have the Science Channel cranked up to drown out the sounds of the firecracker warfare going on outside.

Last Wednesday Justine and I headed out to our second caterer tasting. This time we ventured to South Sacramento to give All Seasons All Reasons a try. I was pleased to find that All Seasons All Reasons (ASAR) was a preferred caterer for our venue because since I’ve started my wedding vendor research they have been consistently the highest rated caterer in Sacramento. I mean really, go check out their 14 five star reviews on Yelp! Even the previous caterer we had a tasting with gave props to ASAR. Needless to say I was excited to get this show on the road.

When we arrived we were greeted by Vanessa, our main point of contact prior to the tasting and Monty, the co-owner and head of the company. Their office/tasting room was a little snug but comforting. Shortly after being seated we then met the head chef, Josh, who also co-owns the businesses and rocked a 49er hat (which scored him major points with Justine). Everyone was so friendly and genuinely wanted to be there impressing us. One thing that I noticed with the other caterer was our meeting seemed like just another tasting appointment and with ASAR they went above and beyond to customize the experience for us. They even drafted up a fancy menu for our tasting. 10 points Gryffindor.

After the introductions and pleasantries, Josh got to cookin’ and Monty got to pouring the wine and we continued gabbing on about what we want. We started with a cheese platter with fresh fruit and then a fresh garden salad. The dressings were made from scratch and the house italian was zesty and had a pleasant tang. Justine really enjoyed the homemade ranch dressing.

Next up were the side dishes- grilled veggies and fettucini Alfredo. The veggies were perfectly charred and Justine is uber picky about fettucini Alfredo and she admitted to me on the way home that it was the best pasta she has ever had. I was pretty blown away myself.

We then had an herb crusted chicken (top), garlic mashed potatoes, grilled tri-tip, and a grilled chicken. This shit was mouth-wateringly amazing. Oh my God. I kept eating the mashed potatoes and I had to literally pry the fork out of my hand to stop. The tri-tip was almost as good as my dad’s tri-tip… almost. 😉

At the end of the tasting Monty, Justine and I sat around the table talking about what we expect and what we want for about a half hour. We continued making plans and getting great feedback. Monty made us feel at home and comfortable enough to express our concerns but he reassured us that weddings are stressful but well worth it. He even mentioned that if we don’t choose their services he will still be more than happy to assist us in any way he can.

Overall this company seems amazing, the food was outstanding, and even though they are a little over our budget we made our decision seconds after leaving. We have decided to go with All Seasons All Reasons as our caterer and we couldn’t be happier.

On to the next task, picking a baker and dj.

Cheers,
EA

Wedding Wednesday – Venue Edition

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We finally chose the venue where we are going to hold our ceremony and wedding reception. And to top things off we’ve already placed our deposit to hold our date on their event calendar. So it’s official- We’re getting hitched!

Last month we came across this venue after a long and tedious search and it was like a breath of fresh air. I emailed their wedding coordinator, Laurie, first to confirm that they are a gay friendly venue and to set up an initial meeting. Within hours I received a response back and Laurie was very pleasant and notified me that of course this venue is gay friendly. She continued to explain that she personally believes strongly in gay rights and supports same-sex marriage. Out of the box this place was leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. We set up our meeting time and later that week Justine and I arrived at the venue to take a look around.

We pulled up to the location and was stopped at the gate by a security guard. He asked who we were there to see and when we notified him that we had an appointment with Laurie he smiled and let us right in. (This place has a gate, how fancy, haha) Initially we were a little confused because the front sign posts in big letters, “SHALOM SCHOOL” and underneath in smaller letters, “The Center at 2300.” So if you are coming to our wedding, turn at the Shalom School sign. After entering the gates clearly on the left hand side of the parking lot is The Center at 2300.

We met with Laurie, explained what we want from a venue and she showed us around the grounds. We are using the courtyard (above) for our ceremony. It is completely covered by tree foliage so during the warm/hot day of our wedding at least we will have shade from the trees and no one will be in direct sunlight. That is one of my all time pet peeves for weddings is when the couple make you sit in the hot blazing sun sweating while they make promises to each other. Oye. I’m glad we thought ahead.

Now here’s the kicker. The inside of the event hall is amazingly beautiful! The neutral surroundings allow for any wedding to completely transform the room without the room taking away from the decorations. Not to mention they have an OUTSTANDING LED lighting system. We were able to take part in the package deal where we get this kick ass lighting customized to whatever we want. Take a look at some past events that were held at The Center at 2300.

Seriously stunning. There are several more photos on their website where you can check out here. I can’t wait to send out our save the dates now that we finally have our wedding date set in stone at a great venue. Wedding planning is exciting again!

Cheers,
EA

Gay Friendly?

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It’s time to tackle a difficult topic for some people so let’s get it over with shall we?

Justine feels that when choosing vendors I need to specifically ask if they are gay friendly. I completely understand the need to know whether we will receive the same service as heterosexual couples, but the difficulty I have is accepting the fact that some vendors might just say, “No.” We are spending our money just like any other couple so we should be able to choose any vendor without the awkward moment when I ask if they are down with the gays.

So far every vendor I have asked at bridal shows or over the phone has been gay friendly, but I am a little nervous for the day when I go to ask and they reply no. I’m afraid I might just lose my cool and go off on them. I am very passionate about gay rights and to listen to ignorance is upsetting. I understand that it is a personal preference to choose to be discriminatory but still upsetting in this day and age.

Another issue I’m having is that there is a lack of representation of gay friendly venues and vendors in the Sacramento/Northern California area. When you search “Sacramento Weddings” there is a plethora of  websites and blogs that discuss and advertise wedding venues and vendors for traditional heterosexual couples. The websites that do exist and show same-sex accepting vendors are extremely outdated and for lack of a better word, shitty in general. There are two websites that I have found beneficial to our search, one that is more traditional and the other that is gay oriented.

The Knot has been a go to website for me when looking up available venues and wedding ideas. This website does cater more towards heterosexual couples, but offers some same-sex wedding topics. I like that it is helpful in finding vendors in general but then it leaves me having to ask whether they are gay friendly or not.

Gay Weddings is the other website I used to find gay friendly vendors because just look at the name. That’s all they have on their website. The only thing is their website is not nearly as “cool” or fun to be on as The Knot is and so they are lacking in that area.

Either way I feel there needs to be a better representation of gay friendly vendors and venues in the Sacramento/Northern California area that would help me so much more.

Cheers,
EA