9/11 Tribute From Someone Who Witnessed It First Hand

9/11 Tribute From Someone Who Witnessed It First Hand

In honor of the 16th anniversary of September 11th, 2001, I asked my husband to recount some of his memories of the day. He was living in Manhattan at the time, and I thought his perspective might be interesting. The following are his thoughts and memories.


A crisp cloudless blue sky; when I think of September 11, 2001, my memories always start with that perfect sky. I woke up early that day. I was brand new to Manhattan, having moved there only 3 days earlier. I was eager to get out the door and explore my new home and that immaculate sky seemed to confirm my optimism. Because of September 11th, that same sky continues to be a symbol of optimism to me.

Obviously, I remember so much more about that day. Cliché as it may be, every moment of that day is singular in my memory. I was standing in a towel in my living room when the first plane hit. Like most people, I watched the horror of the next several minutes unfold on my television. Unlike most people, shortly after the second plane hit, I walked to the corner of my street, where I could see the smoke from the towers billowing into that perfect sky. Unlike most people, I remember the sound of non-stop sirens bouncing off the cityscape. I remember the smell of dust and smoke that swept uptown through increasingly deserted streets. I remember the ash that carried through the air like snowflakes. And I remember the stunned faces of ash covered men and women streaming up out of the subways.

In sixteen years, my memories of that day haven’t faded even a little bit. Every moment is as vivid as though it had happened yesterday. But, while I could go on and on about my memories of that day, I’d rather write about what I feel is the lasting lesson of September 11th – love, concern, and service to others.

In the days immediately following September 11th, I spent my time volunteering at “ground zero”, where I built and managed a feed and rest center for rescue workers in a repurposed school cafeteria. We fed, comforted, and re-clothed hundreds of rescue workers and rescue dogs, all with donated food and goods. The volunteers, most of which were high-school students, served and comforted cheerfully. They took tremendous pride in their work and they went beyond the simple tasks assigned to them to engage the people they were serving. They spent time with them and connected with them.

In the streets, makeshift memorials were visible all over town. In front of every fires station and police station, perfect strangers gathered around the clock, sharing hugs and encouragement. Larger displays of the same outpouring of support were repeated every night in public parks. New York had become a very small town overnight. People were no longer strangers with differences, but neighbors with common concerns and real love for one another.

I’ve often commented to people that, overnight, New York became the smallest town I’d ever lived in. There simply weren’t “strangers” anywhere. For months, that feeling persisted. People continued to volunteer, donate, and comfort. It was a place and time where people had greater concern for the needs of their neighbors than for their own needs. In that way, it was an amazing place to live.

I feel a deep connection to September 11th. Every year, as I reflect on my experiences, it’s the idea of service to others that sticks out. It is my belief that we are all at our very best when we are serving others. Service frees us from the selfishness that so often leads to hurt feelings and disagreements, and it allows us to connect with those we are serving. It has the power to heal old wounds and create community, and we can do it every day.

A crisp cloudless blue sky; when I think of September 11th, 2001, my memories always start with that perfect sky. It’s a symbol of optimism. It’s our opportunity, every day, to look outside of ourselves, to serve the people around us, and to build the communities we want.


6 Budget-Friendly Beauty Essentials for Busy Moms

Daniel Lewis is back for another great guest post! Check out his previous guest post, Tips for a busy mom on how to master a fast, every day make up routine and his social media accounts!

6 budget-friendly beauty essentials for busy moms.


It is tough being a parent and it is the mothers who bear the biggest brunt. They have to ensure that those under their care are clean, comfortable and safe. This includes their kids and their husbands as well. It gets even tougher when the mom is working since they have to be super women at home and at the office. They have to ensure that everything is okay at home and at the workplace. This leaves them with very little time for grooming and personal care. To make sure that busy moms still look gorgeous and attractive, we have developed this guide that highlights some of the beauty essentials for busy moms. Considering that we are facing tough financial times, the beauty essentials mentioned in this piece are budget-friendly and affordable.

  1. Moisturizer. 

This is one of the beauty essentials that you cannot do without as a mom. As you go about your duties at home or in the office, you lose moisture from the skin as a result of exposure to harsh conditions such as strong wind and direct sunlight. This necessitates that you use a moisturizer every now and then so as to maintain your skin’s hydration and smoothness. Pick a moisturizer that is non-comedogenic in nature so as to avoid clogging your pores when you use them. It is also advisable to pick a moisturizer with a higher SPF value so as to keep harsh sun rays at bay. When buying a moisturizer, it should be noted that price is not necessarily an indicator of quality. You can find great moisturizers at a good price and all you have to do is to look around.

2. Cleanser.

You cannot go to bed with your makeup on. This has the effect of clogging your pores and this may result in breakouts and other skin blemishes. A cleanser would clear the makeup on your skin and this opens up your pores to breathe. It hydrates your skin as well and this primes you up for makeup application the next day. There are a lot of affordable cleansers in the market that are effective for this purpose.

  1. A concealer.

Concealers are great for covering makeup blemishes on your skin. They cover up dark circles as well as rosacea blemishes on your cheeks. Considering your busy schedule, these blemishes will come up often and this makes a concealer one of the beauty essentials that you can’t do without. You won’t have to pay high prices for the best concealers since the market is flooded with cheap and affordable concealers that are just as great.

  1. Lip gloss.

A little lip gloss on your lips will make them brighter and your smile bright as well. Your mouth is the first thing that people notice when talking to you and you should make an effort to make your lips as attractive as possible. Dry lips are such a turn-off and people may avoid you because of this. The benefit of lip gloss is that it is easy to use and you can quickly apply them on your lips for a great look. They are very cheap as well and you can stock up several of them in different shades.

5. Blush. 


This is another beauty product that makes it into the list of budget-friendly beauty essentials for busy moms. All it takes is a few quick strokes on your skin and your appearance goes from dull to bright. Pick a blush in a shade closer to your skin tone for a natural and glowing look. Blush is one of the affordable makeup items that won’t blow your budget even when you buy several of them.

6. Mascara. 

Mascara makes your eyes pop and this gives you an alert look. Your busy schedule may give you a tired look but with mascara, you are able to spruce up your appearance. For the best look, use minerals makeup that nourishes and enhances your skin.


As a mom, your priorities lie with your kids and family. This may leave you with little time for personal grooming and self-care. We hope this guide will help you maintain a beautiful appearance as you go about your duties.




Guest Posts Welcome

Guest Posts Welcome

Have you ever had something you wanted to say or get off your chest and no platform to say it? Are you heartbroken over what’s been happening in our country? Are you upset with someone and want to write a unanimous open letter? Well here is the perfect opportunity! You can literally write about anything, I don’t like to discriminate. Shoot me an email at marsh.ashleym@gmail.com.

Tips for a busy mom on how to master fast, easy everyday makeup routine

Tips for a busy mom on how to master fast, easy everyday makeup routine

Hello, everyone! This guest post is for all of you busy moms that want a few tips and tricks to look and feel good with the little time you have in the morning. I’m really excited about this guest post for a few reasons. The first is because I am always in need of more tips and tricks to make my morning routine easier with my little boys running around. The second reason I’m so excited about this post is because of Daniel Lewis, the author. He discovered my blog on Twitter, followed my posts, and reached out to me to guest post. Which I think is pretty awesome!

He sent me a few of his other articles and I loved all of them! Here are his social media accounts if you are interested in reaching out or reading more of his articles!!!

Tips for a busy mom on how to master fast, easy everyday makeup routine

Who said you cannot be a great mom and a sexy woman all at the same time? There are women who are doing it, so why not you? Wearing makeup does not have to be tough wheth4er you have three children of just one newborn who doesn’t seem to sleep a whole hour. There are easy ways to help you remember your everyday makeup and allow you to get ready quickly and flawlessly. All you have to do is to remember to play around with your best features.


There is something sexy, homely and stunning about rosy cheeks. For a sleep deprived mom, rosy cheeks can change your face from tired and overworked to healthy and happy. If you feel like the whole motherhood thing is dragging you down by the hair, you don’t have to let everyone know. There are plenty of celebrity moms who still manage to smile even through the sleepless nights, the unending laundry and the painful backaches. Your bundle of joy is worth all you are doing for them, but they also need a good-looking mother to complement their tiny cute faces. So apply blush on your cheeks and cheekbones, your nose, forehead, and chin. It will add a healthy color to your face and make you look approachable and happy.

Tinted moisturizer

You already know how critical it is to moisturize your skin before you begin any applications. It keeps your skin healthy and prevents breakouts. What you mi0ght have missed is the new tinted moisturizer that perfectly hides any flaws in your skin pigmentation. If you do not have a clear skin tone, you have to have tinted moisturizer. Ensure that you apply it all the way to your chest to everything uniform. This two in one also saves you time because you will not have to use two separate products.

Choose your perfect three

Mascara is essential. It helps create that needed glow on your eyes making you look lively s use a thick wand to work the mascara into your lashes from the roots to the tips. You also need to choose a shade of lipstick that matches your skin tone, and that will make you look and feel great. Apply it on your lips paying close attention to your edges to prevent over application. Dab the excess on a tissue paper. Apply a second coat of lipstick. This will ensure that your lipstick lasts longer. These two in addition to your moisturizer will ensure you look beautiful throughout the day. You may also want to invest in some great waterproof mascara because you never know when that emotional moment will pop up.

Powder foundation

As a busy mom, you are no doubt looking for a way to get the best coverage in the shortest amount of time. Powder coverage is what you need. With liquid or cream foundations, you have to spend your time to make sure that it has blended perfectly with your skin tone. There is also the risk that they may get smudgy and greasy. Applied with a large fluffy brush, powder foundation allows you to do the color correcting quickly and without worry.

Have a pair of tweezers in your car

If you want to look great, you need your eyebrows to look the part. Messy, over grown eyebrows, can ruin everything. Eyebrows need to be regularly shaped for them to- look great. As a new mom, you may not have enough time to do it. However, with a pair of tweezers in your car, you can work on your eyebrows as your baby naps or while you are stuck in traffic. If you have a kid in school, you can work on your brows as you wait for them in the car.


Mineral foundation powder is necessary for a mom to look great but she also needs to take care of her hair. It is important that you learn simple hacks that will help make your hair look great. For instance, if you have bangs, it is time for you to find out how to braid them for a quick, effortless hairstyle change. You may not go to the salon for a while. For instance, you could braid the bangs to the right or to left and style them like the rest of the hair. You can also hold your hair in a ponytail and add a hair extension for more coverage.


Being busy does not mean you have to let yourself go. You can still look and feel sexy and be a great mother!

An Open Letter To Gordon Hayward

An Open Letter To Gordon Hayward

As most of you already know I am a Jazz fan. And any of you that are basketball fans know that Gordon Hayward left the Jazz in an announcement/open letter on July 4. It was hard to hear/read. However, as sad as this is to say, Jazz fans are used to being left and lied to. Derek William, Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver, Derek Fisher, and the list goes on!

Anyway, a friend of mine from Utah wrote an open letter to Hayward and I absolutely loved it. I wanted to share it with you all. Thank you so much Gentry for letting me post your letter. ❤


An Open Letter to Gordon Hayward,

What you did yesterday sucked, man. You lied and were caught. Be truthful. Own your intentions.

We don’t wish you, Robyn, Bernie, Charlie, or even Siber ill-will or harm. It is completely unacceptable that some threatened you and your family, and I don’t consider them a part of Jazz Nation. Oh, and sorry for knowing your children and dog’s names. It’s probably not normal for fans to know that much about their favorite players; except Utah Jazz fans – but you knew that already.

We are devastated that you left but we do not hate you for leaving. We hate the way you lied and strung us along. We hate how you pretended the leak wasn’t real and that you were truly undecided. I know I’m not the only person who wasted my entire day glued to Twitter, ESPN, and Bleacher Report, and I know I’m not the only one who threw my phone down when the official report came at 5:48 PM, saying the same thing it did at 12 PM.

I hope that you realize what yesterday’s charades did to the impression you’ve left on us that was, before that, quite positive. I can’t count how many threads I saw, including my own, saying that we cannot boo you if you chose to leave if it was best for you. The fans you were about to burn were your biggest advocates – but then you lied.

I hate that this is how you left. I hate that I care about you this much and I hate that I let the decisions of a professional athlete affect me like this, but I can’t help it. The Utah Jazz are interwoven into the fabric of my childhood and adulthood, and are a huge part of who I am today.

I want you to know that you won’t get the reception you had here. I know you’re a “Big Three” now, but you will never be lauded and praised like you were here.

And when you’re having an off night, and are 4-13 from the floor, I hope your Boston fans are loyal to you and cheer you on through the less-than-spectacular games. I hope they give you a chance to show them what you’re capable of, like we did.

However, if they happen to be upset with you, or boo you for a poor performance on a bad night on a larger media scale (like you wanted), I hope you remember a few things:

I hope you remember the fans that hated Delonte West for the rest of his career since the day he decided to stick his finger in your ear.

I hope you remember the fans that got upset and protective over our collective “kid brother” when Deron Williams chucked a basketball at your head.

I hope you remember The Pink Grandmas who are in their 70’s and 80’s who wore your jersey to every game and posted a heartbreaking video last night about not wearing it anymore, but nonetheless still thanking you.

I hope you remember the fans who donated thousands of their own money (we don’t make millions – that’s a lot of money for us) for billboards, making you videos, songs, and little kids buying you Gatorade when you were sick.

I hope you remember the junior high aged children who wrote letters to you.

I hope you remember the elite coaches that built around you.

I hope you remember the teammates that followed your vision.

And, most importantly, I hope you remember the 19,000+ people in Salt Lake City chanting your name during your last game here, even though we had just been swept, as you exited the court, visibly emotional.

We know you didn’t ask for any of that. But that’s exactly the point – you don’t need to ask Jazz fans for those things. We are fiercely loyal until the very end. Unfortunately, for both of us, that was July 4, 2017.

The thing is, Gordon, we have the same goal, too: to win a championship. We are sorry you didn’t have as much faith in our team as we had in you.

(Oh, and would you look at that? I managed to write a whole post without anything being leaked to the media).

Goodbye, Gordon. I hope you #TakeNote of this monumental decision.


Jazz Nation

Dear 17-Year-Old-Me

Dear 17-Year-Old-Me

I’m so excited to introduce Victoria. We “met” via Instagram and I’ve truly enjoyed getting to know her! We have quite a bit in common, which is always a fun thing to find out about someone new. 🙂 I hope you enjoy her post. And go check out her blog and IG account. ❤


Let me introduce myself – I’m Victoria from Life In The Ginger Lane  and Ashley has very kindly allowed me to Guest Blog for her.  I’m from just outside Glasgow in Scotland, wife of 4 years to David and Mummy to my gorgeous 2.5 year old boy Connor.  I started my blog last year as a means to try and get back into writing which is something I’ve always loved.  I have had my own struggles with depression and anxiety and as a result, my confidence has taken quite a hit so I’m slowly but surely trying to gain some of that back.  Please pop over to my blog and give it a read, it’s a work in progress so any hints or tips are greatly appreciated!  I’m also on instagram @lifeinthegingerlane so do come and say hi!

I’m turning 27 this year – how the hell did that happen?  So for this post, I thought I’d have a look back over the past 10 years and write a letter to me when I was 17.

Dear 17-year-old Victoria,

I know you think you know it all but University at 17 is not such a great idea for you – you’re just not ready yet.  The last year of school is a complete skive for a reason.  I know you have the brains to pull it off and you would have graduated no problem had other things not gotten in your way, but you’re just not as mature as you think you are.  You’re not old enough to drink alcohol so there is very little point in going to Freshers week; I don’t think you realize quite how much of Uni life is made up by the socializing outside of lectures, usually in a pub/bar.  You will tough it out for 2 years and then you have no other choice but to pack it in, let’s be honest, it was never what you wanted to do anyway.  Psychology is far too full of research methods and statistics for you, you have always been more of a language lover.  Writing is where you should be focusing your time.

It’ll take you a long time to realize that though, and even sitting here now I can’t say 100% that you are living your dream.  You are gradually finding your way back to writing but confidence is an issue; you will get there though, I can feel it!

Mum is right, he is an absolute waste of space but it will take you another year and a half before you realize it for yourself and by then the damage will already have been done.  Never mind, you will manage to pick yourself up and in the long run you will come out of it a stronger, better person.  And believe it or not, you have already met the man you are going to marry, I’m not going to tell you who, you’ll just have to wait another 2 years to find out for yourself.  But I will say that you will be married by the time you’re 22.  Your husband is an amazing man; it’s not going to be an easy road but you will get there, all your struggles will just make you stronger in the end.

Please know that Mum and Dad aren’t trying to be the bad guys, although they do give a good impression of it at times I’ll admit.  They really do just want what’s best for you.   And your little sister; she may be an absolute nightmare right now but trust me she is a blessing in disguise.  She is so incredibly protective of you and will back you to the hilt regardless of whether you are in the wrong or not.  She will surprise you time and again – blossoming into a fantastic Auntie before your very eyes, I bet you didn’t see that coming!  You come from a remarkably close knit and loving family, something which you have taken for granted over the years – that isn’t a bad thing, but please be aware that not every family is like yours.  Family is not always everyone elses top priority but it will always be yours.

You will have your struggles with depression and are probably in the beginning stages of that now, you just don’t know the signs.  Luckily for you, Mum does recognize them and together you will work to get you out of that darkness.  It will be a long road to recovery with a few relapses along the way, you are very anti medication – this trait will never leave you but you will eventually realize that taking medication is not a sign of weakness.  Taking medication does not mean that you can’t fight your own battles.  Taking medication is not lying down to depression and accepting that this will be your life.  What it means is that you are accepting that suffering from depression is not your fault, there is a chemical imbalance in your brain which is out with your control.  This will be a very difficult thing for you to do, you hate to be out of control, but you will realize that sometimes you need a little extra help – and that’s okay!

Don’t worry though, once you get yourself back on an even keel you do eventually manage to come off the anti depressants.  You do have the occasional blip but accepting that everyone has down days and they don’t always mean that you need to get to the doctors is a key coping mechanism for you.

Please know that the next 10 years of your life, although they are difficult and filled with times where you can’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel, they are also filled with so much love, laughter, and fun.  You will welcome a beautiful baby boy and in true Victoria fashion that will not go to plan either but you quickly realize that what’s meant to be will be and there is nothing you can do about it.  So please don’t worry, you will be absolutely fine and you should be proud of the woman you have turned into, I know I am.

V x

A letter to Rob Bishop 

A friend of mine from Utah wrote this letter to his representative, Rob Bishop. I wanted to share it because I want to encourage everyone else to write to their senators and congressmen/women if they want to see a change.

Thank you for sharing this with us, James.

I’m pretty sure Bishop won’t read my letter so I decided to let you all read it for funsies.

I am not at all satisfied with your representation in our district and the rest of the coalition of republican lawmakers in Utah and their unabashed hostility towards the preservation of the outdoors.
I’ve lived in your district for my entire life, albeit a four year stint where I served in US Navy. Part of what grew me close to this state was my involvement with the Boy Scouts of America, and the easy access we had to public lands. I’ve had friends who moved here because they were in love with untouched, rugged landscape and the easy access to trails, hunting, and camping. There is a wonderful natural world where others can get away from the insanities of civilization and industry at a moment’s notice. I have genuinely never heard a single person utter “this terrain is just beautiful, BUT it could really use more urban development and a big oil rig right there.”
The bill being presented by Jason Chaffetz, HR 621, and your aggressiveness towards redistributing the public lands back into power of state and private use seems like a short-sighted solution to make money. You’ll excavate the resources and the short term effects might wield a monetary gain, but what happens when, again, the resources run out and the industry that recovers those resources have left? We are left with scars of a landscape that wasn’t yet forsaken. It’s time to think of what will happen long term for the future generations, or perhaps you don’t actually care at all about that. Perhaps you don’t care because that problem is the future’s problem, and the money is needed now. If this is the case, you never actually cared about your constituents or the people here at all.
You have been quoted saying “the antiquities act is the most evil act ever invented.”, and “if anybody likes the way the antiquities act, the way it is written, die” and also something along the lines getting stupidity out of the gene pool. I think the only thing here that questions intelligence is how you got elected again after spewing some arbitrary diatribe like this? The legacy you are leaving for yourself isn’t a great one, Rob. In fact, I don’t think you’ll get elected again.
To close out, I’m going to quote a respectable republican who ironically signed in the Antiquities Act, and I think his intentions were clear; you’re living proof why we need it.
“We have become great because of the lavish use of our resources. But the time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil, and the gas are exhausted, when the soils have still further impoverished and washed into the streams, polluting the rivers, denuding the fields and obstructing navigation.” – Theodore Roosevelt
I have never actually participated in protest before, but if it’s to keep the public lands right where they are then I guess there is a first time for everything.
Someone who should die apparently,

James Bockas
Ps. I considered myself conservative a time ago, but I definitely do not agree with your sentiments on conservation, and I’ll oppose you as long [you] as maintain it.”