You may have noticed a few things changing around the blog and around the site as a whole. These changes are little snippets of the big changes going on in my life at the moment. Let me go back a bit and paint you a picture.
May of 2012 – I had my degree, I had a job in a BIG commercial studio, and I felt like I was treading water. I uprooted my life in a way that wandering souls tend to do, and I moved myself to the ocean. Charleston, SC became the starting point for everything my life has grown into.
August of 2012 – A man named Adam West (yes…like batman) decided to pick up his life and head south. He landed in Charleston, SC, near family, with plans to start over and see where the wind took him.
October 31st of 2012 – I was feeling like a home-body and was wrapped up in blankets on my couch, when I finally succumbed to the peer pressure, tossed on a costume (I’m a black cat every year by tradition), and headed to a little dive bar on King Street with the rest of the buzzing, bustling city. Dragged out of his apartment by his sister, batman (dressed as Waldo) hopped in a cab, and headed to the same local spot. We met for the first time that night, under a haze of dive bar smoke, ridiculous costumes, and flashing lights. They say never look for your soul mate in a bar. Maybe the trick was – neither of us were looking. Batman collided into Cat Woman (or really just a stray black cat…but who’s asking), and suddenly the universe shifted. We spent that night dancing and drinking, and I left feeling like something had changed. I know it’s cliche, and no one really believes it….but I knew that he was important from the moment I said goodbye that night. Out of the hundreds of people I’d met on my adventure, he was different.
December 31st, 2014 – Midnight – Batman took his cat out, away from the New Years Eve ruckus, under the Folly Beach pier with the waves crashing in the background, and got down on one knee. He promised me a great many things, and when he stood up, the universe shifted again.
May 17th, 2015 – The most beautiful sea-side wedding graced the sand on Folly Beach in Charleston, South Carolina. A small gathering of only our closest family, beautiful and wild gypsophila everywhere, music, dancing, love, and vows joined our lives and our souls together for the rest of our days. That night was absolutely, unquestionably perfect.
These images taken by the lovely and talented Rachel Wells captured the day better than my words ever could.
Adam and I were both transplants in Charleston. We LOVE the city…We LOVE the people…and I am endlessly in love with the sea (Adam has a problem with sand, so that part he could pass on). We knew that we wanted to be close to family at the beautiful beginning of our little family. Adam’s family is spread out across the east coast, and mine is centered in Tennessee. I haven’t lived there in 20 years (and at one point said I never would), but we decided that Tennessee was calling our names. We’d be right in the center of my family, and half way up the east coast, so that we could easily visit everyone on his side. After an extremely discouraging house hunt (apparently something like 10,000 people are moving to Rutherford County each MONTH), we finally found our home. We had originally planned to be close to Nashville, and in a well populated area, since Adam would be working in Nashville, and we like the convenience of living close to everything like we did on James Island. Fate had other plans. On the way to visit my grandparents after a difficult day of house hunting, my mom decided to take a tiny detour to show me an adorable neighborhood way out in the country. It was started years ago, with the hopes of bringing some charm and city out to the country. When the economy tanked right after it was put into motion, everything was dropped, and we were left with a spiderweb of neighborhood streets with cute streetlights on every corner – but only 3 or 4 houses on the end of each street. It almost looks like a very cute ghost town. As we drove through, admiring all the houses that were meant to be crowded together, but ended up with gorgeous country views on every side, we saw a little “for rent” sign. My heart was in my throat as I called to see if the house was still available, and after a few nervous hours – Adam and I ended up in a beautiful pink house, backed up to miles of countryside, on an adorable little street called St. Charles Place. See what I meant about fate? Adam thinks I’m silly, but it looks like somebody picked up a little Charleston style house, and dropped it way out in the country on St. Charles Place. It’s perfect.
Or plans…however you’d like to describe it…For starters we’d like to put down some roots. So far we love it here. We’ve decided that, while we liked living in the middle of all the hustle and bustle in Charleston, the slow country life suits us quite well. It’s quiet out here. We can see the stars and we can here the cicadas. Bunnies and deer travel through our yard more often than we do. This house is temporary, since we’re renting it while we explore Tennessee and make decisions on where we want to set up shop, but this area is definitely feeling like home. We want to start a family soon, and get back to the earth a little bit. I’m growing vegetables in our -notyetareal- garden, and Adam is taking pride in caring for our yard and house. He’ll be starting school soon to pursue a new, exciting career path, and I’ll be teaching and cooking. You all know I’m an early education music teacher, and I LOVE watching my kids grow and develop their creativity. On the photography side, I’ll be making a few changes. Along with changing up the website to match my new goals and new name (Ashley Erin West rather than Ashley Erin Walker), I’ll be reducing some of my previous work, and adding in new goals and plans to suit the direction my life is moving in. In Charleston, I worked primarily with small businesses and business owners to photograph their food or products and build their visual marketing. I plan to continue that work here, because I love the small business community, and it makes me happy. I do plan to bring my work a little closer to home in the next few months and years, however. With a growing family on the horizon, and a new love for the slow living movement, I’d like to get involved with the food bloggers and recipe developers here and across the southeast. I hope to collaborate, learn from, and make friends with the creative community in my new home. The dream – start shooting cookbooks. I love food. Cooking it (though my skill set is very small), eating it, photographing it, smelling it…this list could go on. The kitchen really is the heart of our home, and it’s the room that brings us all together. Food is nourishment and happiness and warmth. I plan to browse the blogs of the recipe developers and food bloggers in this area and start practicing my cooking and baking so that I can better provide for my new family. This being first and foremost a photography blog, I plan to use my food testing to photograph new dishes, and feature the foodies out there who I admire most! If I can educate myself, do the creative work I love, AND bring more attention to some incredibly talented people, then I’d say I’ve got it pretty good. Keep an eye out for lots and lots and lots of food pictures, lots of recipes from my favorite people, lots of beginner cooking success stories and -don’tevenfeedthattothedog- stories. The past few years have shown me that you can planplanplan, but life has a beautiful way of picking you up and placing you right where you always needed to be. I can’t wait to see what is next in my adventure.