An Interview with Ashley Oakes

Meet Ashley. She and I met almost ten years ago when my family moved from Minnesota to Iowa. She was my very first friend, as kind and generous then as she is now, but in more lavender in a single outfit than I've seen her in the decade since. She and I braved the weirdness of middle school, the drama of high school, and the distance of college hand in hand. Now she's a teacher, lives in Minnesota, and still can make me laugh harder than anyone else. Ashley has been by my side for all of it. She's a friend for every season. Also, we've spent more hours in cars/buses/planes/RVs/rollerblades than anyone else. We know each other in and out and it's the best place to be. 

On reading:

Some of my favorite literature over the years has come from the one and only Erika Veurink. I'm interested in books like Outliers and Modern Romance that provide a closer look at people and today's society. I enjoy looking through travel books on places I'd like to go in the next few years. And recently I've spent a decent amount of time reading award winning books for my future classroom like The Hunger Games and Ella Enchanted.

On how you spend your Saturday afternoons:

Most of my Saturdays during the fall semester revolve around the social scene revolving around college football. My friends and I normally get up early to tailgate before a game or go to a bar or restaurant to watch an away game. Saturday afternoon naps are to be expected followed by a grocery run with a friend or some time watching Blackish or Wild 'N Out before dinner. Many Saturdays involve Fuzzy's Taco Shop or Blaze Pizza.

On your go to dinner party plan:

All of my dinner parties in college have involved restaurants as we've never attempted to master the art of cooking for a large group. But often the girls will go to dinner together before a night out. This usually involves trying a new drink at Wallaby's, Provisions, or the Cafe in Ames and ordering a meal with a side of sweet potato fries. Music on the way to and from dinner will range from LANY to blackbear to Jon Pardi to Wale, depending on who's driving.

On your personal uniform:

Usually I go for distressed denim with a Free People sweater or a graphic tee. I wear a lot of sneakers and booties. Just last week I found a leather Levi's jacket that I see myself wearing too much in the future. I can't say I sport much color, but when I do I favor blues and greens layered with neutral colored items. I also like incorporating a comfortable lululemon item with a non-athletic outfit for added comfort. 

On what speaks to you:

Both two minute and two hour phone calls, days spent shopping with a best friend, waking up from a nap to soft music and a lit candle, letters and packages in the mail, listening to others sing and play piano, covers of rap songs, notes passed in class/ chapter, afternoon baking with friends, nights that end at 3, long conversations over post-church brunch, instant connections with a stranger, and real smiles, loud laughs, and pictures "just for the archives."