House Happenings On the Road


abram and ashley

“I hopped off the plane at LAX with my dream and my cardigan…” For the life of me, I cannot get that Miley Cyrus song out of my head!

Technically, I haven’t “hopped off the plane” yet, but I’m currently getting ready to hop in the car and off to the airport because today I’m bound for sunny California for three weeks! Well, two weeks and five days to be exact.

My reasoning for going to LA probably needs a little explaining. This is something I haven’t talked about here on the blog until now, so bear with me a minute while I give you a little back story… I have one and only brother, Abram. He’s a best friend, confidant, secret-keeper, my partner in crime and literally the best little brother anyone could ask for. Well, he’s not so little anymore – he just graduated high school last Friday!

When Abram was about 11, I gave him my old guitar. I told him that if he’d play guitar, he’d get a lot of girls. He took the bait and started playing. Greg (who was my boyfriend at the time, ha!) taught him a few chords to get him started. After the chords came lyrics. Most of Abram’s songs were just impromptu ramblings about funny things – like our Dad’s bald head… “My dad has a bald dead, when he gets mad it turns red…”. I remember nights when we’d be laughing so hard, we’d be crying! After a while, he started writing music that was actually really good. Abram played guitar and sang at a few school talent shows but that was pretty much the extent of his “music career”. Around the 16 (not that long ago) he told my parents he wanted to put down sports for a while to pursue a music career. We were all floored because Abram had been playing sports since he was 5 and at the time he played football and was on two basketball teams. In an effort to help Abram be certain he was making the decision, our mom signed him up for a local talent competition, Hanover Jr. Idol. He ended up singing/playing an original song called “Talk to Me” and won the whole kit and caboodle! That night, he booked his first four gigs and signed his first autograph. Over the next few months, things started picking up. He was asked to perform at a lot of local events like the Hanover Tomato Festival (we’re serious about our tomatoes around here!), the Ashland Strawberry Festival (and our strawberries!), and headline at the Virginia Special Olympics Closing Ceremonies. This little adventure became a family affair. My mom was his manager, my dad ran sound, Greg played electric guitar in the band, and I managed the online “stuff”, graphic design, merchandise (t-shirts, wristbands, etc), and all that jazz.

I really wish I could post some of his new stuff, but it’s under wraps for now (boo!). But here’s a “homemade” video we put together earlier this year to go with a scratch track (aka rough draft) of one of his much earlier songs…

Update:Β We had to take the video down πŸ™

To make the long story short, let’s fast forward a year… Abram was offered an opportunity to work with an awesome manager and some incredible producers that have worked with many of his all-time favorite artists. So, in true “now or never” fashion, about two months ago, my mom and Abram, packed up and headed to Los Angeles. My dad owns an access control business here in Richmond, so he needed to stay here, bring home the bacon, hold down the fort and, of course, help me and Greg on our house projects, haha! Seriously though, I don’t know what we’d do without him sometimes! I’m sure most people think my family’s current living situation is crazy weird. But the way we look at it is that you’re never going to “make it” unless you get out of your comfort zone and take some risks. And that’s what we’re doing – as a family.

As far as their new home away from home, my mom and Abram have a three-bedroom apartment in downtown Burbank. I’ve only seen it on text message photos and FaceTime, so I’m anxious to see everything in person! On top of being able to spend some time with my mom and little bro, my cousin Danny, his wife and my childhood BFF Sarah, and their two freakishly adorable kids, Elliott and Nora also live in the area (you might remember them from this post!). And yes… I’m going to Disneyland for the first time! I’m told not to expect much because apparently Sleeping Beauty’s castle looks like a Polly Pocket compared to Cinderella’s digs in Orlando. Nevertheless, this Disney freak is still insanely excited! …and Greg is insanely jealous.

My trek to the west coast doesn’t mean we won’t be posting! However, since I’m the one that normally moderates comments/answers emails, there might be a slight delay in response here and there. Before packing my bags, I even wrote a few posts for while I’m gone. We’ve also got a few “quick tips” for a Tuesday here and there and Greg’s working on an awesome Reader Reno post as well as an outdoor DIY project that he’ll be finishing up and posting while I’m gone. So basically, expect “your usual programming”. Also, I’ll be checking in on Twitter and Instagram during my travels. Love me some Instagram!

Greg’s done packing the car, so I’ve got to run! Simply due to the fact that I can’t seem to get this song out of my head, I’m leaving you with this…

You are welcome ; )

In the mean time, any must-see places / things to do in LA? Do tell!

UPDATE // 4.13 //Β A few of you have asked on an update on Abram’s LA adventure so rather than dedicating an entire post to it and having to explain everything again, I thought I would just update and link back to this post.

We’re very excited, happy, and thrilled to be able to finally announce that Abram has signed with Warner Chappell Music! It’s been in the works for a few months, but now that the dotted lines have been signed, we canΒ finally spill the beans. Warner Chappell is one of the largest music publishing companies in the world (they even own Happy Birthday!) and will place songs Abram hasΒ written with other artists (whom we can’t name at the moment, ugh!!), hook him up with some of the world’s best writers/producers and help launch his own artistΒ career. This has all happened so fast and is such a big deal for a teenager to have at such a young age, that we’re still kind of blown away.Β Obviously, my parents aren’t about to let their teenage son live in LA alone, haha, so that means mom is still out there but our family is making trips back and forth between LA and Richmond as much as possible to make things sort of normal. Whatever “normal” is ; )

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  • Reply
    June 11, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Wow that is so cool! Have fun in LA! And, um, thanks – now I’ll have that songs stuck in my head for the next two weeks!

  • Reply
    June 11, 2012 at 10:00 am

    That’s so exciting! You’ll love California. It’s fun, quirky, and full of style.
    And I’ll have to live through your Disney fun because I’ve never been to Disney anything. Sad, right?

    • Reply
      June 11, 2012 at 10:23 am

      You haven’t?! That must change! ; )

  • Reply
    June 11, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Wow He is REALLY good! Have fun in Los Angeles! You’ll love it!
    By the way- you rarely put photos of you guys on here and it’s nice to see another photo of you finally!

  • Reply
    June 11, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Have fun!!!

  • Reply
    Ashley {GirlyObsessions}
    June 11, 2012 at 10:38 am

    That’s so exciting for your bother and your family!!! Have a great time in LA! The one and only time I was there, I stayed in Burbank and there was an I Love Lucy convention at my hotel! I was in heaven! I met LIttle Ricky and the director of the show who was still alive at the time! The total bummer, besides the convention, I saw NO movie stars. For someone who is completely star struck, that totally sucked!

    • Reply
      June 11, 2012 at 11:08 am

      First of all, an I Love Lucy convention?! Heaven!! As far as being star struck, me too! I can totally play it cool, but when they walk away, I geek out a little inside, haha. Rumor has it that Shia LaBeouf eats at the Boston Market right near their apartment all the time… enough said ; )

  • Reply
    Staci @ My Friend Staci
    June 11, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I hope you love Disneyland! Are you going to get park-hoppers and go to Disney’s California Adventure too? I grew up in CA and can’t count how many times I’ve been there. I love Disneyland so much.
    I can’t see that Miley Cyrus video without picturing this one… have you seen it?

    • Reply
      June 11, 2012 at 11:08 am

      No, I haven’t seen it! Must watch during the layover : )

  • Reply
    June 11, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Native Angeleno here. I grew up at Disneyland, raised my kids at Disneyland and now my mother and I provide annual passports to my daughter, son-in-law and my four granddaughters! I’ve never been to D-World, but I think you will love Disneyland. If you’re interested in a personal tour by one of your readers, drop me a line!

  • Reply
    June 11, 2012 at 11:39 am

    I go to LA often, because my brother lives there πŸ™‚ I can’t go without getting coffee at Urth Cafe. There are 4 locations. Let me know if you try it. I always get the honey vanilla latte, and they always put the cutest designs in them.

    β™₯ Naomi {Starry Eyes + Coffee Cups}

  • Reply
    June 11, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    your brother has a fantastic voice! love his sound, and so cool that your whole family is supporting his dream. i hope he catches a big break – he definitely has the right sound and even the right ‘rocker look’ (and the right family, too)! enjoy your time together!

  • Reply
    Amanda C
    June 11, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Your brother is a cutie! Sounds great too! He’s livin’ the dream! Good luck to him and have a freakin’ awesome time in LA!

  • Reply
    Carey Connors
    June 11, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    I have a little sister whom I know would love to meet your brother:)

  • Reply
    June 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    You will love Los Angeles! You’ve got to hit an In-N-Out while you’re there! And good luck to Abram. He looks and sounds like a star to me(: Love his name!!!!!

  • Reply
    June 11, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Love the song… Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    June 11, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Ahh so sweet about your little brother :)! I know you and your family must be so proud of him! I hope you enjoy Sunny California πŸ™‚ We live in N. Cali and pretty much love it. Disneyland is so fun + there’s California Adventure πŸ™‚

    This Summer we are packing our bags up and heading to LA for Universal Studios and checking out all the landmarks

    Have fun on your visit!

  • Reply
    June 11, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Calabasas is the fancy suburbs of LA and and there’s cute restaurants/shopping at the Calabasas Commons. It’s way too easy see celebrities like Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez or any of the Kardashians.

  • Reply
    June 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Wow! How cool is that?? I really liked your little brother’s song…. fingers crossed to see lots of good things from him! Have fun in LA πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Kim S.
    June 11, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    I was listening to your brother’s song and my daughter (who’s 15) heard it. “Who’s that, what’s the name of the song?” She really likes it and looked on itunes for it. She would have bought it if it was out. Looks like Abram has a new fan.

    Anyway, I was planning on commenting on Disneyland. We finally went after going to Disney world many, many times. We loved it (the castle is small)! Especially the Matterhorn! And California Adventure was terrific. The World of Color show is amazing, not to be missed! Cars land just opened, that should be pretty cool too.

  • Reply
    June 12, 2012 at 2:48 am

    Your brother certainly has talent! I have a younger sister in high school who I am sure will become a fan. I’ll tell her about your brother on Wednesday (she’s gone on a mission trip until then) and if I know her like i think I do she will be sharing about Abram with her friends too. I hope you have a great time in LA!

  • Reply
    June 12, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    So excited for you! I live in LA and I can tell you that the food here is AMAZING. Be sure to visit Porto’s Bakery & Cafe in Burbank, Glendale, or Downey! You won’t regret it. Recommended: their oh so famous potato balls, cheese rolls, and the cubano sandwich. The cakes are also divine. (Red velvet!) For your sausage fix, check out WurstkΓΌche in downtown LA. Or get a mac & cheese pie across the street at The Pie Hole.

    While you’re in LA, make sure to check out the wonderful LACMA. And MOCA, located in Little Tokyo (also walking distance from WurstkΓΌche and Pie Hole.) Grab some Lette macarons while you’re at it πŸ™‚

    Also also recommended: Griffith Observatory (great for panoramic LA skyline photos) + the Getty, which has a lovely outside garden area. Bring food to picnic!

    I might have gotten a tad carried away πŸ™‚ I love my hometown, and I have so many more suggestions. E-mail me if you ever have any questions while you’re out here!

    • Reply
      June 12, 2012 at 5:36 pm

      Great recommendations! I’ll have to add these to the list! : ) Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    June 13, 2012 at 6:51 am

    I am a bit late commenting on this. Your brother is really good :-). have a ball in LA.

  • Reply
    June 19, 2012 at 11:30 am

    I grew up in almost the exact same way! I lived in the Midwest and at 15, decided I wanted to pursue this one specific thing. When I was 16, I had an opportunity to move to LA and work with the best people in the world, so I moved. After about 6 months, my mom came out, and we got an apartment for the remainder of my time there. It WAS different from what other families do, but if you want to be different, your whole family and your whole lifestyle has to be different! Good for your brother and good for your whole family for supporting him! Best of luck to Abram!

    • Reply
      January 8, 2013 at 5:55 pm

      I have NO idea how I didn’t catch this comment before… That’s so cool!!

  • Reply
    July 25, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    How fun! I just happened upon your blog via Living Locurto and you write so well. We love it here in LA (well, we’re in the suburbs) but I’ll take LA over Florida’s super hot muggy weather. And, hopefully you had fun at Disneyland! If we only had the land there that DisneyWorld has… πŸ™‚ We still love it! I love the room you made for your brother too! Super cute. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Megan CC
    August 16, 2013 at 9:38 am

    That’s so cool that your bro is living his dream! And the whole family is in on it too! I tried to watch the video, but it say’s it’s private? Is it down now that he’s signed?

    • Reply
      August 16, 2013 at 12:09 pm

      Yep, it came down when he was signed. Hopefully we’ll have something to post in the best future : )

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