Getting Personal: Ashley Gorman

Getting Personal: Ashley Gorman

Each week, we offer a Q&A with a local personality. This week, 32-year-old St. Joseph resident Ashley Gorman chats with The News-Gazette's Paul Wood. She is a blogger at sprinkledsunshine.com. She's also assistant director of stewardship and donor relations for the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement at the University of Illinois.

Ashley, where did you grow up?

I was born in California and lived in Georgia for a few years, but ultimately grew up in central Illinois with the majority of the time being in St. Joseph.

Do you have any funny family stories?

The ones I can think of I'd probably get in trouble for sharing. Isn't it annoying when people do that? I will share that I first met my husband, Ben, when I was in middle school. We were running around at a high school football game and I thought he had the best eyes. They matched his royal blue T-shirt. We went on to "date" for maybe a week? Two tops. We then dated again during my senior year of high school. It wasn't until after we graduated from college that we got back together, and the rest is history. He claims I begged to be with him, and of course, I claim it was the other way around.

What brought you to C-U?

I graduated from St. Joseph-Ogden High School and then earned my bachelor's degree from the UI College of Applied Health Sciences. I lived in the northwest suburbs for a couple years, commuting to downtown Chicago for work, before returning here for grad school. After grad school, my husband got a job in Edwardsville, about two weeks before I was offered a position at Illinois. During the roughly two years that we were in that area, we had our first son, Chase. It wasn't long before we realized that we wanted to be closer to family. My parents are in the Champaign-Urbana area, and I have three younger sisters who are all in the area still. My husband's parents are also in the area, along with one of his three older brothers.

Did you always want to be a writer?

Oh my gosh, I don't even think of myself as a writer, but I suppose when I blog that is what I'm doing, right? Funny thing is that right out of high school, I thought I wanted to be a mass communications or journalism major. I went on to switch multiple times.

What made you decide to do a blog?

I saw starting my blog, sprinkledsunshine.com, as an opportunity to take on a hobby just for me. For years, I had stumbled across other blogs and thought to myself, "gosh, I wish I could do that, that seems like it would be fun." I honestly started throwing around the idea in 2012 as a result of a lot of time spent on Pinterest. I didn't actually tell anyone or start my blog until 2018. I didn't know what WordPress was, much less how to actually navigate in it — there are many nights where I still spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to figure out how to make something populate on my blog (even with installed widgets) that someone with a background in coding could do in seconds. What started as a recipe here and there, has turned into a weekly blog post that could be centered on a recipe, travel tips, a product review, fashion tips or a DIY project that someone else could benefit from.

What else have you been blogging about?

Within the last year, we moved into an older farmhouse and the ideas I have for posts during our renovations/updates are endless. I'm also now doing a monthly blog series called the Sprinkled Sunshine Seven, which is always centered on a list of seven. The last post in this series highlighted seven inspiring women in central Illinois.

Is the blog growing?

In the back of my head, when I started my blog, I thought if I could make enough income off of this little side gig to set aside for family vacations, I'd be really happy. I see a lot of opportunity for this goal to be obtained. I've always dreamed of owning my own business, but I don't have clarity on what that business is exactly. Starting this blog has been a cost-effective way to toy with this dream a little bit. I've read multiple times that you should never start a blog for the sole purpose of making money, that you need to really have a passion for it. After being at it for over a year now, I can say that I do. The amount of time it takes to upkeep my site (and I'll admit this is done poorly at times) is much greater than I ever anticipated, especially "balancing" a full-time job that I enjoy along with being actively engaged with my family and with everything else that life entails. I say "balancing" in quotes because are we ever really truly balancing? I don't know. I do know, if I wasn't passionate about blogging, I wouldn't stay up into the wee hours of the night working on it.

You seem to know everybody in town. Do you do a lot of networking?

Ha! I think part of that is as a result of being a "townie" and being married to one as well. However, I will say that at this stage in my life, I do try and network as much as possible. If there is someone who I want to get to know, I don't hesitate to reach out to them.

Tell us a simple fashion tip, one for men, one for women?

Same for both: wear clothes that make you feel confident and comfortable in your own skin. Don't be afraid to experiment with new things, whether it is on "trend" or not ... you might start the trend. Recently I bought a new cowl neck sweater, excited because it was orange and blue (ILL-INI). My husband said it was one of the ugliest things he'd ever seen. Guess what? He has a pair of jeans that I'm not a fan of. Does it really matter? No.

Where on Earth are you dying to go?

Santorini and the Amalfi Coast. These are both on my bucket list; the pictures are breathtaking.

Tell me about your favorite pet.

We have a puggle, Torre, named after Joe Torre. My husband will refer to her as his "queen" and always says that she came first in his life, before me. In our old house, she slept separately from us, but ever since we moved, she has somehow made it back to our bed. I'm not always thrilled about this, but this is one fight that I often lose. I had a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel growing up named Cocoa. She wasn't the smartest, but she was sweet as they come.

What's your favorite sports team?

My son's T-ball team and Illinois. If I'm going to venture into professional sports — the Cardinals, Yankees, Bears and Blackhawks. Don't ask me details because I won't know, but I love going to games.

What would you order for your last meal?

Lasagna with breadsticks and a big bowl of fettuccine sauce from Olive Garden.

Happiest memory of your life?

There are many, the commonality in all of them is the involvement of family/friends. Some of my happiest moments are just being with my husband and two boys cuddled up on the couch at night for a movie. My two boys, Chase and Jack, are young enough that cuddling is still a thing and I'm going to hold onto that as long as I can.

What's your best piece of advice?

You have one life, try your best to live it so that you don't have any regrets.

How do you handle a stressful situation?

With class and then I vent to my lucky husband or a sister to calm myself down. No, but really, I imagine what the best-case scenario is and then what the worst-case scenario is. I then try to be prepared for something worse than the worst as best I can. Being realistic about whether a situation is even stressful in the grand scheme of things is important too — a lot of times they are not.

 

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