8: Meet Ashley Hurst

Do you have one of those people who you kinda-sorta knew in college. but had no idea how funny and clever they were (and that they are just as twisted as you are? No? Oh.) until you reconnected on Facebook? Well, for me, that person is Ashley Hurst. In addition to raising two toddlers, this year she will tackle chairing the Race for the Cure. Someone get this gal a pink bubble bath.

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1. Name, occupation, years in LR, neighborhood: Ashley Hurst; I like to call myself “temporarily retired” (I’m not exactly sure what “homemaker” means, but I feel certain it is an inaccurate description. I do have a Master’s degree in social work.); I’ve been in Little Rock for 13 years; Woodlands Edge in West Little Rock.

2. I know you're pretty involved in the spaghetti supper held before the annual Komen event. What is your role in that and what are your other favorite annual events in LR? I have been involved with the Pasta Party, Komen Arkansas’s event held in conjunction with the Race for the Cure, since 2006. I chaired the event for five years beginning in 2008. This year, I served as Race co-chair, which means I am chair for the 2014 Race for the Cure.

Other than that, Kidsource Therapy has some of the best events I’ve attended. They change them up periodically, but all are a really good time. I cannot say I’ve had more fun preparing for an event than I did for their Mullet Madness this year. I got to dress--not like I actually DID in the 80s, but how I WISH I had been cool enough to dress--in the 80’s. They had an 80s cover band, wine, and a silent auction -- this girl couldn’t have made her own birthday party more fun!

My other favorite local events to support are those that benefit Our House. It is, in my opinion, one of the best things happening in Little Rock right now. They do difficult work--their model is fantastic and they have proven success. In recent years (under the direction of Georgia Mjartan), they have expanded by leaps and bounds. Our House is immensely important to our community and is far more than a homeless shelter.

3. Where do you like to shop in LR? I own/work for two toddlers so my shopping is often limited to the Kroger Marketplace nearest my house. In the glorious event that I am left unsupervised, I LOVE The Shoppes on Woodlawn. They have EVERYTHING! You can find jewelry, clothing, baby items, fair trade items--even no-kill leather (seriously!) by Su Shan. Supporting local business is important to me (even when shopping online). The room with Tisha’s Interiors has my favorite gifts. I like shopping for myself at Gene Lockwood's Sporting Goods (Life is Good and Patagonia and Toms, oh my!) and FauxPasBoutique.com. For the kids, I always check Heel to Toe kids shoe store first. And I love Caroline’s Children’s Consignment Boutique.

4.What are your favorite family-friendly destinations in LR? I fear the day I am forced to endure Chuck E. Cheese (I simply am not on enough medication for that). My kids like to be outside, so we are members of the Little Rock Zoo and go there often. It’s always a different experience. Sometimes we ride the carousel, sometimes the train. Watching the newborn gorilla with her mother this year was fun for all of us. My other favorites are in the River Market. The Game and Fish Nature Center is really cool and the Museum of Discovery is a favorite of the kids. But some of our best outings have been having lunch in the River Market and wandering and playing along the river trails. There is a playground unlike any other you have seen--the splash pad and fountains are great in the heat of the summer, and walking along the paths gets the kids ready for a good nap. Never underestimate the power of a successful naptime!

5. Where do you go for date night? Oh, date night! I fantasize about checking into a hotel, taking an unsupervised bath while my husband watches sports (instead of Disney Junior), ordering pizza and sleeping in. But we try to get out like grown-ups are supposed to. Much to my husband’s surprise, we really love going to The Rep. We don’t go often, but we always leave saying we’ll return sooner next time. Since I mostly exist on Dr. Pepper, grilled cheese and apple slices, I insist on being fed when I flee the house. If cheese dip, salsa and margaritas were healthy, I’d live forever. My favorite is Local Lime. And unlike many other cheese dip serving establishments, I also order a dish there. I eat their ceviche’ and I don’t even like ceviche’! And I haven’t found anything on their taco menu I wouldn’t eat again. For my other birthday dinner this year (what?), I chose Ocean’s at Arthur’s. I have a hard time finding seafood options that appeal to me, but everything on their menu is tempting. They have fantastic sushi, too.