Letters from London- Part One: Arrival

With all the Olympic coverage going on and all the shots of London's iconic landmarks, it has made me think a lot about my summer in London.  So why not devote some posts to my time there! 

The summer after graduating from college, I headed off to London to participate in an internship program that allowed me to get job experience and travel abroad.  Basically I paid to go work in  London for the summer.  My program included an internship placement in the industry of my choice- where I worked Monday-Friday, housing, breakfast and dinner each day and weekend excursions.  One of my best friends, Katie, did the program with me and we had the summer of our lives.  While I was there, I sent weekly emails about what I was up to.  Over the next couple weeks, I am going to share some of those emails (because I was hilarious), tons of photos and some reflection on what that summer did for me.I hope you enjoy!
At the airport getting ready to head off to jolly ole London
Ello govner,

Well so far England has been an adventure.  We landed and had an hour wait on the runway while our pilot was trying to get us stairs and buses so we could get off the plane on the middle of the runway.  He told us everything was "in shambles" and things were going so slowly "it was a bit like watching paint dry".  What a way to start my adventure!
This was the hotel we stayed in our first couple nights.  Isn't it pretty?
 At the hotel we got our keys from a small man that sort of reminded me of Egor.  I'm not sure if it was his poor posture or the suit that he was wearing that was about 3 sizes too big that made him look that way.  The elevators which are a rarity in most hotels only held Katie and I and our bags.  As we got off the elevator we were met again by Egor and he had given us the wrong room keys.  He took the keys and headed back downstairs.  When he returned we squeezed back onto the elevators (he waited for the next one) and went one floor lower.  Finally we were there.   
On Sunday night we got dinner at a pub and felt like assholes for not tipping anyone. It's really awkward. And the money system is so confusing. The coins make no sense. In fact some of them are not even cents... there are coins for £1 and £2 and that is just hard to deal with since I never use change at home... anyway, so Sunday night we went to bed and both woke up at like 3 am played go fish and war for a little while and then turned on the TV. BIG MISTAKE. On one of the channels there was people sleeping in a hotel room. It was very Vacancy if you ask me. We kept going back to it to make sure they were still alive and of course wondered if we were on someone else’s TV somewhere else in the building. When we did get back to sleep it wasn't for long.
We got up and went down the street for breakfast. I ordered what seemed like a traditional breakfast. However, it was strange. Half the plate was baked beans, (which I don't like anyway and had always assumed where a barbecue staple as opposed to a breakfast item) Then there were scrambled eggs which were very dry thank god, but it was like less than an eggs worth. There was toast and bacon and hash browns, but all and all it was good. Oh and there were roasted tomatoes, but I let Katie have those since I love them so much- yuck.   
After checking out of our hotel and walked the 4-5 blocks to our new 2 month home, the Arthur Tattersall house. We were among the first people there and some how we really lucked out and have one of the biggest rooms in the place.  All the other rooms in the building are about half the size of this one.  The bathrooms are interesting to say the least.I am not thrilled.The shower is like a room of it's own (there are two) and it has a motion sensor light and well I haven’t been brave enough to try it yet (don't worry I showered yesterday morning at the hotel)The toilets are just kind of gross but whatever. 
This is our flat.  I should have taken more pictures of it because it was much bigger than it looks.  In fact we had impromptu kickboxing classes in it (with 4 people).
Finally it was time for our orientation dinner. There is definitely a mix of people here.  There is one girl who I'm pretty sure takes the cake as the most annoying girl I have ever met. I'm not sure I can really explain her in words except to say that already she is known as "that girl".   At dinner we had a ton of good, foul and interesting food. It was a taste of quite a few things and the only thing that I can confidently tell you I ate was a tuna sandwich and celery. Everything else is a mystery to me but good. (This is clearly a big step for me since you know how picky I am with food). At dinner, I met a girl I am working with. 
After dinner we all went like a heard of cattle into the nearest pub, especially the kids that were under 21. (Also it happens to have some of the best deal I have found so far on drinks.) Literally, at least 20 girls went walking into the pub at once and one of the bartenders said it was about to be the best night of his life.   But it closed at 11pm which is just really strange to me. 

Stay tuned for more letters and pics from London!


How I Bring Home The Bacon

Another link-up today!  Most of us are not full time bloggers (but wouldn't it be great if we were) so today's link up is about what we do for a living.  I am linking up with Lindsey @ The Bargain Blonde for "How I make that money, honey!"

I started college as a dual advertising and journalism major convinced I was going to be a much more laid back version of Anna Wintour.  One semester in, I changed my majors to advertising and public relations with a minor in Fashion Merchandising.  Convinced I would instead be a fashion publicist. Perhaps still working for a magazine.

After graduating in 4 years with a dual degree, I jetted off to London for an internship with an international fashion PR company.  I know it sounds really glamorous, but it wasn't (In fact, I plan to share a bit about Jolly-ole London and my internship later this week!)

I returned to the states to another (paid) internship in the PR department of a large local integrated marketing communications company. 

At the internships close, I was offered an account associate position with a much smaller boutique PR agency.  I took it and within 3 months, I was promoted to account manager because the original manager quit.  It soon became clear why she departed due to unreliable paychecks and company instability.

I needed something more stable with a lot of earning potential. So I took a position with an online education company as a sales person enrollment councilor.  I was actually pretty good at sales, but I hated the environment.  I went from having my own office with a couch and a view to a cubicle that was suffocating.  Plus I didn't feel good about my job.  I wanted to do something that left me with a warm feeling inside, so two and a half years later, I turned to nonprofit.

I applied for a position as a fundraiser for a local chapter of a national nonprofit health organization.  Within hours of applying I was on my first phone interview and a few weeks later, I once again had my own office with a view, a new home for my chandelier and a sequined pillow inviting my office guests.

I work with both events and programs and my job was recently described as nonprofit boot camp.  The hours are long and the expectations are high.  I have been in this position for about a year and a half now and I have found that my strengths lie in online communications, email marketing social media and utilization of online fundraising tools and applications.  It's not that I don't love working with sponsors and companies, but I really love working with individuals and sharing the story of our organization and helping them to do a great job fundraising. 

I might have some changes to make with this post in the next couple days (hint- I am in the final stages for a position managing online fundraising and marketing for another national nonprofit health organization.) Keep your fingers crossed for me!

There still maybe changes in the future.  Maybe I'll go back to school.  Maybe I will be a SAHM someday, who knows.  I'm super excited about the changes the future may bring!

What about you?  How do you bring in the cash money?
Link up with Lindsey!


The Difference Between Impossible and Possible

I know I usually talk about women who inspire, but today I want to talk about a couple who inspires. You may all remember about a two weeks ago when I talked about how seconds can change your life when I told you all about a friend who was in a BMX accident and couldn't feel his legs.  Today I am going to share a bit more of their story.

Meagan and Ryan got engaged last October. I will never forget that day, because Ryan asked me to be a part of it. About a month and a half earlier, I got an email from Ryan, as did all of Meagan's friends and family, asking us to commit to being a part of a flash mob proposal. We had scheduled practices and all avoided Meagan so we wouldn't slip up and say something. Finally proposal day came, and it was awesome. She went to lunch with her mom and sister after lunch the ladies stopped for some ice cream and took a seat on a bench to enjoy the beautiful fall weather. Little did they know were were hiding upstairs watching out the window of Barnes and Noble. When we got the signal, we all snuck around to get into place.

You can see the whole flash mob here

The two share a love of their two dogs, being active and the Arizona Cardinals. They often spend time together hiking with the dogs, going to cross fit or just having fun. Their wedding is planned for February.

Unfortunately two weeks ago Ryan, 31, was in a BMX bike accident while visiting family in Las Vegas. A trip that originally was the least of Meagan's worries due to the nature of his career that took him to lots of scary war torn places. He awoke in the hospital, unable to feel his legs. Meagan and her twin sister Lauren immediately got in the car and made their way to Vegas. Meagan has not left his side since.

Ryan had to have surgery to stabilize his vertebrae. The doctors said there was nothing they could do about the damage to his spinal chord. They told him he would have to get used to life in this new body. But Ryan is not one to give up. You'll notice the big smile on Ryan's face in each of these photos. He dove into physical therapy with a smile and a positive attitude. He is determined to walk again. Although the future is uncertain, Meagan is determined to keep him going.

Meagan works in retail and Ryan is a boom operator for the air force national guard (yeah, I didn't know what the meant either, but it means he refuels other planes in the air- like mid flight). A job that requires trips to scary places and a lot of worry.

They are lucky to have a huge network of support. Family and neighbors rallied to do the demolition work on their current bathroom so construction workers could have it ready for Ryan before he comes home. A sign up has circulated for people who want to make meals for the couple. T-shirts have been ordered to show support and wear upon his arrival home. And countless prayers have been said (even some by my fabulously caring readers). As you can imagine, the bills are stacking up. Medical expenses not covered by insurance and some major renovations to their home to make it wheelchair accessible are the major costs at this point.

To help with these costs, they have partnered with HelpHopeLive, a nonprofit that collects funds for individuals to aid with uncovered medical expenses. If you find yourself touched by Ryan's story, if you have ever know someone or you yourself have had to overcome insurmountable odds, if you are looking for a way to make a difference for someone, I encourage you to click here and make a donation (click "Donate Now" at the top of the page.) Every bit counts, so no donation is too small. If you can't make a donation, I simply ask you continue to keep these two in your prayers.

It means so much to me that you guys read my blog. It means so much to me that I get support every day from my readers. It means so much that you all care. I know how much it has meant to Meagan and Ryan to have you on this journey with them too.

I'd like to leave you with this, it's a quote from the shirt we all bought to support Ryan in his recovery.

If you would like to follow Ryan's Journey, follow it on Facebook here.

Sunday Social

Sunday Social

I just loved this weeks questions so I had to participate.  If you want to join in the fun, answer these questions and link up with Ashley (not me) and Neely!

What is your Dream Job?
That's a tough one, because I have a few dreams. One would be to open my own wedding and events company.  I love weddings, I love event planning and I think I would love making other peoples special day perfect!  Another is an occupational therapist.  I have a thing for helping people and I just know I would love helping people live better with more independence and confidence by conquering daily activities. The third dream job is director of communications, specifically in emerging communication trends (online).  I am fascinated by social media, email messaging and using apps to increase sales.  Oh and and I would love to will be an author (someday).  One thing is for sure, I want to be my own boss eventually. Let's see where life takes me.

If you had just won the lottery and didn't need to work for money, what would you do with your time? 
First I would travel- everywhere while writing a novel.  Then I would buy a home on the beach and open my own wedding and event company.  Then I would spend as much time as I could giving back to the world.  Yep, that's what I would do!

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
In elementary school, I wanted to be a cartoonist.  I even had my own character- Mr. Pickle Man- don't ask.  In Junior High I decided I wanted to be an actress/dancer/model.  I made a pretty good run at it through high school, but promised my family and self I would graduate college and if I still wanted to be a movie star, I could then move to LA.  I didn't.  But sometimes I think about it still. Then in college I wanted to be a magazine writer or work in advertising/PR.  I got a dual bachelors degree in advertising and PR and then worked in public relations for almost 2 years before I decided I needed to do some career exploration.

What piece of career advice would you give someone just starting out in your field? 
Get internships- the more the better.  Remember that you are always marketing yourself and don't ever miss an opportunity to network. Get involved in the field.  Join associations, go to conferences and don't assume your learning is done just because you aren't graded anymore.  Know that you will not have your dream job right away- it takes time.

Biggest pet peeves either in life or in blogging or at work?
Rudeness, slow drivers in the fast lane, double negatives, when I can't hear people on the phone.

Biggest fears?
Snakes, E.T., Water I can't see the bottom of, crazy people in my house.


Friday Letters

Today I’m linking up with Ashley from Adventures of Newlyweds for Friday Letters!

Dear sun burn tan, You look ridiculous. I will fix you this weekend!

Dear Summer Olympics, I am super pumped to see you. It's been a long four years. Sure your sibling Winter Olympics is pretty cool too, but I just love Summer! I will be devoting my TV time for the next 17 days almost exclusively to you!

Dear Life, Please work out the kinks and get yourself figured out.

Dear Boyfriend, Thanks for putting up with my stress induced mood swings. For both our sakes, lets hope things get figured out soon! Did you hear me life? Get yourself together!

Dear Weekend, I hope you can live up to last weekend!

See, it looks pretty awesome huh?

Dear Readers, I need your help deciding what to do with my hair. I get bored every so often. Currently I have long layers with a slight ombre. What do you think I should do?
Hair options
 1-Go with a more intense ombre. 2-More layers and put my extensions back in 3-Blunt layers. 4- A bob. 5- A choppy shorter cut.  Decisions, decisions.

Dear Friday, I am so glad you are here!

Have a great weekend loves!

All By Myself- It's Okay

Yes, you can cue the Celine Dion music. 

I am on a road trip for work and I'm all by myself staying in hotels in the middle of nowhere.  It's not that fun.  Don't get me wrong, sometimes I like eating along or seeing a movie by myself.  Being comfortable by yourself, especially out in public, isn't always easy, but I feel like I have got it mastered being an only child and all.  Unfortunately this trip is mostly me in a car with limited human interaction.  And I am bored.

Okay, enough of my whining.  Let's get to It's Okay Thursday with Neely and Amber.  This is the BIG one year anniversary of this link up and they are doing a giveaway, so link up if you haven't already!
Its Ok Thursdays
It's okay...
To miss my boyfriend and my puppy-face after less than 24 hours.
To feel like my cherry red Impala rental car is just begging for a speeding ticket
To be a little obsessive with the speed limit because I got a speeding ticket on this exact same trip last year.  Opps!
To wish I was still in California.
To be a total stress case until I get some answers.
To be thinking about what I could eat for dinner right after I finish my lunch.
To be overly excited about my hair appointment Saturday.  It's been too long!
To feel a little blah today.  It's probably just the 110+ heat!


Christmas In July

When I found this little Blog Swap, how could I not participate?  Who doesn't like getting gifts in July, for no reason?  So I signed up expecting to get some silly little thing to enjoy.  Our hosts matched us up and I may be a little partial, but I am pretty sure I got the best blog swap partner ever! Laura from Under The Suburban Sun is wonderful and not only did I get a blog swap partner that it appears may know me better than I know myself, but I added her blog to my weekly reads!  Oh, and if you want to check out what I sent Laura, go to her blog to see her sweet post!)

Check out this swag!

I mean did I get an awesome box of goodies or what?!

Laura must have done her homework because she sent me things that are just soooo me! 
The flower hair clips came in handy at the beach this weekend and I already rocked the blingy ring at work! The calming hair treatment is awesome because the last couple weeks I have been a total stress ball.  I love the scent of the lotion- It smells like a tropical vacation.  The nail polish she chose is a perfect summer color.  With all the craziness of the past week I haven't had a chance to get my nails done, but you can bet that polish will be joining me at the salon very soon!  Have I mentioned how much I love the beach before- oh yeah, maybe a few times.  She sent me Ocean Breeze candles.  Not only do I adore them, but my the boyfriend says they smell like home (he's from San Diego) and keeps lighting them when I am not around.

Not that I don't love everything, but this is my favorite part of the package.  Parisian stationary!  You open the beautiful box and there is this quote:
"Dream your dreams with open eyes and make them come true"-T.S. Lewis

Isn't that perfect?  I am so torn between using them or just looking at them forever.  Don't you hate that, when you get something awesome, but it's so awesome you don't want to use it?

Whose hosting the next blogger swap, I'm addicted!


Quote of the Week

Hey ya'll quick little side note: I am looking to do a BIG giveaway for my birthday.  (I think goody bags are highly underrated!  So why not give one of my lovely followers a sweet gift bag just for reading)  I have been compiling a bundle of things to include and now I need your help.  I figure I should share the birthday love right!  If you are interested in adding to the Ashley's birthday Swag Bag, please email me at ashley.ohwellsinsteadofwhatifs@gmail.com.  I'll feature you in the post and everything!  Okay, now back to the main event.

I have been slacking on these.  Found this one on Pinterest.  Loved it. Had to share it.

I feel like so often in life we beg for happiness, when all we really need to do is be grateful for what we have.  I have seen that demonstrated so much over the last couple weeks it has inspired me to take a closer look at everyday and as they say in Dead Poet Society, "suck the marrow out of life".  No matter the things you come up against, if you can look at your life and find the good, you can't help but be happier.

Be happy today!


Really Quick...

Hi!!!  I just wanted to post really quickly because I am in San Diego for the weekend and we have quite a lot on our itinerary.  (See my Instagram for a sneak peak of my day at the races in Del Mar and fabulous dinner at Finch's in La Jolla.  Review to come!)

Anyway, my lovely friends Jane and Lola asked me to do a guest post on a beauty product I loved.  I picked one that combined my love for the beach and great hair!  Check it out here!

Have a great weekend loves!


Taking a Leap

First, I want to say hello to all you lovelies coming over from Story of my Life! Don’t you just la-la-love Jenni? I sure do! SOML is one of the first blogs I started reading and I don’t miss a post. Her pictures, her love story, her candidness, all so inspiring. Anywho, I’m so glad you came over to visit me! I’m newer to blogging, but I try to keep things interesting around here. I am obsessed with social media and communications, being inspired, Diet Pepsi, glitter, the beach, and life in general. I write about inspiring women, life experiences, my idiot moments, and pretty much whatever is going on in my head. Alright, lets get into it.

My favorite part of each dance class was when we would practice things across the floor. Specifically leaps. I loved them! I loved that I could get so high in the air. I loved that my legs were so long, I could make it all the way across the room in less leaps than the other girls. I loved the way it looked. And I loved the way it felt. There was something so freeing about flying through the air, making it across the floor with my feet only touching for second. I loved feeling so weightless.  I was fearless in those moments flying through the air.  It felt as though I was born with springs on my feet and wings on my back. I was fearless. I was free. I followed my heart and didn’t worry about how things would work out. I knew I would land on solid ground and that I would get to my destination (which at that point was only the other side of the room).

That same mentality stayed with me for years. I took on adventure like I still had springs and wings. Then I became an adult and something changed. I don’t know if it was the hard life lessons, the bills or the loss of confidence in myself, but something made me lose that fearlessness. After all, it was all those leaps across the dance floor that ruined my knees.

These days, the word leap doesn’t feel the same somehow. There is more fear there. At this point in my life, someone says leap and I think about changes and about risks. However, it still eludes to a level of freedom. Freedom that in many ways I am a little afraid of. I have grown to appreciate the monotony of the repetition in my daily life. It’s safe. It’s quiet. But ultimately, it’s boring.

For too long I have stayed away from both leaps and freedom. I think it’s about time to take a jump. The only problem is I’m a little afraid that my wings have forgotten how to fly. There are a lot of variables. There are a lot of risks. But it might just be time to leap again. Worst case scenario I can always build new wings on the way down.


Cool Things and Crushes

The coolest thing happened today. I woke up this morning and my number of followers was the same as my number of posts!!! I thought I would never see the day!!!!  Well, I thought it was really cool.

You know another reason today is awesome? I'm not at work! I took a nice little 4 day weekend because the boyfriend and I are headed to Del Mar for the races this weekend. Last year I won like $130 on a $6 bet. It was awesome, so I have high hopes for this year!

Whenever I think of the horse races, I think of My Fair Lady and the Ascot Races. For one, I have serious hat envy... and dress envy... and song and dance envy. (Why oh why hasn't everyone around me ever broken out into song and dance! Wouldn't life be so much better if it were a musical?) Plus, during the races all I want to do is yell "Move your bloomin' ass" at the top of my lungs with a lovely British accent. I try really hard not to let it escape my lips, but if it does this year, I won't be mad about it.

Actually, one time life did break out into song and dance in the form of a flash mob proposal to my friend Meagan. I mentioned Meagan's now fiance, Ryan, in my post a couple days ago. He's the one that was in the accident They are getting married in February. If you guys could keep sending them some love, I would greatly appreciate it. They have a lot of adapting to do. In the meantime, check out the most adorable proposal ever. Ryan asked all of Meagan's friends and family to be involved. People flew in from across the country, learned the dance via YouTube, met to practice and finally hid inside Barnes and Nobel waiting to perform. Ryan even got a local radio station to cover it! I was thrilled to be a part of it! (shes sitting on the bench with her mom and sister.)

Aren't they the greatest?  

That gets me to my current crushes: Hats!
These are a few I have had my eye on. 1. The Panama Hat 2. The Fedora, a favorite 3. The Cloche 4. The worn cowboygirl hat

I love hats, I love to wear them and it is especially fun to make them. I made some additions to one for the races this weekend, but when I was little I was in a musical theater group and we were performing a bit of My Fair lady. My grandma helped me make an elaborate pink and white hat out of a pizza box! I still have it. It was the most beautiful pizza box I had ever seen. I think that is when the crush started and it's never really gone away. Here are a few of my hat wearing moments.
My fedoras, channeling Newsies, last year at the races, and Halloween, just another excuse to wear a hat!
I can't wait to show you all the one I made for the races! Are there any hats you love?

 Anywho, I have to get to packing. I have a busy San Diego weekend ahead and a very small bag to pack, so naturally I am having some anxiety.


Blogging, My Thoughts

I have always been a writer, if only for myself (and the sneaky parent reading my diary- yes I am still a little bitter).  I have stacks of notebooks and journals filled with my words.  Thoughts that are funny to look back on.  Thoughts that bring back wonderful memories.  I suppose that is half of what initially drew me to blogging- the burning desire to write.

The other half has to do with my obsession with learning about people.  I watch reality TV so I can see what people do and think that aren't like me.  I was instantly obsessed with Facebook, even before you could post pictures.  I get up early just to read dozens of blogs. (You should know, I am not a person that gets up early for anything.  To go to the gym before work? No! To make breakfast? Nope. To look presentable at work? If I'm lucky.)  I love learning about people!

It was back in March that I really decided that I wanted to be a "blogger".  Before that I posted stuff but, it was really only for myself.  So I made the switch to Blogger.com, transferred previous posts and started sharing my life with the world.  I started linking to Facebook to let my circle of influence know more about me than my status updates.  I shared it with family.  I shared it with all of you.

Boy am I glad I did!

I love that I get support from strangers.  I love that those strangers become friends. I love that some of my "real life" friends and I have become closer.  I love that I feel so connected to other women on so many levels.  There is a wonderful feeling that comes with knowing that random people find you interesting and want to know more about you, care enough to read your thoughts, encourage you, are inspired by you and even pray for you.  Blogging has made me feel so much more connected to my world and even more engaged in my own life. 

You may have noticed, the title here is Oh Wells Instead Of What Ifs.  I picked that because I had been living in a world of "what ifs" for too long.  I wanted to be inspired everyday and act on those inspirations.  I wanted to inspire others to live life to the fullest.  I wanted to live my own to the fullest.  I wanted to connect with new people.  Blogging let me do all of those things. Since starting this project, I haven't even had to say "Oh Well".

Chances are, if you are reading this, you are already a blogger. If not and you have been thinking about becoming one, I encourage you to give it a try.  It will open up your life to so many new things! I don't have a million and one followers, I don't get 200,000 hits a day, and I have only been really dedicated to this whole blogging thing for like 4 months.  But my readers are super-awesome.  And my comments, brighten my day. And my life is forever changed. 

As always, thanks for reading! 


Only Seconds

Today, I had planned to write about my weekend and my Del Mar races project, but something else has been on my mind, so I want to share. Warning, things might get a little deep- life jacket suggested.
Everything about your life can change in a second.  One single second. That second can be the difference between life and death.  It can be the difference between success and failure.  It can change your entire world.  I have been reminded of the frailty of life a lot lately.

About a month ago, the boyfriend called from the emergency room.  He had been jumped and had significant head injuries. The doctor did an CAT Scan to make sure there was no brain bleeding. I was scared sitting there alone in the emergency room while he got the CAT Scan, and I prayed that this situation would be one that changed us, but for only the better. It did.  Luckily everything turned out okay.  I still worry with every headache and every forgetful moment, that something might still be wrong.   I have a much deeper appreciation for every moment we are together. 

A couple weeks ago, a childhood friends husband was in a quading accident in the mountains.  He was air-lifted to a local hospital with severe head injuries. She was terrified, but asked friends and family for prayers. Those prayers were answered. Her husband is recovering quickly and everything is going to be okay.

Last night, I got word that a dear friend's fiance was in a BMX bike accident and when he woke up in the hospital, he couldn't feel his legs.  He is awaiting vertebrae surgery, but the doctors are not making any promises.  She asked friends and family for prayers, positive thoughts, good juju or anything you might believe in to be said for her broken fiance.  We are still waiting.  (Sorry if you feel like Debbie Downer and I are one in the same. )

I feel it's at this point I should mention, I am not super religious.  I do have a relationship with God. I live my life in a way I think agrees with His core teachings, but I don't regularly attend church.  Most of the time, I just have mental conversations with God, like you might have with a close aunt or uncle.  I tell Him what's been going on, ask for some wisdom, even argue about the hard stuff.  Sometimes I get mad, sometimes I don't understand, but I always try to listen.  It's in these quiet moments that I am reaffirmed that everything happens for a reason, even if that reason isn't clear to me. I am also reaffirmed, that prayer is powerful.  Even if your form of prayer is a causal conversation.

"Hey God, it's Ashley.  How's it going?  Me? Well, things are pretty good!  I am really happy with my life right now! Thanks for helping me work all that shit out. Opps, sorry God, please excuse my french!  So, I have to ask you a little favor.  You see it's not for me, it's for a couple friends of mine.  They could really use your help getting through this tough situation.  They are in the middle of a total shit-storm.  Whoops... well, you know what I mean.  Anyway, if you could just give them some strength, positive energy and vision to see them through all this shi.... I mean... tough stuff, I would really appreciate it.  Thanks!  Talk to you soon!"

Taking a turn too sharp.

Being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

A bit of gravel in the road.

If I have learned anything from the past few weeks, it is that life is fragile and that every second counts.  Don't waste any of those precious seconds on unnecessary shit... I mean crap. 

Love with your whole heart.
Be kind to people and never take them for granted.
Enjoy the little things as much as the big things.
Enjoy every day you are alive.  It sure beats the alternative.

Every second is a gift, spend it wisely. 


Let's Get Social

Sunday Social

I'm linking up with Neely and Ashley for Sunday Social!

1. What is the best trip you've ever been on?
Hmmmmm, I have had a lot of good trips, but I would have to say my two and  half month trip to England was the Best.  I grew so much in those two months, while working and living in London, bouncing around England and spending a weekend in Paris.
2. What is your best idea for a girls weekend trip?
I am dying to do a girls cruise to Mexico.  Besties, booze and the ocean-it just sounds like the best trip ever!
3. What is your best idea for a couples trip?
A trip through the Mediterranean.  Greece, Italy, Turkey and maybe Spain.  It just sounds romantic and wonderful!
4. What is the best vacation on the cheap?
For me, driving to San Diego or Newport Beach (about six hours) and staying with family or friends.  I love spending my weekends at the beach!
5. What is the place you most want to visit?
I go back and forth, I really want to go to Greece, Italy, Costa Rica and Brazil
6. What are your vacation necessities?
A stylish pair of walking shoes- I'm a sightseer and explorer, vacuum seal bags-you can fit so much more in your bags and I have packing anxiety, A hat of some kind, miniature versions of all my favorite products, My IPhone and usually a camera, extra room in my suitcase- I love mementos of my trips.
Happy Sunday!


My Many Faces and Anthro

Hello to everyone that Neely sent over from A Complete Waste Of Makeup!  I'm so glad to have you here! Sometimes I feel like Neely and I were meant to be besties because she literally takes the words out of my mouth... or...err...the words out of my tapping fingers? You know what I mean!

This week I have been really telling the world a lot about myself.  Take a look here, here, and here, to learn a bit more about what my world is like! I also really love to write about Women who Inspire, click here to read about some of my picks and the picks of other bloggers! 

Anywho, I am really excited to be hosting a giveaway for a $30 gift card to Anthropologie!  Who doesn't love Anthro?  Who can use some help affording Anthro?  Well you lucky ducks, I am here to help!  (If you haven't entered, scurry over to A Complete Waste Of Makeup)So I got to thinking about what I would want to buy if I was the lucky winner.
Okay, so you can't really get much for $30 dollars at Anthropologie, but here is what I might put my $30 towards:
1. Juliana Patent Pumps- I love these because they remind me of tap shoes.  I would totally rock these babies now and back in the days of tap-tap-tapping away to "Animal Crackers In My Soup"!-$288
2. Akebono Halter Dress-This cut flatters every body type and it's perfect for summer.  Plus, the halter straps are removeable, so it's also a strapless dress. $158
3.Swirled Gem Shades- So cute! -$38
4. Twinkling Cogs Earrings- I love statement earring.  Especially ones that twinkle!-$38
5. Impressionist Apron- Part of what I love about this is that it looks like a dress.  I love to host dinner parties, so put this over your LBD and you have a fabulous dress to cook and entertain in! I love to give these stylish aprons as part of a wedding gift with baking necessities-$38
6. Damia Strapless Chemise- A great go to dress and totally on trend with the whole "mullet dress" thing going on right now.  Business in the back and party in the front! A great deal at $78
7.Sailing Lace Skirt- Just gorgeous.  Wouldn't this go with everything?-$128
8.Fiammetta Holders- Cuteness in the kitchen! -$14 each
9. Striped Spinnaker Blazer- I love this so much it will probably be mine sometime in the near future!  -$98

Thanks again for stopping by today! I am so excited to meet you all!  Leave me a comment so we can get to know one another!


Spreading More Love

Who doesn’t like an award huh? First let me thank Jeni at Two Shades Of Lovely for nominating me!  She has a fabulous blog and an adorable shop!  Check her out!

What is this Liebster Award?

"The Liebster award is given to upcoming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome."- Adrian (Adrian Loves Owls)

The Rules:

- Each person must post 11 things about themselves.

- Answer the questions that the tagger set for you PLUS create 11 questions for the people you've tagged to answer.

- Choose 11 people and link them in your post.

- Go to their page and tell them.

*No tag backs!*

11 Things About Me

1. I am an only child, but I have 4 half siblings ages 3-13.

2. I am allergic to peanuts and bee stings. I carry and Epi-pen

3. I was once in a Christian rock music video. No you haven't seen it and I won't tell you where to find it.

4. I was a rock climbing instructor during college.

5. I spent a summer living and working in London as an intern for a fashion PR company.

6. I currently work for a nonprofit health organization.

7. I hung a chandelier in my office to make it feel more like home.

8. I drive a brigth blue ford focus hatchback named Fiona.

9. I love hosting parties and wrapping gifts.

10. If get-away driving didn't involve leaving the scene of a crime, I would totally do it. I always envied Fast and the Furious.

11. I hate making decisions about what to eat. It's a lot of pressure.

Questions From Jeni
1. If you could vacation anywhere, where would be it?

I am dying to go to Greece. I go to my favorite Greek restaurant almost every week for lunch just to look at the pictures- well, that and the food is faboo!

2. What is one of your family traditions?

My family doesn't have many traditions. When I was little we would line the street with luminaries to make a runway for Santa. I always liked that.

3. What was the best concert you've ever been to?

I'm almost embarrassed to say this, but when I was in London, my friend got free tickets to the Justin Timberlake concert. I was excited, but I am no super-fan. The show was AMAZEING!!! He sang, he dance, he played the guitar, the drums and the piano. I was so impressed!

4. What skill do you wish to learn?

I would like to learn how to do website coding. I just don't get it, and if I knew what I was doing, it would make my life easier!

5. What is (or who) can always cheer you up?

The boyfriend can cheer me up, but so can a good rom-com or a chocolate dipped cone from Dairy Queen!

6. How did you meet your best friend?

We met in dance class in 7th grade but didn't become best friends until about a year later when we started went to the same high school. BFFs for life!

7. When did you start your blog, and why?

I actually started blogging a couple years ago, but I couldn't commit. This blog started back in November as a way to keep myself inspired and get out my need to write and share.

8. What is one goal that you want to achieve by the end of 2012?

Oh man, just one goal?! I want to have aced my first semester back in school. I graduated with a dual bachelors degree back in 2007, but I am headed back this fall for some prerequisites to go in a completely new direction for my masters degree.

9. If you could go back and tell the high school you one thing, what would it be?

I was pretty shy until I broke out of my shell in college. I would say, "Hey, who cares if they judge you! Be yourself and get to know people!"

10. Backstreet Boys or Nsync?

If I have to chose, Nsync. I was not a big boy band girl. Can I choose Pink?

11. What are you most proud of?

I would have to say, that I am most proud of who I am today, the things I have overcome and the person it has made me.

Questions for my nominees

1. Tell me about your favorite place?

2. Who inspires you most?

3. If you could be any celebrities significant other, who would it be?

4. What does your perfect day include?

5. What is something you have always wanted to see?

6. What is your dream job?

7. Flip flops or high heels?

8. Where do you go for your favorite pizza?

9. What superpower would you want if you could choose?

10. What TV show do you just have to watch every week?

11. What is the most bizarre food you have ever eaten?

And finally, here are my nominees!

1. Courtney at Courtney Cakes

2. Becca at Love Always

4. Samantha at Dysfunctional Ever After

8. Valeri at SubURBAN Living

10. Jenn at Party Of One

11. Anne at Hell on Heels

If you aren’t already reading these blogs, check them out!  They are all fantastic!

Thoughts on a Thursday

Today I am linking up with the fabulous Neely at A Complete Waste of Makeup, like I often do on Thursdays and Anna at Everything Nice, for the insta-grid party.  (There are a lot of fun link ups on Thursdays kids.  It is so hard for me to choose just one, then I do multiple posts and bombard you with all my thoughts, so to save us all a little time, I am postponing my already delayed women who inspire post until next week and just writing this one.  Drawn out, unnecessary explanation? Absolutely.)

And away we go...

It's okay to...
Be a bit of a narcissist.  Isn't that kind of the cornerstone of our generation? Reality TV, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (which you can totally link to if you want- ha); we like to share and we love to know about everyone and everything.  We post pictures of our face ( but I was having an awesome hair day, so it only felt right to capture it. )

Be pretty annoyed with Viacom for ruining your going to bed TV routine. 
Love watching basketball.  Even women's basketball.  By the way, WNBA games are great for way more than basketball.  You can people watch, sit fourth row, dance on the court during timeouts, get on the jumbotron, eat free food and maybe even get free tickets. (okay, so that was my experience.)  It was awesome.
That rainy days make the day so much better. (It's Arizona, we don't have many)

Pack all your food for the week on Sunday so you have a better chance at eating healthy all week long. 

Be proud of yourself for big and small accomplishments (like finishing your laundry before it is time to do laundry again.)

Love you precious pup even though she jumps in your bed with muddy paws, eats your dinner off the counter and causes you other moments of stress and terror.  She's still my little angel.

Completely change your life plan to something you know will excite and challenge you.

To get invited to a Suns event, and only go for the free glasses of wine, the meatballs and the chance to sit 2nd row during an interview with Alvin Gentry.  Oh yeah and we got to go out on the court and shoot around.  Most people took that as an opportunity to shoot hoops, we took it as an opportunity for a photo shoot.  Not the same? Just as awesome!

Dress up like an idiot at for work to try to win a spirit contest.  We totally won by the way. 

Love blogging more and more every day because it such a great way to connect with people and find new ways to challenge and inspire yourself. 

Happy Thursday!


If You Really Knew Me...

First, welcome to any of the new kids that came over from Life of Bon!  In elementary school I was the girl that always showed the new kids around.  Where to find the restroom, the best parts of the playground, the nurses office, library, you know, all the essentials.   Old habits die hard.  Here you will find my Bucket List as well as a 30 before 30 list.  Then of course there I gave you a quick run down of who I am here. I post a lot about silly things I do, inspiring women and other fun things! You can follow me in lots of ways over there on the right too!

Second, I wanted to thank all you wonderful people that stopped by yesterday. I had to work up some nerve to click publish on that one, but boy oh boy am I glad I did. We've all got some messy bits and I love the support the blogging world gives to one another. Thank you all for your lovely comments.

Today I was going to write about an inspiring woman, but I just didn't have the time to do all the fact checking and information collecting I usually like to do.  I'll probably post it a day late (like always).  Instead, I decided to share some more things about me that you probably didn't know.  I guess I am just into sharing this week. 

Jenni at Story Of My Life, copied her friend Kristen with this post, so I am doing the same.  Imitation is the greatest form of flattery right?

If you really knew me...

+ You'd know snakes completely disable me.  I curl into a little ball at the sight of one and typically end up crying.

+ On a similar note, you would know I hate E.T. The movie has always creeped me out and don't get me started on the ride!  I had a total panic attack.  No phoning home for me.

+You'd know I was born tongue tied.  Basically that means my tongue was attached to the bottom of my mouth with extra tissue making it hard for me to talk correctly , but more importantly I couldn't stick my tongue out at people.  It was corrected when I was 4.

+You'd know I love to listen to people's stomach's gurgle.  I think it's hilarious.  Last night, the boyfriends stomach was upset, and I told him I spoke fluent stomach and could probably determine the problem.  After a few seconds of intent listening I said, "Oh stomach, you are too funny."  The boyfriend now thinks I am a lunatic.

+ I think talking animals are the funniest thing in the world.  When Baxter is barking with subtitles in Anchorman, I die, I absolutely die.  Those pictures of animals with their thought make me giggle for hours on end.

+ I get up early enough in the morning to shower, dry off and lay back in bed for at least 20 minutes.  I love the feeling of my sheets after a shower. 

+ You'd know that if there is music on, I am probably wiggling some part of my body.  Usually it is my feet or the ever sexy neck bob.  Sometimes, I am choreographing a whole dance in my head and you might catch a glimpse of a somewhat spastic movement that just escaped my brain all the way to my body. 

+ You'd know I can sleep anywhere in the middle of the day.  I just have to put my mind to it.  At night, it's a different story.

+ You'd know the sound of the ocean instantly calms me down.  I am so at peace when I can hear the constant repetition of waves.

+ I get distracted easily.  I make a lot of to do lists to keep me on track.  (Just since starting this post, I have been distracted multiple times.  Like 8.

Happy Wednesday to everyone!  Because I like any excuse to celebrate, here is one hell of reason to celebrate today.

It's 7/11 which means free Slurpee day!  Stop by your nearest 7-11 for a cool drink!


The Part I Left Out...

Hi, I'm Ashley. I wholeheartedly believe that a soundtrack can make or break a movie.  I am a die hard suns fan.  I am a social media addict.  I think women are amazing and love to share how they inspire me.  I love fashion although I am most comfortable in a t-shirt, worn in jeans and flip flops. I am a sucker for a good rom-com. I'm a little obsessed with my awesome siblings.  I live for bright colors and things that sparkle.  I love to dance and travel (not usually at the same time, so I don't know why I combined them in one sentence).  I think using parenthesis is like telling you a secret.  I dream big.

These are all things I have mentioned before, but there is a part of me that I have been hesitant to share.  For one, I read every day about the beautiful love stories of my fellow bloggers.  I see their perfect marriages grow stronger with each pixel.  I envy their sheer perfection. I am hesitant to share because of the people that know me personally that read my blog and also the people that don't know me at all.  I waiver because its not always easy for me to put all the emotions into words.  But somehow, today, for whatever reason, I have to tell it.  This little tidbit will forever define me in a way nothing else ever has, but will in no way determine my future.  This single adjective has forever changed me, but in more ways than one made me more myself. Strap on your seat belts kids, this might get a little bumpy.

I got divorced when I was 24. 

I know all the things you are considering right now, because they are the same thoughts everyone has when I say those words. 
"Did she rush into marriage?"
"You were too young to get married!"
"Was s/he a cheater?"
"I bet s/he didn't value marriage the way I do" 
"Does she hate men now?"
"Who got the ring?"
"That will never happen to us."
"Is this going to be some rant about not getting married to young or that men are evil spawns of Satan?"

The truth is, I met a boy my freshman year in college.  I fell in love with him and gave him everything I could give.  2.5 years later about a month into our senior year, he broke my heart by saying, "I'm just not in love with you anymore."  He couldn't give me much more of an explanation.  Ever the hopeless romantic, I was not convinced.  I gave it time.  I made it seem like I was doing fine.  I only cried on my tear-stained futon and in the shadows of friends dorm rooms.  Within a month, he was begging me back.  He said letting me go was the biggest mistake he had ever made and he wanted to spend the rest of his life making it up to me.  I was no fool.  I had seen all the movies and read all  the fairytales.  Ever love story needs a little challenge, and this was ours.  This was my love story.  I took him back and we were stronger than ever. 

Fast forward.  A year after graduating from college, (and if you are doing your math you know that is a little over 4 years into our relationship) I found myself in a room filled with red roses in front of a man down on one knee.  Of course I said yes.  Planning turned into execution and in 6 months time, I was his Mrs.  My life was exactly the way I had planned.  Soon we were house hunting for a place big enough to start a family.

Just a few days after our one year anniversary (and about two and a half years after our breakup).  Words I never expected to feel the pain from again hit me like a ton of bricks. "I'm not in love with you anymore".  What?  Were we not living in the same world?  I thought everything was on track. We were closing on a house.  I hosted dinner parties. I bought aprons and table linens.  What?  Ashton, am I getting punked?

For the first few hours, I approached the news with surprising calm.  I said we would work through it.  I said we could get the spark back (but it still hadn't set in that his world wasn't shining like mine). Slowly the gravity of his words and what he really meant from them began to set in.  I spent three days in bed.  Nothing could have pulled me out from under the weight of those words.  There were more tears than I can venture to count.  I threw a framed wedding photo.  I begged.  I pleaded.  I melted into a puddle on the floor.  I lost myself is pure sadness.

We separated just before Christmas, a holiday season that is hard to remember now even though it was only a few years ago.  Couples therapy was useless.  He had made up his mind and nothing I or a therapist could say was going to change it.  Three months later, we filed for divorce.  I was alone. I was lost somewhere in the shell of a person I no longer knew.  I had gotten so use to playing the role of wife. I didn't know how to just be me.  It hasn't been an easy road back.  I have realized lately, that there are other women out there that are going through the same things, and I share my story not for sympathy, but to let them know, you are not alone.

In the end, I don't think I rushed into marriage.  I was ready.  I can't speak for him though. 

I don't think age matters when both people believe in marriage in the same way and understand it is something you have to work at to make strong.  I can't say we ever talked about what marriage really ment to us as a couple.  I assumed we both were committed to forever. I will say I was too young to deal with being divorced.  I had no one to relate to and I felt horribly alone. I was the only one who was divorced in what felt like a sea of women planning thier weddings.

I never cheated.  Again, I can't speak for him, but I try to believe he is a better person than that. 

I didn't believe in divorce and I am fairly ashamed to say I judged those that settled for divorce instead of fought for their marriage.  I don't feel I settled.  I fought with everything I had left.  It wasn't enough. 

I don't hate men or love.  I love love, and I especially love the man in my life and the plans we have for the future.  

I sold the ring. It lost any value it ever had to me.

And sincerely, with all my heart, down to the depths of my soul, I hope it doesn't ever happen to you. 

But, if it does, I can say this.  You will learn the power of your own strength and perseverance.  You will hurt like you have never hurt before.  You will find out who your true friends are. You will find out if you are being true to yourself.  You will learn to trust your gut.  You will learn to forgive both him (eventually) and hopefully yourself too.  You will make some mistakes and not always handle things with grace. You will love again, no matter how unlikely that seems.  You will eventually count yourself lucky to have the chance to fall in love all over again. 

I had a really hard time finding anyone who really understood what I was going through.  Divorce is definitely one of those things, that you can't relate to unless you have gone through it.  It is like your worst break up, times a million. with a side of financial mess and social agony... squared.  But if there is anyone out there that is just looking for someone to "get it",  I am always willing to listen. 

I don't know why I was finally ready to share all of that, but if you made it this far, thank you for sticking with me.  (If you are new here, I am usually more fun than this... promise.  See here and here and especially here!)

You can unbuckle your seat belts now.  My ride isn't over, but I am fairly certain that I can handle any bumps that might come along in my future.