A New Beginning: Happily Ever Ashley

Wowza!!  A few things have changed around here! (except my URL because, well that seems pretty complicated at the moment, so I will get around to that eventually- you know, when I figure it out.)  No, my blog doesn't have multiple personalities!

So why the change?

Well for one, my blog hadn't felt like home in a while.    I know, I know, my blog has seen quite a few outfits over the last year, while I tried to find it's style.

When I started blogging, I called my blog Oh Wells Instead Of What Ifs. I stood for all the reasons I started writing, but it was quite a mouthful.  So as things started picking up and blogging became a part of my life and not just some weird thing I liked to do on occasion, I decided to chop the name in half to make it a little easier.

But, Oh Wells Instead lost its meaning when "of what ifs" didn't follow it.  In fact, it almost sounds a little negative.  Like I was saying "Oh Well" to life.  And in a lot of ways, I did say Oh Well.  And somewhere along the way, the voice that came so easily in the beginning, got harder and harder to find.

The words that changed it all
Then I went to Elevate and got inspired.
Inspired to have an honest, but uplifting place on the internet.
Inspired to tell my story.
Inspired to use my words.
Inspired to leave my imprint on the world, in the only way I know how.
Inspired to create.
Inspired to create the life I want- my happily ever after.

And just like that, a light bulb went on. {Ding!}  Happily Ever Ashley.  So here we are.

I was inspired by Ashley, Kimmie, Erin and Sarah, and one day, I hope I can share my story and pay the inspiration forward.  In the meantime, I hope Happily Ever Ashley is a place where you lovelies can join me in creating a happily ever after that is all your own.

P.S. Thanks for those of you that gave me your design opinions!


Oh Happy Day!

I can't explain it, but sometimes there are days, or in this case nights where my thoughts ache to find their way through my fingertips and onto my computer screen.

Does that ever happen to you?

I could blame it on the two glasses of orange juice I had before bed- hello energy- but really this longing to turn thoughts into words, comes from one of the most inspiring days of my life (well, my blogging life anyway).

On Saturday I attended the Elevate Blog Conference.  Holy Macaroni was it amazing!

Have you ever seen a more beautiful location (Newport Dunes) or such fabulous little details?
 Summer, Jen and Nichole know how to throw a party!

Nat, presented our service project, Sole Hope (check it out!) and we all flexed our crafting muscles! 
Now something you ll need to know is I am not the most outgoing person.  For some reason, I have no problem spilling my guts to computer screen, but saying hello in person requires an internal pep rally.  Introductions get exponentially harder when surrounded by beautiful, stylish, crafty, eloquent and all around amazing women.
You'll see quite a few familiar faces in these photos including my favorite sparkle bunny Chrissy of
Let Me See You Sparkle. Don't ask me why I dubbed her sparkle bunny, things just happen.

Sharing a room with bloglebrities like Sarah, Erin, Kimmie and Ashley was a little intimidating to say the least.  I quickly learned these women struggle, want to quit and question themselves as much as I do, but then seek the joy in life and share their findings with the world- which made me like them all the more.
 Alissa from Rags to Stitches(who's instagram I stole this picture from!) met us for post event drinks!
Also with Lauren of Pink on the Cheek, Kristine of the Foley Fam, Nay from Coffee N Ink,
Sam from The Ellison Family Expansion Plan, April from The Gingerbread Blog
and Rachel from Polka Dots and Lemonade
I learned that like me, many of my fellow blogerettes have learned to bask in our awkwardness and find solace in the tapping of those little black computer keys.  I learned that even though I have found comfort and fluency in so many of their words painted across my computer screen, I found an even stronger kinship in person.

The swag bag and all of it's implied swag
I took away so much more than a tote filled with goodies, I took friendships, genuine connection, great advice, thoughtful words, unparalleled inspiration and an unusual comradeship I have rarely experienced before.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from our speakers:

"Your words are powerful, especially written from the heart...Use your words."
Sarah, Little Penelope Lane

"Love well online and it will love you back."
Erin, Living in Yellow

"Allow yourself to adapt, not only as a blogger, but as a woman."
Kimmie, Sugar and Dots

"That which is most personal is most universal"
Ashley, Little Miss Momma

It may have been my first blog conference, but it certainly won't be my last!  I'll be sure to let you all know when the 2014 conference is announced so you all can have the chance to feel all warm and fuzzy inside too!


What are you afraid of?

Something I have been actively working on is eliminating fear in my life.  I'm not talking about my irrational, debilitating fear of snakes, but instead the fears that have come with age.

For me, one of my biggest fear that has developed over the years is a fear of not being good enough.  It shows itself in a number of ways in all areas of my life.
Health: I self sabotage weight loss because what if I get thin and healthy and things still don't happen like I want them to?
Career: I'm afraid to apply for the big job because I don't want to be let down if I don't get it.  I'm afraid that I won't make enough money for the lifestyle I want to live.
Love: I'm afraid I am unlovable or easily forgettable.  Kirsten Dunst's character says it best in Elisabethtown.  I'm afraid that I will put everything on the line and once again be abandoned to pick up the pieces alone.  When people ask me why I'm not dating I shoot off something about focusing on me and my career.

But really, what's the point?  By believing these things about myself, I am only making them true.  

Seriously, why I am afraid to be physically fit?  What's the worst that could happen?  My self esteem lifted. My comfort in a bathing suit restored. What am I even afraid of?  

And so what if I don't get a big job, but more importantly, what if I do? Financial security will never be a problem as long as I believe in my work.  

The love part is the hardest thing to overcome.  It's not that I am afraid to love someone- I have never had a problem with that.  The fear is really in letting them love me, because what if they don't.  What if they just stop loving me one day. What if their definition of love is different that mine?  Being afraid of heartbreak causes a whole mess of problems and it's not worth it.  Love is truly a magical feeling, so by avoiding it, I am only hurting myself even more.  

I think it is healthy to identify the fears that are built on experience and work on erasing them.  Fears like mine are only holding me back from greatness and I would much rather be great than afraid.

What are you afraid of?


One of my Favs

I've been using this quote for years in cover letters and when I need a reminder about my core values.  Enjoy!


How to...

I'm really reaching with this one since it is past 10 PM and I still haven't come up with something to educate people about.  So I am going to tell you how to make every morning a little happier.

Place fresh flowers next to your bed.  Not only will you wake up to a beautiful fragrance, but the blooms will brighten your morning!  

Check out Trader Joe's for inexpensive seasonal flowers, or create your own bouquet by picking up your choice of fresh cuts.  I did both! Second only to the ocean, my favorite thing about California is the array of fresh flowers.    


Every Day in May

So, I'm joining the challenge.  Mostly because I have really been struggling to keep up with my blog, work and life.  I'm not willing to slack on my life or work, so my sweet little blog has been taking the hit.  The thing is though, I love writing, so it's time I got back to what I love, after all isn't living about filling your days with the people and things you love?  Alright then.

The Story of my Life in 250 Words

To describe myself in one word, I would say that the 27+ years that have lead up to this moment have been filled with overwhelming independence.  For starters, I was born nearly a month late, arriving on my own time.  I grew up an only child dressed in OshKosh, filling my time with imaginary adventures and elaborate games of house that took place in my backyard, climbing over furniture and balancing on the fireplace ledge.  I spent my childhood listening; fascinated by the people and relationships around me.  Soon dance entered and took over my life; a way for a shy girl to express herself outside of the spoken word.  In high school, I left my family for weeks to pursue my independence by way of acting and modeling.  This was the first time I really knew I could take care of myself without the comforts of home.  Next, it was off to college to get a degree in PR and advertising where my passion for understanding the way people interact was expanded.  Then, I was off to chasing adventure and independence once again in London.  The next few years were filled with wonderful peaks and a chasm of lows.  I found my strength and myself when I decided to embark on a new adventure, one that married my passion for communications with my aptitude for autonomy.  These days, I spend my time obsessed with my job, my friends, the simply beauty in life and the pursuit of impeccable taste.

250 words... awww snap!