Sick of Being Sick

With the blogging apocalypse on the horizon, and my cold coming to an end, I thought today was a good day for friendly reminders.  I will return you to your regularly scheduled blogging next week when the cold that wouldn't quit has long since left my sinuses.

Reminder One:
Join me tomorrow for my new link up, "Friday, I'm in Love" where you can share your Friday Favorites! Not sure what I mean?  Check out my post from last Friday, then come back tomorrow to link up!

Reminder Two:
Everyone keeps telling me GFC and Google Reader are about to kick the bucket.  So if you read my blog regularly or maybe just stop in from time to time,  now is a good time to click the button below.  Follow me on Bloglovin so you don't miss any of the Happily Every Ashley-ness.

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That's all for today! Excuse me while I get back to blowing my nose so hard I sound like a scene out of Jurassic Park.  


Friday I'm In Love

It's time for me to give hosting a link up a try!  So many of us post our favorite things on Friday, I figured why not have a place to link them all so all that awesome can be in one place?  With that I present...

Grab This Button!

I hope you'll link up and share what you are loving this week!!!

Not only is Katie one of my go to blogger for style inspiration, but she is also an Arizona girl.  I am obsessed with how she styled this desert inspired look. The backdrop isn't too shabby either!  
Image via laurenconrad.com

What isn't to love about Lauren Conrad?  Seriously, that girl is the epitome of the style savvy power woman!  Now I don't know about you, but I am always smudging my nail polish.  No matter how hard I try, I can never seem to not have a nail polish catastrophe en route from the salon home... or on budget friendly month said catastrophes while cooking dinner or running errands.  LC to the rescue!  This tutorial is genius!

Images via Taco Asylum and my own

Yesterday I mentioned that I found a gem, and that gems name is Taco Asylum!  Holy Macaroni is that place delicious!  It is certainly not your traditional taco joint with choices like rabbit, roasted duck and BBQ beef tongue, but it is easily my favorite taco place I've found in California!  

I was feeling adventurous, so in addition to "the taco that started it all", the short rib, I had the BBQ beef tongue!  It was amazing! The combination of flavors was divine! 

Plus they have a great selection of craft beers and an awesome happy hour!  ($3 beers and tacos starting at $2.50)  You can bet I will be going back, bringing friends and sampling some of the other fun menu items!

Image via Forbes.com

Loved this article about why women need to negotiate at work.  I gave negotiating a try when I was offered my last job and my salary went up by 5%.  It can really make a difference to smartly fight for what you are worth!

Link up Loves!!

Is Thursday Too Late For A Weekend Recap?

I submit that it is not!  I really had a pretty awesome weekend exploring Southern California and I feel like it is time to relive it with all of you!

Saturday began bright and early with a trip to the Farmers Market.  Is there anything better than endless amounts of free samples of the freshest fruit, veggies, breads, hummus, goat cheese, nuts, and tarts?  I got strawberries that were picked early that morning- delicious, lots of goodies for salad making, my favorite almond hummus,  my favorite seasoned almonds,  delicious Rainier cherries that remind me of summer days spent in Montana, peaches that are making my mouth water just thinking about them and goat cheese that will change your life.

The farmers market I frequent has dozens of stands.  I love being able to support local farmers and feel like I am getting a good price for my fresh produce.
Then I had to go get two new tires for Fiona the Ford Focus... 
She was thrilled. I was not.  

The good news is it gave me a chance to venture over to The Camp, a retail space that combines sophistication with active lifestyle stores, fresh food bistros and an all around "cool" vibe.  It is there I discovered a gem I am going to be sharing with you all tomorrow for my new Friday, I'm in Love Link Up!  (Don't forget to come join me!!)

With a fresh set of tires, I was off down the coast to Del Mar for the San Diego County Fair, where I met up with friends for some beer tasting.  I certainly wouldn't consider myself a beer aficionado, but I was excited to find two new beers to hunt for at the local grocery store.  

The first was not actually a beer but a cider called Crisp Apple by Angry Orchard. I'm a big cider fan and this one is perfect for summer.  Their website also has a list of ways you can use it to mix up your favorite cocktail!  

Then I was standing in line, waiting to try something similar to a Blue Moon, when a random stranger said, "try the Dead Guy".  I was hesitant to break away from my light and fruity beer routine, but something about this strangers conviction told me to take a chance.  It was delicious.  I will be hunting down some Dead Guy immediately... err that sounded weird!

After more beers than I care to recount and our "fair" share of fried food (note to self:  while bacon wrapped fried pickles followed by deep fried cookie dough sounds like a good idea in theory, it is never a good idea) we were off to see Steve Miller Band.  I'm never one to complain about live music and while I didn't know all the songs, I danced like I did.  

Sunday was so beautiful it practically demanded I spent my time outdoors.  Since I'm sure half of California was headed to the beach, my roommates and I headed to the pool.  

I made tomato, onion and red wine soaked beef skewers on the grill and an amazing summer pasta salad (I'll share the recipe next week maybe)!  Then I settled into my lounge chair with my new book!

Here's hoping for another beautiful weekend ahead!  Do you have big plans for this weekend?  


A Labyrinth Of Thoughts

Most of the time when I write a blog post, it is straight from the heart, but every now and then, I write a post that is more of a self reminder than how I am actually feeling at the time.  Monday was one of those days.  I play a game with myself.  I pretend that I am doing better than I am so that maybe I will believe it.

I've always prided myself on being honest.  The only person I lie to is myself and it's for my own good.  But the truth is, I doubt if I made the right decision.  When you care immensely for someone is it ever the right decision to let them walk out of your life?  Its hard to know how life is going to turn out.  Did I do enough?  Was it all my fault?  Am I the problem?  These are the questions that go through my head hourly.  And then comes the scarier question.  Is there someone out there who can love me the way I need to be loved?  Could he have been that person if I had given him another chance? Is it in the cards for me?    95% of the time, I am sure that everything happens for a reason.  I'm sure that there is someone out there that will want to fight the good fight with me. But sometimes doubt, that pesky thief of joy, creeps in.  This is one of those weeks.

I try to keep this blog of mine pretty happy.  I try to focus on the good instead of the not so pleasant.  But today I just wanted to be a little vulnerable.  Today I wanted to acknowledge that I'm not confident sometimes.  Sometimes I doubt myself. Sometimes I try too hard and sometimes I don't try hard enough and usually I don't know the distinction between the two until it's too late.  Sometimes I tell myself lies about how well I'm doing.  Sometimes I make things bigger than they are.  Sometimes I give too many chances and sometimes I don't give enough.  Sometimes I regret not going with my gut.  Sometimes my gut is dead wrong.

Today I am just going to acknowledge that I am in limbo and that that is okay.  I'm going to acknowledge that as important as my friends opinions are to me, sometimes they aren't the right ones for me and sometimes they can see things that I don't.  Today I am going to acknowledge that I don't have all the answers and hell most days I feel like I didn't even study for the test.  The important thing is that I tell myself that all of these things are okay.  Things will work themselves out.  Things will change.  And life, as it tends to do will go on.

How is that for long ramble.  I think I even got lost for a bit.  I promise tomorrow I will share some pretty pictures or at least something a little less... grey.


Announcing Some Friday Fun!

Just a short post today loves!

 Sometimes on Fridays I share some of my favorite things... I thought why not start a link up with it.

So this Friday, join me for Friday, I'm in love!
It's a Friday Favorites style link up!
My hope is that it will be your go to link up for a weekly dose of awesome!

So come on back on Friday, (and hopefully before then) to see some of my favorite things from this week and share some of yours!

That's it for today.  I know, pretty boring today, but my funk is still going strong. I'm hoping for more inspiration tomorrow.


A Trailblazers Funk

I'm in a little bit of a funk today.  One of those watch sad movies to get all the tears out funks.

I let go of a relationship I'd been holding onto.  I gave an ultimatum.  I got the answer or rather nonanswer I expected.  I have some mixed feelings.  A big part of me knows that it was the right thing to do.  Still another part of me wonders when I won't feel so alone.  

For most of my life, I felt like a bit of a trailblazer.  I wasn't afraid to be the first to jump.  I wasn't afraid to take on a new adventure.  I liked leading the charge, it was a role I was comfortable with.  I was the first to travel alone.  I was first to find an internship, a job, a husband.  Then I was first to get divorced.  

Then I stalled.  Everyone around me began to eclipse me. Weddings filled my calendar. Soon baby showers followed.  And stagnant I stayed. 

Don't get me wrong, my life is awesome.  I love my job and the career path I'm on.  I love where I live, the things I get to do and the people that fill my days.  But something is missing.  

I've come to a very important conclusion.  I love my life, but I am ready for more. I am ready to be loved.  I am ready to find someone to build a home and a family with. I am so ready.

But I can't control when love will find me.  So all I can do is remove any roadblocks in my way or take another route.  Someday, the right man will come walking into my life and all the heartache and waiting will all be worth it. Someday.

Until happily ever after, I'll just keep living happily ever Ashley!


Signs of Adulthood

There is a reason I avoid Wal-Mart and it's not for any of the reasons you may think. It's the same reason I avoid certain isles in the grocery store... I don't need that sh*t.  Last week the roommates and took a trip to Wal-Mart for a few things for the new apartment and against my better judgement I brought my wallet inside, convincing myself that all I would buy was a set of nails and picture frame fasteners.  20 minutes and $20 later, I left with my hanging set, a new canvas print for my gallery wall, a huge bag of tortilla chips and the big box of Lucky Charms.

What?  I haven't had cereal, let alone Lucky Charms in years.  But thanks to Wal-Mart and their everyday low prices, for the last week, I find myself with a pot of gold each night before bed.  I can't help myself.  After all, they are magically delicious.

Which always makes me wonder, why not have a box of just the marshmallows.  That is the only reason you buy them anyways.  Cocoa Puffs doesn't waste time mixing in toasted oat cereal!  I silently pat myself on the back for being adult enough to not just pick out the marshmallows and toss the rest.  I see this as a true sign of adulthood.

That gets me thinking about some of the other signs of adulthood.  I mean sure, you are considered an adult by society when you turn 18, but at what age do you actually realize you're an adult? My Lucky Charms moment, was not this first time this year that adulthood slapped me on the back and said, "Welcome to the other side".
I read Time Magazine regularly. Like more regularly than I read Instyle, Cosmo or Elle.  And by read I mean I actually read it cover to cover,  I don't just scan the pages for pretty clothes or read about 101 ways to please your man.  When I am feeling really mature I even grab myself a copy of Entrepreneur or Wired.

Speaking of reading,  I hardly ever read chick lit any more.  Now my free time is spent reading about how to be a successful women in business, communication tactics, personal growth and financial management.  I bought the sequel to the Devil Wears Prada a couple days ago and I haven't even opened it up yet!!  What happened to me!

I look forward to getting up early on Saturday morning to go to the farmers market and then yoga.  I am legitimately excited about it.  Gone are the days that I would sleep in past noon.  And you must be crazy if you think I am going to go out drinking Friday night.  I can't risk a hangover messing up my date with my beloved almond hummus, homemade goat cheese and fresh cherries.

And while we are on the topic of drinking,  I am content with just one glass of wine a night.  If it has been a particularly hard day, I might pour myself a vodka tonic, but just one.  My binge drinking days are over.

Meanwhile, I notice that I haven't had a sugary little marshmallow in a while, so I look down into my Lucky Charms and see this:

I guess old habits die hard.
I'm not as mature as I thought.
And seriously, no one wants to eat just the toasted oats sans rainbow shaped marshmallows... no one! It might as well be a bowl of dry Cheerios.

What silly things make you feel like a grown up?

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What Will You Choose?

Last week she was one of my favorite things and this week she is sharing some of her beautiful soul with you all.  Katie told me once that she felt we were "soul sisters"  a title she said she never used, but I must admit, I agree 100%.  Sometimes her words just brighten my day and sometimes, Katie writes something that speaks directly to me and solves whatever nagging self doubt I was having. Today's post is the latter.  Enjoy!

"It's just hard to know whose advice to listen to, because I don't know what my story is going to be yet."

The words came out of my friend's mouth at dinner one night, and it struck me how familiar they sounded. It was because I'd said them myself, countless times before. It seems like no matter what situation you're in, someone else has been there. This is good, because it means people can understand you. But this is also bad, because it makes it hard to know whose advice to take.

Say you hit a rocky point in a relationship, and you don't know if you should break up or tough it out. One well meaning friend says, "I went through that with my husband. I'm so glad we worked through it." But another friend says, "You can't ignore those early warning signs. You should get out before it gets messier."

So...which is it for you? And me? Or anyone else? How can you know which direction to go if it seems like you can easily find 10 examples of people who did it any which way and say it was "the right thing to do." I'd wondered it all myself a dozen times, but it wasn't until I heard the words come out of someone else's mouth that I realized I knew the answer. I know the answer to what my story is going to be.

Because the thing is, I believe you choose your own love story.

You can't control timing, and you can't control other people's choices. But what you can control, to a large degree, are the circumstances you put yourself in. You can choose the setting and the backdrop and the wardrobe and the supporting actresses. And even when your circumstances seem out of your control, you can always control your reaction to them. You can control your attitude, your emotional health, and when you choose to say yes or no.

Do you dream of your love story being that you meet a handsome fella on the beach? Maybe you should take some trips to the beach. Will you find that special someone as you share love for a common humanitarian cause? Get out there and volunteer. Will you fall for someone you meet on a blind date, on a walk at the park, or at a showing of a local indie film? Well...you know. Go and do.

True, love might sneak up on you and surprise you in the end. I suspect it has something of a mind of its own, when it comes down to it. But you can still choose to go after the life you want, and choose where and who you want to be when love comes along and finds you. And, you can always choose to have an open heart to whatever twists and turns the story takes.

So what will it be? What love story will you choose? (And do you agree or disagree that there is any choosing to it at all?)

By now you must be as obsessed with her as I am, right? Go ahead an follow her blog (which is filled with even more authentic and heartfelt words) HERE.  


There Is A NEW Puppy In This Post

Yeah, I would have clicked too when I saw the word puppy.  Don't worry, I wasn't teasing there is a new puppy in this post, but there is also a weekend recap.  Feel free to look at both.

Wowza!!!  What a weekend.  My stache helped me kick off  an eventful few days! Here's a little recap for you all!
On Friday night, I had a mini fiesta!  I made myself a little salad topped with homemade pico de gallo!  The left over pico was perfect for a little chip dipping!  We also rented Warm Bodies- which I enjoyed.  Something about zombie internal commentary reminds me of talking animals... and you all should know how I feel about talking animals-HILARIOUS!

On Saturday, while I eagerly awaited the arrival of my newest (puppy faced) roommate, I headed to Ikea, for some new apartment inspiration and some Swedish meatballs. Oh Ikea, how I love you.  I especially love the black and white stripped throw I got for just $19.99!!!

Then this little nugget came home!!!  Isn't she precious?  My roommates got a puppy, which means I got a puppy with none of the responsibility!!!  Best. Day. Ever.  I love big dogs, so the fact that they brought home a Great Dane (yes, you read that correctly) doesn't bother me at all.  

On Sunday, I met up with some friends and we took a Duffy boat out in the Balboa Peninsula.  I love to cruise.  Especially when said cruising involves champagne, snacks, good friends and laughter- we brought plenty of all the above.  Well, almost.  We could have used more champagne, but when couldn't you use more champagne?

Then, walking around Balboa Island, I found some pretty flowers. Naturally, per my obsession, I took some pretty pictures.  

All and all, I have to say it was a pretty solid weekend! Linking up with Sami for Weekend Shenanigans!  Go link up, share and meet new friends!

Sami's Shenanigans

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My Favorite Things

I have been overwhelmed by pretty things lately.  Thank goodness for my iron will (read: limited budget).  Here are just a few of my favorite things this week!!

Illustration by Inslee Haynes via La Dolce Vita

It just made me happy.  I saw this on the lovely Paloma's blog and I just love everything about it!

Image via Stephanie Sterjovski, print by SS Print Shop

I adore peonies, so when I saw these pink lovelies atop this gorgeous print, I was instantly in love!  Then I saw the rest of the prints in Stephanie's shop and I couldn't decide which one needed to join the other lovelies on my soon to be gallery wall.

No, I'm not pregnant!!!! But if I were, you can bet that all my favorite people would get something like this.  Julie Ann has some seriously cute and sassy cards for any occasion!!

Have you met Katie?  If the answer was no, scurry your hind parts over to katilda.com.  I met Katie at the Elevate Blog Conference last month.  She has an amazing writing style that makes you feel like you are snuggled up in a hammock on a breezy early spring day with your favorite knit blanket and a fresh cup of hot chocolate with a few marshmallows on top.  Yeah, it's that good!

Well my friends, I hope you enjoyed some of my new favorite things!  Have a beautiful weekend loves!


It's A Beautiful Morning

I believe in starting your day beautifully. 
For me that means having fresh flowers somewhere in the house.  I love to have flowers on my nightstand or a bouquet on the dining room table.  Something about fresh blooms just makes every day better!  This week I've enjoyed my breakfast with a side of peonies.

I'm not going to lie to you, I've been pretty impressed with the fact that I have actually made myself breakfast each morning this week.  Maybe that doesn't sound like a huge accomplishment to you, but I don't generally get up early enough to eat, let alone enjoy my morning.  I have always valued those extra minutes of slumber, but this week I may have taken one more step into adulthood.

It's been lovely taking a few minutes each morning to prepare for the day, enjoy a good breakfast and delight in my pretty pink peonies.  It just might be my new morning ritual.

What helps you start your day off right?


Moving... all forms

Recently, I moved into a new apartment.

It's an interesting thing.
You pack up all your important things, and throw away the stuff you don't need anymore. You take care to pack up the important bits in life.  You wrap the special things in bubble wrap and carefully layer the pieces.  Then the crap that has lost it's use goes into an white trash bag in the corner with the old receipts and scraps from old crafting projects.
A few items require some consideration.
Is it worth hanging on to?
Can you live without it?

That white trash bag stays in the corner until all the important parts of your life are moved out and moved on.  Then, on your final sweep, you grab that garbage bag and drop it in the trash.  Then with little thought or remorse, off you go to your new life, your new place.

It's a lot like life really.
Suddenly life changes.
You are excited for the new adventure, but a little part of you holds on to the past.  Maybe you just aren't ready to let go of something, or maybe in an instance of strength, you know it is time for that bit of baggage to find it's way to the white trash bag in the corner.  When you are ready to move on, you pack up the important pieces, taking care to wrap the important or fragile bits, then get rid of the excess- the things you can move on without.

I've done a lot of moving and moving on in the last five years.
Each time, despite my severe moving anxiety, it get a little easier.  I have a better idea about what is really important and what I can live without. The last five years have taught me what it is really worth keeping around.

It's also taught me how to let go and how to replace.  I replaced my white wicker bedroom set of my youth with a "grown up" bedroom set.  I replaced an imagined future of  happy married life, a new home and babies with a new adventure, a new state and a happy new lease on life.
Don't be afraid of moving or moving on.  It's good for the soul.  Every so often it's important to evaluate if you really need all the stuff you've been hanging on to.  Sometimes, there is joy hiding underneath all that baggage.


A Bunch Of Cobras In The Gym

For years I believed that yoga wasn't my thing. I preferred high impact, high energy workouts, like kickboxing, boot camp classes or circuit training. Then one day, in an effort to regain some of the flexibility lost after years without dance, I found myself rolling out a mat in my first yoga class.  I was prepared to deal with the potential ohm-ing, the gongs, the low impact, the quiet.  To my surprise, by the end of the first hour, I was drenched in sweat, felt intense muscle burn in places I had never felt before and felt completely relaxed and ready to take on the day.
I was hooked.  Fortunately, I found 3 instructors at my gym that I really enjoyed taking classes with.  I set a schedule for myself and for the next six months I went to yoga 3-5 times a week.  I watched as my muscles leaned out and my midsection whittled away.

Not only was I pleased with the physical effects I was seeing,  but I was learning how to calm my mind (which was particularly beneficial because I was going through my divorce), learning how to quiet my spirit and reminded how to give gratitude for the good things in my life.
Then life happened.  I got busy.  I stopped going to yoga regularly.  My instructors left my gym and I didn't love the new ones.  I tried Bikram (hot) yoga and hated it. Time passed and my class attendance got fewer and farther between.  As I often do, I forgot to make my health a priority.

Then I moved to California.  I wanted to get back to yoga and reap the benefits of a consistent yoga practice, so my search for the right instructor began.

Finding the right yoga class is kind of like finding the right church. Just like churches there are several types to choose from.

Catholic, Mormon, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, Gospel...
Bikram, Hatha, Vinyasa, Power, Ashtanga, Iyengar...

Also just like church, you get the most out of it if you truly enjoy the pastor and fellow parishioners or in yoga's case instructor and fellow yogis.

For me, I can't handle too much ohm-ing, or a lot of bells and whistles (incessant gonging).  I also prefer not to be the oldest or youngest in the room.

In the 9 months I have been in California, I haven't been able to find the right instructor...until.  Finally on Sunday I found a class that left me feeling strong, inspired, calm, joyous and eager to go again.
Its so important to find a workout that you enjoy because nothing is harder than getting out of bed to go do something that doesn't make you happy.  I am looking forward to renewing my yoga practice and hopefully I will have some great physical benefits to share over the coming months.

What is your go to workout?  Please share!