Someday I Will...

Since I haven't done one of these in while, I thought today would be a perfect day to link up with Taylor!

The Daily Tay

Someday I will figure out what I want to be when I grow up and be awesome at it.  Maybe I will be a wedding planner.  I think I would like making dreams into reality and creating a big day that's uniquely special.  Maybe I will be a director of marketing for some company that resides in a high rise building and stealthily navigate the world of communications.  Or maybe I will be a mom and be the purveyor of delicious meals and homework help.  Maybe I will do all these things, maybe I will do none of them.

Someday I will learn how to ride a bike.  I know I am like 23 years behind on this one.  Who's got a helmet?

Someday I will consistently go to the gym in the mornings and eat breakfast.  What can I say, I'm just not a morning person.  My bed is warm and welcoming and I think it feel genuine disappointment when I leave it-  that's what I tell myself anyway.

Someday I will like to run.  I'm hoping I'll like it so much that I complete a marathon or at the very least a half marathon.

Someday I will own a table big enough to host legit, fancy dinner parties.  Nothing makes me happier that donning an apron and whisking my way around a kitchen.  But nothing makes me more bummed out than people sitting on the floor to enjoy my feast- that's a lie.  Plenty of things make me more bummed out, but you get the idea.

Someday I will have a super swanky home office. It'll be color coordinated, have a board filled with all my big ideas, a cushy chair, great lighting and a glamorous desk. For now laying in my bed with my laptop will have to do.

Someday I will have babies. If I have my way, I'll have two. A boy and a girl, in that order. Oh and I guess someday I will have a really awesome husband too.   Don't be surprised if I dress them in bow ties or tutu's regularly- the kids, not the husband. On that note...

Someday I will have a Corgi named Gatsby and he too will wear a bow tie.  He'll be a dapper little son of a gun!

Someday I will get published and by published I mean people will have to purchase whatever bit of literary awesomeness I've written.

Someday I will find someone that makes my insides feel like gooey chocolate chip cookies just out of the oven- all melty and warm.  He will be the frosting to my cupcake and I will be the cheese to his macaroni.

Someday I will turn this blogging hobby into something.  Something that hopefully matters.  I'm not sure I know what that is yet, but I'm working on it!

Someday I hope all my someday's are beautiful memories of life filled with adventure, joy and laughter. Someday I hope I look back on it all and think to myself, "It was everything I ever wished for and more than I could have imagined".

Link up with your "Someday I Will" post at The Daily Tay!


Sweating Sexy Back: Setting Goals That Don't Rely On A Scale

So I have been thinking a lot about goals lately.  Mostly, I have been disappointed because I haven't been reaching the numbers on the scale I had expected to hit!  I should also mention that the month of October hasn't been particularly successful for me.  It's been easy to miss gym appointments because I have been busy at work and eat something that's more convenient than healthy.  That said, even with my not so consistent fitness and eating this month, I haven't gained any weight back! Which is great news!

I decided to take a different approach.  Yes, the number on the scale still matters to me, but I think it's healthier (at least mentally) for me to focus my attention on goals that I can count on accomplishing.

I made myself a list of fitness goals and I can't wait to check each one off!  The number on the scale will fluctuate from time to time (especially since one day I hope to be pregnant), but no one will be able to take away the fitness goals I have accomplished. Besides, maybe with my focus on these goals, the number on the scale won't be so daunting.

  • Run a 5K
  • Workout 66 days straight
  • Do 5 pull ups in a row
  • Master Crow pose
  • Finish a 10K in under an hour
  • Run a half marathon
  • Do 50 push ups in a row with correct form
  • Hold plank for 2 minutes
  • TRX handstand walk

I'm not changing up my routine.  I am still going to log all the calories I eat and the calories I burn, but I am also going to log how I am doing on these fitness goals starting with working out 66 days straight!

Why 66 days?  Well to be honest, I read an article in Shape Magazine that said that a recent study shows that you need more than 21 days to make something a habit and they suggested 66.  So I figured why not. Don't worry, I am still going to have "rest" days by going on long walks or doing yoga.  It will be a huge feat if I make it through all the holidays without missing a single day of working out.  That's the goal- make it to January 2nd without missing a day!  Day one- done!

I can't wait to check every one of these things off my list!  What are some of your fitness goals?



On Sunday I spent most of my day fighting off the shakes of alcohol withdrawal.  You know the kind.  The, "I can't stand for long periods of time or lift anything heavier than a sheet over my head" kind.  My body was in revolt!  But my spirit was elevated.  Today, I'm suffering from a different type of withdrawal.  I miss my people!

I had one of those weekends.   A weekend that proved we know how to throw a sophisticated kegger.   A weekend that reminded me how important it is to have fun.  A weekend that confirmed, that I know some of the best people in the world. A weekend that made me feel more solidarity with my decisions and oddly enough, a stronger sense of self than I have known in some time.  A weekend filled with more laughter, sidewalk singing, living room dancing and fun than I have ever had.  A weekend that proved to me that sometimes you have to leave something behind to know it's value. It's true,  despite the two day hangover,  I am practically euphoric.  

I told you last week that Tequila Sunrise is a magical time, but it was so much more than just drinking (excessively) with 20 of my favorite people. Strangely, it reminded me how important it is to have balance and that withdrawing is painful but necessary. 

You see,  I have been really focused for the last year.  I have focused almost solely on my career because that was the safe things to do, it was something I could control and feel successful with.   Men had left me shattered, friends had let me down and my family was going through uncharted changes.  All types of relationships had hurt me and it seemed the best thing for me to do was shut it all out for a while.  Some might call it selfish.  Some might call it survival.  I called it necessary.

I needed to figure out how to fix myself without relying on everyone else to be responsible for my happiness. Mostly though, I didn't know who I was anymore and I needed to figure that out without distractions or expectations to live up to. And slowly but surely, the last year has helped me determine who I really am.  

But now, there's a definitely a void.  I miss the relationships.  

I miss my friends.  My hilarious, supportive, fantastic, insightful, crazy, good people friends.  I don't think I have ever fully appreciated how valuable friendships are.  Whether I have known them since elementary school or we had our first real conversation on the patio this weekend, it has become abundantly clear that I am blessed to know some of the most awesome people in the world (my little world at least).  I miss being there for their babies growing up, their boyfriends dumping them or that last minute happy hour.  I miss the inside jokes, the reliving of awkward moments and the heart to hearts.  I miss my friends.

I miss my family.  I miss Sunday morning french toast with my grandfather while we watch Star Wars for the millionth time and trying to keep my grandmother from going on political rants.   I miss my silly brothers and sisters and watching them grow.  I miss opportunities to strengthen my bonds with my family members.  I don't want to miss any of the early years with my siblings or the later years with my grandparents. I miss my family. 

I miss having a guy in my life.  I miss awkward first dates and that rollercoaster feeling in my stomach when I kiss someone.  I miss telling my boyfriend about my day and cooking dinner together.  I miss catching that special someone giving me the look he saves only for me.  I miss staying up all night talking because sleep seems so much less exciting.  I miss taking care of someone in the little ways and noticing the little ways he takes care of me.  I miss having a shot at love.  

I needed time to just be.  Alone. Single. Independent.  But I think I'm ready to start finding work/life balance again. I've got the work part covered, but it's about time I spend more time on the life part.  I miss the fun.  I miss the people.  I miss making memories that make life worth living.  I'm ready for it all; the good and the bad.

Ha,  I bet you never thought a post about Tequila Sunrise would get so deep huh?  Well it did, and I'm not sorry for partying, or sorry for the incredible high I have from spending my weekend with great people in a great place.  Like I said, I am having friend withdrawals now, but the good news is, I am no longer going to stop myself from getting my fix!  


See You On The Other Side Of The Sunrise, The Tequila Sunrise

About this time last year, you may have read this post about a beloved NAU tradition called Tequila Sunrise. Last year, I was pretty bummed to not be joining my fellow alumni for the shenanigans that were about to take place, but not this year.  My bags are packed, my legs are shaved and I am off to Flagstaff for arguably the best weekend of the year!

For those of you that don't know, Tequila Sunrise is a magical weekend in Flagstaff, Arizona where the bars open at 6AM and no matter your age, you become 21 again.  Somehow the disgustingly crowded bar, sticky floors and drink spilling doesn't bother you because everywhere you go you run into a familiar face from your college years.  You trade you taste for fine wine in for cheap mixed drinks and keg stands. Your fear of hangovers vanishes as you shot gun beers, take shot-ski's and drink to your hearts content. Once you've had your fill of the bars or lose your debit card, you hop a ride to the dome where the party continues at tailgating.  Once all the alcohol in the parking lot is consumed, you sneak back for a nap before finishing the evening at the bars. Then Sunday morning comes, and just like Cinderella you've lost a shoe (and probably some of your dignity) and the magic is gone.  But never fear, because Tequila Sunrise will be waiting for your return the following October.

In honor of my 4th Tequila Sunrise, I thought I would share some memories from the past.

In 2008, I had been out of school for a little over a year.  It was so important to attend Tequila Sunrise, that we went to a friends wedding and then drove up the hill to Flagstaff at 4AM.  That is dedication to early morning drinking.

 In 2009, again there was some poorly planned commitment, so we drove up in the morning. I must not have partied that hard this year, because I look pretty sober in these.  Although, I don't remember much about this year... hmm.

In 2011, we did Tequila Sunrise right.  We drove up Friday night and got a hotel.  This was the first and epic year of a little pre-party (yes, we have a pre-party for morning drinking.  Don't judge.  You can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning, right?) we call Kegs and Eggs. This particular year, I wore my party pants!  I must have lost said party pants right before the game though, because as you can see, I thought the middle of a football game, in the stadium, was a good time for a nap.  Clearly my mistake was going to the game.

 So what does 2013 hold?  Only time will tell.  I plan on making this the best Tequila Sunrise yet.  I've been training hydrating for weeks in preparation.  My party pants and my drunk coat are packed and I'll see you on the other side of the Tequila Sunrise!


Hello, I'm Ashley

I was reading my about page today and I realized that it really doesn't say that much about me, so I thought it was time I told you all who I am.  
Without apologies.  
This is me.

At home I almost never wear makeup, and can usually be found in gym clothes or sweatpants (or just a pair of boyshorts) and a tank top. Some girls say they don't leave the house without lip gloss or maybe mascara- not me.  I don't leave the house without filling in scar that chicken pox left me to remember it by, right in the middle of my left eyebrow.  I've always considered my hair my best physical feature, and I put a fair amount of effort into it to make it look effortless.

I love people's stories.  It might be what drew me to this whole blogging thing.  I yearn to tell and be inspired by great stories.  I've always wanted to be a writer, but I could never finish a story.  Telling my own seems to come more naturally.  I don't believe a good story has to have a fairy tale ending, but my favorite ones always find the silver lining.

I'm a sucker for a good love story.  Love, in my opinion is the best thing the world has to offer.  I cry at weddings- every wedding, even the ones in movies or on TV.  I also cry during powerful moments- when a contestant has a breakthrough on the biggest loser,  when Willy jumps his Orca body over Jesse and free's himself back into the Pacific Ocean, Or (most embarrassing) when Beca and the Barton Bella's become one on the stage at nationals.  Yep, I'm that girl.  

I've always had an almost compulsive need to know about health.  If you look at my book collection an astounding number are about diet, exercise and happiness.  It wasn't until recently that my will power and drive caught up with my thirst for health knowledge and I began to use what I've learned for my own benefit.  

I believe in nice sheets, investing in good skincare and hair products and buying generic cleaning supplies.  I believe that a dance party can change the trajectory of any bad day and that every day should begin and end with gratitude.  I believe in actively putting good into the world.

I think one of the hardest things in life is to simply be yourself.  There is so much beauty in authenticity.   The second hardest thing is to be happy.  Happiness isn't guaranteed, it has to be cultivated. And sometimes, shitty things happen.  I believe those things don't define you, it's how you deal with the shitty things that define you.  I also think sometimes things are hard to make you appreciate when they are not.

Sometimes, I snap at people.  Sometimes my patience wears thin, especially when dealing with my grandmother with dementia.  It's not because I am irritated with her, but because I am angry about the declining value and depth of her daily life.  I'm angry that all of the good times are being shadowed by challenging interactions.

Sometimes I'm too forward or too honest.  Sometimes I don't guard my heart.  Sometimes I'm lazy. Sometimes I'm forgetful and sometimes, I find it hard to forget things.  Some other flaws include being born tongue tied, a big red birth mark on the back of my neck, my second toe being slightly longer than my big toe and potential bone spur growing in my wrist- but who really cares about that stuff?

There is nothing extraordinary about me. So why do I do this whole blogging thing?  It's not because I am a narcissist (but maybe I am a little bit, but aren't we all), or because I have an adventurous life or some grand story to tell.  No, it's because I think the ordinary life experiences are are worth sharing.  I think the ordinary is important.

One of my favorite bloggers said,  "Everyone, no matter who they are, has a story to tell. And we have a responsibility to tell that story to the world, because if that story can touch a single person, it is worth telling." 

And I have to say, I agree.

Don't be afraid to share your story, even if it's not extraordinary to you- and if you need somewhere to start, share it with me!  Leave me a comment and tell me who you are!

P.S. this post got me thinking and I am doing a little research. Help me out by answering this anonymous survey question by clicking the link.
Click here to take survey


Sweating Sexy Back: An Update

I know I have been slacking on the SSB posts and posts in general.  I blame being ridiculously busy and not hitting my goal.  You see, I was determined to lose 20 pounds before I posted another picture.  Alas, I'm not quite there yet and I've put these pictures off for 2 weeks already.

I've been Sweating Sexy Back for 10 weeks.  I can feel a major improvement in my stamina for sure.  I feel stronger and healthier. My muscles are looking more defined and every week there is a little less jiggle in my wiggle! This week I even hit another personal milestone and ran 3 miles in under 30 minutes on the elliptical machine.  However, because of my extraordinarily busy schedule and travel, it was easy to falter last week.  I missed some workouts and succumbed to convenient and not always healthy foods.  To make up for it, this week I am going to try to have 3 days of two a days, before I head out of town again.

Alright, let's talk numbers!  So far, (even with last weeks less than stellar effort, ) I have lost 18 pounds and lots of inches.  I can definitely see a difference when I put pictures side by side.  So here is what 18 pounds and almost 29 inches looks like:

8/3                                10/12
You can tell my stomach has gotten flatter, my thighs and calves trimmer and my boobs smaller.  But my favorite part is that my waist is coming back.
8/3                                10/12
 Again, this picture definitely shows a thinner tummy, shapelier tush and trimmer thighs.  Even though they are getting smaller, my boobs seems to be perkier- win!
8/3                                10/12
That delightful roll on my back is getting smaller, while my upper back muscles seem to be getting more defines.  My favorite part of this picture is that my fat is no longer hanging over my bathing suit bottoms.

While I am still not thrilled with the pace at which I am losing weight, the important thing is I am losing it.  I've accomplished something far more important though and that is that I no longer feel like I am "dieting".  I feel like I am just living the life I want.  That life is one where I put my health and well being first!  More than anything I am looking forward to the day that I can announce that I am under 200 pounds again!  By my calculations, I should get there by the end of February (But, of course I'm hoping for sooner!)

I know I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I am looking for some real women to join me in sweating sexy back!  If you've already reached out to me, you'll be hearing from me in the next couple of weeks with all the details!   If you want to be a part of the project and I haven't heard from you yet, email me at sweatingsexyback@gmail.com!

Have a fantastic week loves!


Seven Ingredients For Happiness- According To Me

So I have been doing a lot of thinking lately (and watching a lot of TED talks) about the art of being happy.   In addition to my health goals, I have been on a mission the last few months to actively cultivate happiness and I thought that today, I might share with you my completely unscientific finding about being happy.

1. Practice makes perfect.  What I am about to tell you probably makes me sound like a cuckoo bird, but every day, when I wake up,  I try to write down at least one thing I am grateful for.  Then before bed, I spend 15 minutes clearing my head, calming my spirit and counting my blessings.  It allows me to start and end my day with gratitude- something that can turn even the worst day around.   

2. Own the responsibility for your happiness.  There is nothing in this world that is going to make you happy unless you let it.  A better job, a bigger house, a boyfriend/husband, a raise, losing weight, none of these things will make you happy. Because, things don't make you happy.  You make you happy.  I'm not saying you shouldn't have goals, but you shouldn't assume happiness is the outcome of accomplishment.  Happiness is the outcome of choosing to find fabulous instead of flaw.

3. Practice the 80/20 rule.  At least 80% of the things you say out loud, post on social media, or obsess about should be positive. The more you focus on the good, the less the bad matters.

4. Exercise.  "Exercise gives, you endorphin's. Endorphin's make you happy.  Happy people just don't shoot their husbands."  But seriously, exercise is good for mind, body and soul.

5.  Spend time doing good things.  Volunteer, go to beautiful places, be kind to people, share your talents.  The more good you put out into the world, the more good comes back to you.  They say Karma is a bitch, but I tend to think she's pretty kind.

6. Pet baby animals and make babies laugh.  If that doesn't make you happy, you may have a black heart.

7.  Be authentic.  I say this a lot, but I've found that the easiest way to be happy is to be yourself and love who you are.  Don't try to put on a show.  Don't let yourself be consumed with what other people might think,  just do you- and have a hell of a good time.  

There you have it.  I don't have any scientific data, to back these things up.  I certainly don't have my own TED talk, but I fell like a unofficial and completely unqualified expert on how to go from sad, cranky and self obsessed to genuinely happy.    Try following these rules and let me know how they work for you.  (I'm serious about petting baby animals.)

Do you have any happiness rules?  Share them with me!