Beauty in the Breakdown

Obviously I don't come around here often.  I don't know if it is because of lack of time or lack of interest.  Not that I am not interested in writing, or the other bloggers that I have built relationships with, but interest in sharing myself with the world.  For a long time this blog was a way for me to feel understood and feel connected, a way for me to air out my thoughts and get feedback.  Since moving back to Arizona, I either haven't needed that or I have decided to be more guarded.  Part of me feels like, as a business owner, it is my duty to be more of a brand than an individual.  Then again, so many of the brands I am a supporter of stem from a connection to it's owners.  In a lot of ways though, I have become more hesitant to share my inner musings with the world in this space.

But today, I had to write.

Maybe it's because for the first time in my life, I was laid off.  I can't say I am unemployed, because for whatever reason, intuition inspired me to pick up a seasonal job, that I happen to love.  And of course, I still have Your Jubilee.  Somehow, despite all that, part of me feels defeated and a little bit like a failure.  I hate failing.  But who really likes it?

Maybe it's because I am the only single girl left in the world- my world at least.  I am so happy for all my friends who have found great partners.  Their happiness makes me believe that its still out there for me, but also makes me wonder how I will possibly find it.  I'm convinced that traditional dating only really happens to a select few.  After multiple attempts, I'm equally convinced that online dating isn't my thing. I'm not even sure if I want to be in a relationship right now- but maybe that is because it isn't really an option?

Maybe it's because I am teetering at the edge of my emotional threshold.  My grandmothers mental faculties are getting worse by the day.  All my plans for my life hang in the balance thanks to an unsure financial future.  And trying to stay positive about it all is just plain exhausting.

Then there is this whole pressure to be in a certain place in life by the time I'm thirty.   I feel like I have been running at my goals full speed for the last year, only to look down to find I am on a treadmill. In so many ways it feels like I am starting all over from scratch.

Living at home (for good reason, but if I don't find a new job, it will be out of necessity)

Hunting for a salaried job with health benefits.


It's as if I just graduated from college all over again, except instead just coming off of an amazing summer in London, I am coming off of months of career burnout.  All I want to do is escape. I want to give a hearty embrace to a bit of irresponsibility and take off for a trip around the world, leaving my bills to sort themselves out upon my return.

But irresponsibility has never been in my nature.  I can't ignore my bills, my commitments or the fact that I haven't, in my mind, earned the right to be frivolous.

I suppose all I can really do is rely on faith.  Faith that the universe has something great in store for me.  Faith that in all this breakdown, beauty will sprout.  Faith that everything, even this series of setbacks, happen for a reason.  Faith that if I just continue to approach life from a place of love, love will one day fill my life again.


Oh... Hey!

Yes, I am still alive and kicking.  I can't believe it had been over two months since I have written anything here.  In truth, there have been a number of times when I have longed to just sit down and write, but unfortunately time has not allowed.  In fact, it really isn't allowing now, but I just had an overwhelming need to write and get back to this place.

So, hey!  What's up everybody?  Does anyone even come here anymore?  Well here are a few updates on me, in case you are wondering!

My wedding and events planning business, Your Jubilee, is going well.  In fact, you guys should totally check out our website (because that's where I spend most of my blogging time these days).  We have lots of info for brides to be on trends and tips!  Plus we do some really fun projects, like a gorgeous bohemian romance photo shoot!  Meanwhile, my day job is kicking my ass with long hours and heavy work loads.

One of my favorite shots from our bohemian shoot!

I'm still working on sweating sexy back!  I'm still pretty obsessed with Fit Republic, but have recently started to get really into spin!  I also started working with a nutritionist. I even forced some of my friends to work out with me on my birthday! I still have about 30 pounds to shed before I start training for my first sprint triathlon.  I've started looking into bikes, and tri coaches, because I suck at running, never learned how to ride a bike and I feel like I have the potential to drown when I am in a large body of water.  All that said, I still want to do it.  I am hoping to begin training in the new year.  Are any of you guys into triathlons?  If so, let me know your tips!
Birthday burpies at the gym!

I went to Vegas with some of my favorite people in the whole world.  We had an awesome weekend zip lining across the Rio, lounging by the pool, seeing the Britney Spears concert and drinking way too much!

Vegas for Britney

And I am dating.  It's true!  I have actually been dating a bit.  Of course by that I mean I have gone a handful of first dates and a pinch of second dates, but it's a start.  Throw in lots of events, long work hours and a few Netflix binges and that about sums up the last couple months of my life!  I'm hoping to make this a more regular thing, but just in case that doesn't happen, I leave you with this thought:


Oh Hey Stranger

I figure it's time I post my monthly (not on purpose) post.  I always have these grand plans to post more regularly, but then life happens, and boy oh boy has it been happening.  Since my last post, Meagan and I did our first bridal show, which brought lots of new brides for the year ahead and we couldn't be more excited!  I started a new nutrition plan, thanks to Tone It Up and I am finally seeing pounds really melt off.  Nutrition isn't the only thing at play! I joined a new new gym called Fit Republic, and let me tell you, I am an obsessed "citizen"!  Let me give you the run down on all these awesome new updates real quick!

The bridal show was insane.  In just under 6 hours, we got to meet with hundreds of the 3000 brides in attendance.  It was both exhausting and fantastic!  Things are really starting to take off for our little baby business Your Jubilee.  We couldn't be more proud of the work that has gone into making our business grow with integrity.  Seriously, I don't know if I have ever been more proud of a professional achievement and we are just getting started!

A few friends and I went in together on the Tone It Up nutrition plan and I am pumped about my results just 4 weeks in.  I love the variety of food and recipes the plan offers!  I didn't know that Brussel Sprouts (Ill be posting my favorite brussel sprouts and shrimp recipe soon) are quite possibly the most delicious vegetable in the world!  Plus the Tone It Up community definitely keeps me motivated.  I definitely feel like this has been a lifestyle change and a little over a week ago, the perfect gym opened to compliment all my work in the kitchen.

You might call me a little obsessed with Fit Republic, but when you combine some of the best fitness coaches/instructors in their fields with a state of the art, gorgeous facility, it's hard not to drink the kool-aid!  Basically Fit Republic has taken all of your favorite boutique gyms (Hot Yoga, Regular Yoga, Spin, Crossfit, and Body weight training (including HIIT, TRX, Barre and Boxing) and put them all in one place.  I swear to you I have never sweat so much in 10 days in my life.  I always leave class feeling empowered, motivated and pumped for my next class.  Plus their smoothies are craveable and the locker room is luxurious.  I love the little community that is building around this place and I can't wait to see how the gym grows and how I shrink!

So that's just a snapshot of my life over the last month.  Here's a few more snapshots to boot!


Adventures in Online Dating

Hello, my name is Ashley and I am an online dater.  Yes, it's true.  Why online you ask?  Well, I don't go out much and when I go out, it's usually to spend time with my friends.  I work two full time jobs- hence I don't go out much.  But even with my sometimes hectic schedule, I feel like I am ready to be in a relationship again.  I'm pretty much always attached to a computer or my phone, so online just seemed like the way to go.  Besides, you can only peruse the beer isle at the grocery store so many times on Friday after work.

This isn't my first online dating rodeo.  About 4 years ago, in an effort to learn how to date after 7 years with the same guy,  I decided to create a profile on plenty of fish.  I had the opportunity to go on some of the worst dates of my life, but it was definitely amusing.  I went out with a guy that magically transformed from a witty doctorate student into a whiny and spiteful child after I beat him in a friendly game of miniature golf.  I had sushi with a kind eyed man that told me all about the time his last girlfriend got charged with attempted murder after she tried to shoot him.  I met a Canadian that told me he was looking to marry a nice girl because he was illegally in the country selling flameless candles.  A very sweet guy took me to a fancy restaurant and had the chef prepare a custom 7-course meal for us- it was our first date and we ran out of things to talk about after course three. I met a few other guys, that were nice, but there was no chemistry and then finally, I met a guy that became my boyfriend, which lasted about 18 months.

A couple months ago, I decided to give online dating another shot.  This time, I decided to step up my game and actually pay for a membership to Match.com as well as post a profile on plenty of fish and to round out the trio, I'm on Tinder (mostly just to pass the time when I can't sleep.  There is something so entertaining about swiping left or right.).  Everyone says tinder and plenty of fish is where you go to find someone to sleep with and match is where you go to find a relationship. Well, so far, I can't say I am overly impressed with any of the sites.

During this, my second attempt at online dating, I have only actually gone out with one guy whom I met on POF.  This one guy spent 45 minutes telling me ghost stories after asking "So how do you feel about ghost stories", to which I answered, "uh, I'm pretty indifferent".  I guess I should have said I wasn't into them?

So why only one guy in the last few months?  Well,I guess it's because I find myself saying no a lot.  No, I don't want to send you "naughty pictures".  No, I don't want you to send me a picture of your penis or anything else that's phallic. No, I am not going to come hang out and drink a bottle or two of wine at your place- that's not a first date, that's an episode of Law and Order: SVU.  No, I don't want to hook up, especially after you just spent the last two hours slut shaming a mutual "friend".  No, I don't want to tell you my bra size or send you a picture of my cleavage. No, I'm not interested in supporting you and giving up my desire to have children because you don't want them.  These are all things I have actually had to say to men.

To be honest, they whole thing is leaving me pretty disappointed.  Disappointed in my apparent dating options.  Disappointed in the women that have encouraged this mentality. And disappointed, that apparently all I am in this online "dating" world is a set of boobs with a vagina attached.

What happened to asking a girl what she likes to do for fun (outside of the bedroom), or even what she does for a living.  What happened to being interested in people, not just sex.  I know there are a lot of people that have success with online dating (and hey for 18 months, I was one of them), but I am dying to know their secret.  What am I doing wrong?  Why are my modest but cute pictures and (what I think is a) witty profile only attracting this type of man?  Or have all the good men given up on online dating and if so, where did they go?  Someone please point me in that direction.

Well, since I already paid for 6 months on Match, I am going to continue to sift through an endless stream of shirtless bathroom pics and photos of guys posing with a tiger (seriously, where have all these tigers come from?) and stick it out for a while longer.  If nothing else it will give me more material to write about and maybe if I'm really lucky, it will bring me someone that is actually looking for a meaningful relationship.  Fingers crossed!

Have you tried online dating?  What has your experience been?  Please share it with me!


30 Before Thirty: Revisited

Exactly 2 years ago today (thanks Timehop app), I made a list of 30 things I wanted to do before 30.  At the time I had 1200 days to mark all these things off my list.  As of today, I have 464 days.

After reading through this list (that I have barely looked at since creating ), I have realized a couple things.  First, 27 year old Ashley was a bit delusional about money still.  It would have cost me thousands of dollars to complete all the things on this list.  Oh 27 year old Ashley, you are cute!  Second, some of the things on this list, I really have no desire to do or just aren't a priority.  Third, the really important things are ready to be crossed off.

With Just 464 days to go, I am reevaluating some items and replacing some things.  Her'es a look.
  1. Go skydiving-Nope not even remotely interested in this one now.  It's not that I don't want to do it, it's just not something I feel like I have to do before 30.  I'll do it someday and that's enough for me.
    Replacement: Buy a nice couch- Is that weird?  I just want to invest in a nice couch that I really love (along with furnishing my next place with lots of pretty things) 
  2. Vacation in Italy - Nope!  Actually Italy isn't even at the top of my list anymore.  Again, I know I will make it there someday, just not before 30.
    Replacement: Visit somewhere I have never been.
  3. Learn to golf- I haven't done this yet, but I would still like to, so Golfing, you get to stay.  
  4. Buy a home- I'm keeping this on the list, but I don't think I will actually be able to buy a home until I am thirty.  Who knows, maybe life will surprise me!
  5. Begin graduate school- I don't know if I want my Masters degree anymore, and I don't know where I would have time to fit it in.
    Replacement: Continue my education through classes and workshops.
  6. Get paid to blog. Check! So what if it was only a few times?
  7. Get a DSLR camera- Still hoping I get one.  I do us my grandparents, but I would like a fancy one of my own.  
  8. Road trip across the U.S.-staying on the list. 
  9. Pay off all credit card debt- If everything stays on track, this will happen in approximately 6 months!  Hooray!
  10. Reach 500 followers on my blog-Check, and a name change too!

  11. Host a Favorite Things party- No, just no.  While I'd like to give away nice things to people, I can't afford that.
    Replacement: Donate my time and extra things to people less fortunate.   
  12. Have season tickets to a professional sports team- While it would be cool to be a "regular at a sporting venue, I'll settle for something a little easier.
    Replacement: See my first live NFL game- it's true, I've never been!
  13. Go on a cruise- planning to go in January!
  14. Go scuba diving- There is certification that has to happen. That sounds time consuming. 
    Replacement: Go snorkeling
  15. Take a winery tour of Napa Valley- I am amending this on to just take a winery tour.
  16. Move to a new state- (and then move back)

  17. Lose 50 lbs.- 20 down... about 65 more to go.
  18. Run a 1/2 marathon-I just don't think i like running enough to ever run 13.1 miles.  
    Replacement: Complete a sprint triathlon-
    I could totally run a 5K swim a half mile and (learn how to) ride a bike 12 miles
  19. Learn to paddle board- Why I didn't try this while I was living in CA I will never know.  I did go on a few kayaking adventures though!
  20. Learn how to ride a bikewhich will be of paramount importance for the triathlon- see above.  
  21. Get a dog- I need a companion.
  22. Do an Urban race- They look so fun!
  23. Go on a hot air balloon ride- Um, I think I envisioned this as something romantic I would do, but since I am currently single, I would rather...
    Replacement: Go see Britney in Vegas in August with my besties!
  24. Start my own business- Boom!

  25. Go white water rafting- Again, I want to do this, but I won't be upset if it doesn't happen before 30.
    Replacement: Spend a day at my favorite spot in Payson.
     I haven't gone in 4 years.  It;s time I make a return!
  26. Learn another language- I had originally intended for this to be Spanish or French, but 've been learning web codeing and I think that counts.  
  27. Live near the beach- Been there, done that!
  28. Make something old new again- Probably some furniture for the new place.  
  29. Write a book- I have started probably 20 different books over the last 15 years, but none have ever gotten finished. I really want to finish one and submit it for publishing.
  30. Hike the Grand Canyon- This just doesn't sound that appealing anymore.
    Replacement: Go camping.  I've never really been camping.  I like the idea of it, but I have never done it.  
Well, it took me two years to cross of 6 things, only 24 to go in the next 15 months!  Eeekk!  I gotta go, I have things to cross off my list!


Focus On What's Holding You Together

It's usually after a particularly bad day, or in this case a series of bad days, that I take a step back and do some evaluating.  You see, the last few days have just not gone my way and I've turned into my alter-ego Bitchy McWhinesalot.  I hear myself complaining and, as much as I hate it, I can't stop- the word vomit just keeps coming.  It's usually about this time when I can tell I am annoying everyone around me, and especially myself, that I get in my car- in this case, my rental car (yep, my car is in the shop)- and go for a drive.

Usually this drive includes a little crying, a lot of singing, and one fast food meal that ends with a side of self loathing. Upon completion of this abstract journey to inner peace, I give myself a metaphorical slap in the face and decide it's time for a change.

When I was in California, I figured out something really important- how to hold myself together.  I learned that by focusing on the things that make me feel strong and accomplished, I can overcome any bad day.  I learned that making my health a priority was an easy fix for a lot of my problems.  However, since moving back to Arizona, I stopped giving myself time.  I pretty much stopped making working out a priority.  I stopped seeing Sunday morning movies.  I stopped meditating at night.  I stopped going to yoga regularly. I stopped exploring my relationship with God.  I just, let everything else take over my life and then stood there wondering why I was feeling so disconnected and frustrated.

But today, over McDonald's fries that I shame ate in my car, I decided it was time for Bitchy McWhinesalot to get packing. Just like that, I threw away the remaining fries and I went to the gym.  I ran through a side cramp that was undoubtedly caused by the greasy little monsters that I had consumed.  I put on calming music and I meditated for 10 minutes and then I sat down here to write.

Well that's not exactly true,  before I started typing, I was distracted, like I often am, by Facebook.  But wouldn't you know it, one of my friends was sharing just the words I needed to read!

Susan has always been an inspiring friend and athlete (I mean look at those abs!), but today her words were everything I needed and I couldn't help but share. Hope you don't mind Sus!

"At the end of the day, you can focus on what's tearing you apart or you can focus on what's holding you together.  

Something I've really had to train myself on is this. I've always been the peace maker, the one that wants everyone and everything to be happy ALL the time! But let's face it- that's impossible... and every time I try to change the whole wide world in one day, I have to remind myself of this: Just focus on your core, on what's holding you together- your dreams, your passions, your morals, your values, your faith, your family, the people that support you 100% and want to see you succeed as bad as you do... Focus on that ❤️ Because if it's not holding you together, then it will tear you apart- one way or another."

Susie has more pearls of wisdom to share on her Instagram and you can follow her at @suswaters

When things are hard, it's not always easy to focus on the good.  Lord knows I have certainly had my ups and downs.  But the ball is always in my court.  I can choose how I attack a day and this life. I can choose whether I place my focus on the things that hold me together or the things that tear me apart.  

Today, I choose the good.  Today I choose to focus on my dreams instead of my fears, my passions instead of my heartbreaks, my faith instead of my uncertainty and the people in my life instead of the people that have chosen to leave it. 

Goodbye Bitchy McWhinesalot, you aren't welcome here anymore!


Hard Makes Us Human

I try to keep this little blog of mine happy whenever I can, but sometimes this place gets a little gritty.  Sometimes, like today, I struggle with which parts of my life I should share.  A big reason that I have been avoiding this place is because there is a big part of my life that I wouldn't call happy.

I've mentioned it before, my grandmother has Alzheimer's.  And it's hard.

It's hard for my grandmother.
Its hard for her to not be able to express herself the way she once did.
It's hard for her to control her emotions.
It's hard for her to cope with the frustration that comes with the challenges of the every day.

It's hard for my grandfather.  
It's hard for him to understand her.
It's hard for him to keep his patience when she is having a terrible day.
It's hard for him to manage both of their lives.

It's hard for my family.
It's hard to be around her on bad days.
It's hard to recognize her even on the good days.
It's hard to see who she's become.

It's hard for me.
It's hard to have things to say, but know she won't understand.
It's hard to take the unintentional outbursts.
It's hard for me to find the patience that love requires.

Some nights it's hard to sleep.  Some days it's hard to concentrate.  Sometimes I worry I am going to snap.  Sometimes, its easy to pretend everything is fine and forget that life used to be different.  Sometimes, I cry.

I try to remind myself that we all face hardships.  There are so many people that have to cope with disease.  And this isn't even my disease. I know someday this "hardship" will turn into a loss and that helps me to appreciate the good time I have with her and forgive the bad.  Some bad is easier to let go of than the rest.

Its so easy to get bogged down by the negative, the unanswered questions, the fears and the mistakes.  I think the silver lining to all this is that I have a greater appreciation for all the wonderful things that are going on in my life right now.

I feel so lucky to have incredibly supportive friends- most of which, if you had asked me 5 years ago who my support team would be, they wouldn't have been on the list.  Life has a wonderful way of surprising you like that- bringing you the people you need at the times you need them most.  Relationships with family members that once felt strained have developed into a strong bond. Also, I feel confident that I am where I am suppose to be.

I think it's okay for things to be hard.  I think hard makes us stronger.  I think hard makes us more vulnerable.  I think hard makes us human.


Life Lately: New Business Launch and Local Love

So I've been neglecting this blog lately for a couple of reasons, and I thought I would share those reasons with you all today!

1. We launched our business!!

Yes, Your Jubilee has finally launched! My business partner, Meagan, and I have been diving head first into all the responsibility that come with running a business.  Check out our brand new website, our services and our celebrations blog at www.yourjubilee.com! You can also find us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter!  

To get the website up we wanted some great photography, so Chrissy from Let Me See You Sparkle, quite possibly one of my favorite people in the whole world, did an amazing job!  Here are a few of my favorite shots! We'll be posting more of our tablescapes on the Your Jubilee website soon!

Want to see behind the scenes of this photo shoot?  Check out Chrissy's post here. We also used some fabulous banners from The Banner Shoppe (not seen above) and delicious Buntlets and Buntinit's from Nothing Bundt Cakes!

2. I've been seriously enjoying being back in Arizona and getting to know the local scene again.  I swear we didn't have nearly as many awesome locally owned shops and restaurants when I left!  Or maybe we did and my time in California made me appreciate the sense of community that comes with buying local and supporting small businesses.  Well, since I enjoy "local love" so much, I decided to make it a new feature here on the blog. If you know of an awesome AZ restaurant or shop I should check out, let me know! You'll be able to find my AZ Local posts whenever you see this:

Anyway, that's just a little taste of what I have been up to!  Have an exceptional day!



It's something I have always struggled with. I try to be everything to everyone.  I juggle until there are so many balls in the air that the only thing to do throw them all really hard and hope I have enough time to sit down for minute.

I took some time this weekend to work on my balance.  Working a full time job, plus launching a company, plus catering to a person with Alzheimer, plus maintaining a social life, plus trying to stick to a fitness routine, plus breathing, is a lot to take on all at once. We all juggle a lot in this life. This weekend I needed a "me" break.

I didn't read my emails.  I didn't worry about the work piling up.  I didn't pack my days full of activities (even though I complained a time or two of boredom).

Instead, I:
I spent a whole day in bed.  Bed days are the best days!
I downloaded some new music and spent time mentally decorating my next apartment.
I worked out a plan for my week that made time for workouts and socializing.
I stayed at the gym for 90 minutes and wasn't worried about the time. I felt great afterwards.
I washed my car (that's twice in the last two weeks- Probably a personal record).
I read a book for leisure.
I cooked dinner for my family.
I enjoyed the sunshine.
I wrote this blog post.
I relaxed.

I did a little soul searching and realized that I need to work on being confident in who I am and what I do at the same time- usually it's one or the other.  I need to get organized because if life goes the way I hope it will, things are only going to get busier.  I think the key to all this is balance.  If I can work more balance into every day, maybe I won't feel like I need to shut down every now and then.  I think if I can learn to balance the "me" things with the rest of my life, the days won't seem so hurried.

The truth is, my life is pretty incredible right now.  I am blessed to be doing work I love. Blessed to be able to give back to my family in a time of need.  Blessed to have an incredible group of women to call friends and a family whose bonds are growing stronger, despite challenges.  I keep getting that little tingling feeling that tells me I am right where I am suppose to be doing exactly what I am suppose to be doing.

So on this Tuesday, I challenge you to be balanced.  Don't work your day away entirely for other people.  Take a little time to celebrate glorious you.  Go to the gym, read a book or take a bubble bath while being serenaded by your favorite singer.  Don't get so overwhelmed with all the incredible things you have going for you that you mistake blessings for burdens.

Cheers to you!  Happy Tuesday!


Shine On And A BIG Announcment

Last Friday, my friend Meagan and I had the pleasure of attending the Shine Headquarters open house here in Phoenix.  You guys know the super adorable Ashley from The Shine Project right?  

If you know The Shine Project, then  you probably know of (and if you're like me, own a lot of)  Threads. Threads is a cause driven business that changes the future of at risk youth.  By employing them, paying them fair wages and even providing scholarships these students are able to go to college.  Many of Threads employees are first generation college students with dream of becoming nurses, broadcasters, writers and engineers.  

We got to meet some of these students first hand.  I'd be lying if I said it didn't make me a little emotional... but then again, what doesn't.

After two years The Shine Project and Threads, grew into it's own space and what an adorable space it is!  The walls are filled with inspiring words, some written by the HQ's visitors and they even have a Polaroid wall that we now adorn!

Like I may have mentioned, I am totally obsessed with Threads, so walking in the door was like walking into accessory heaven.  My shopping euphoria was heightened when the staff offered to extend the chains in my new purchases to fit my extra large wrists!  Hooray!  

There were so many pretty things, it was hard to choose just one... so we didn't.  We ended up with quite a haul of gorgeous jewelry and even some super cute tee's!

It was a really fun way to spend a girls night, get new accesorries and support a business and cause we believe in!  If you are in the Phoenix Area, the Shine Headquarters are open to the public on Thursdays and Fridays, otherwise, check out all their goodies in the online Threads store.   Don't forget to follow Ashley on Instagram to see if she is headed to an event near you!


Since Meagan and I are working to start our own company, it was so inspiring to meet and connect with Ashley and see all the great things she is doing first hand! 

Speaking of... I'm starting a weddings and event company, Your Jubilee!!  I'm so excited that excited doesn't even seem like a good enough word!  Our website isn't live yet, but you can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter for updates and info!  We have some seriously awesome stuff coming down the pipeline that you won't want to miss!


It Hurts So Good

I have something to admit.
I am a recovering addict.  What's my drug of choice? Love.

Never has this strange obsession been so perfectly explained as it was in this article.  I happened across it a while ago on my Facebook feed an it really resonated with me.

Like the author, I can only confidently say I have fallen in love once.  That's not to say I haven't loved others, but it was different.  I loved as much as I was capable of, but my either inexperienced or recovering heart gave what it was comfortable giving.

For me, dreaming of finding my prince charming started as soon as I understood fairy tales.  I eagerly awaited my 16 birthday when I would be allowed to date, and even managed to get that timeline pushed up 9 months thanks to a little thing called winter formal.  I dabbled in infatuation in high school and I was certainly "in like" with a lot of people, but I didn't ever feel deep, all consuming, fantastic, heartbreaking, life altering love until college.  Falling in love pushes your heart out of it's comfort zone and sometimes, it feels like you jumped right of a cliff.  But I guess that's why they call it falling.

I didn't fall right away, in fact, I can't pinpoint exactly when it happened, but sometime within those first 6 months, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I had met the man I would someday marry.  Being away from him during the summers felt like absolute torture.  We just seemed to work better together.  He helped me be the best version of myself and knew exactly how to deal with the worst version (particularly late night drunken temper tantrums about going to Denny's).  We were good at giving each other space and then making our time together count.  He seemed to understand me and take care of me in a way no one ever had before.  It was easy, until it wasn't.

Still sometimes I wonder if my memories are jaded.  Was our relationship more complicated than my recollection allows?  Do I only remember the good parts?  While I was in it, did I settle?  Was it just easy because we didn't have the passion to fight with each other? Was that just a version of love, the tip of the proverbial iceberg? I go back and forth on these questions.

Part of me hopes it was just a taste of what true love feels like because I want to believe it can be even better.  Part of me hopes it was the truest love there is for fear of the pain that could come with something more powerful.

Today, a little more than 10 years since our relationship began and 4 years since it's demise, I can confidently say that I am glad I look back on our story as beautiful.

Not all fairy tales have a happy ending, but I think it's time that story is put up on the shelf.  Somewhere I can see it and know it is there,but no longer sitting out.  It's time I let a new fairy tale come my way or at least a good romantic comedy!


Only Know You Love Her When You Let Her Go

That line has really stuck with me over the last week.  When I left Arizona, I was done with her.  Done with her dirt.  Done with her dry heat.  Done with her memories.  I wanted a fresh start.  I wanted trees and grass over cactus and rock.  I wanted the ocean to wash away my past and the salty sea to heal my invisible wounds.

In a lot of ways I was right.  I needed to go have my own adventure.  I needed time to figure out who I was going to be without the influence of anyone else, good or bad.  I needed to test my limits and to just be quiet for a while.  I needed a blank slate.

But the problem with a blank slate is that it takes so long to fill back up again.  And soon I realized that while my new relationships and surroundings were doing me a lot of good, that old slate was filled with a lot a value too.  Value that was irreplaceable.  

As time passed, I began to see the dirt as a majestic painted desert.  Sunrises and sunsets that I never appreciated had me in awe.  And my life felt so empty without the people that made it wonderfully full. Somehow the memories that once made this place so painful seemed to morph into a story of a different girl. A girl I didn't know anymore, because the real me had found her way back to the surface. Then as my grandmothers health declined, I knew I couldn't be so far away.

I was sure I would cry on the drive back to Phoenix.  Sure that closing my California chapter would be sad. Instead I was shocked at how excited I was to get home and get settled back into Arizona life.  If I hadn't left Arizona, I wouldn't know how much I missed it.  I wouldn't have been able to see that it truly is my home.

Sure, I am going to miss year round 75 degree weather, the beach just a few miles away,  the wonderful friends I made and juice shops all over the place, but I was missing too much here.  Someday I'm sure I will take on another adventure- maybe to Northern California, or New York, or even Spain.  Maybe not.  But I think it's safe to say that Arizona will always be my home.  So thanks California for giving me the strength to come home and the confidence to know I made the right decision.


Oh, Hello Again!

Oh yeah, I have a blog...
The last two weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind!  Between moving to Arizona, working on a bunch of crazy stuff for work, getting very close to the launch of my new business and of course spending some much needed time catching up with friends and family, blogging went on the back burner.  There have been so many times that I wanted to write a post, but just didn't have the time to get it right before I was off to my next activity.

So here is a look at what I have been up to:
I hit the theater for a movie solo... literally.  No one else apparently wants to see romantic B movies first thing Sunday morning.  Weird.

I moved.  And by move, I mean sold all my furniture and packed everything else in my car.  If it didn't fit, it wasn't coming.

I said goodbye and closed my California chapter.  Expect a whole post on this in the near future.

I attended a fun lunch with the cutest name tags ever!

After three days of working from home,  err my bed, I decided to get up get dressed and do my hair.  It seemed necessary to document the occasion.

I was faced with a pretty tough decision.  Directional signs aren't usually so complicated to navigate.  I chose cupcake and then I chose to go to the gym.  Also something I will be posting more about soon.

I went to the Salsa Challenge and fell in love with a totally nontraditional salsa with radishes and cucumber in it.  Seriously I could eat it on everything... ever.

I took my little brother to a Spring training game.  Can't you tell by the look on his face that he is 15?

Spring has sprung here in Arizona (because really winter only last like six weeks maximum)  and I couldn't be happier for all the spring activities I have planned.  What are your favorite things to do in the Spring?  Leave a comment and let me know, especially if you're in AZ, so I can add some new things to my list!


Guilty Pleasures

Maybe we feel guilty because of a particular foods calorie count, or maybe we feel guilty because of the strange feeling of excitement one gets, or maybe we feel guilty because we have been conditioned not to enjoy certain things, but no matter who you are, we all have a few guilty pleasures.  Today I am sharing a few of mine.

Ice cream in waffle cone or with a chocolate shell.  For the most part, I could care less about ice cream.  However, for some reason, when you put that ice cream in a waffle cone or smothered in chocolate shell I can't help myself.  I'm talking to you Magnum ice cream bars, dairy queen dipped cones and boardwalk waffle cones.  

Seeing sappy love movies solo. Seriously, this is one of my favorite things to do when I'm alone.  Future boyfriend, you're welcome.  Don't get me wrong, I like to see movies with friends, but I get a strange sense of enjoyment out of getting carried away by an over the top love story.  There's no one to notice my goofy smile during a couples sweet moments or the inevitable tears that I will cry without trying to hide them.  

Taking notes from books I don't actually want to buy.  I love to learn, but I don't necessarily want to buy every single book, so instead I find myself a corner at Barnes and Nobel and take notes on all the important bits.  I know it's not a library, but I love the atmosphere.  

Drinking the whole bottle of wine.  Do people actually re-cork bottles?  I mean, I have a set of special corks that I'm told are really good, but I don't know if I will ever use them.  The only thing I dislike more than an empty glass is an empty bottle.  

Singing in the car.  I actually really enjoy long drives alone, because by the time I reach my destination, I am usually horse from belting out all my favorite songs for 5 hours.  I get really into it guys.  I take melodic and pitch liberties, add dance moves and fist pumps!

Sprinkles and glitter.  Both make everything better and just plain make me happy.

What are your guilty pleasures?


What's On Your List?

Most of us have a bucket list.  You know, the list of things you want to do before you "kick the bucket".  If you are like me, you list includes things like, "Visit all 50 states", "Go skydiving", "Complete a triathlon"etc. etc.  I recently realized there is something I've done, that should have been on my list all along, but wasn't.  In fact, I am of the opinion that it should be on everyone's list. 

* Go soul searching alone.

I've always considered myself to be pretty independent.  I'd flirted with the idea of soul searching before.  I've signed up to spend the summer across the country (with my boyfriend) in the mountains of New York teaching kids how to climb rock walls.  I've flown across the world (with one of my best friends) for an internship in London.  But it wasn't until, I left my family and friends a year and a half ago (alone), for a job in a place I hardly knew, that I stumbled upon my own soul search. 

When I left Arizona, I thought I was getting away from the troubles of my past.  I thought I was going to spend a couple months finding my feet and then be reunited with my boyfriend and live happily Californian ever after. Things didn't go as planned.

It was much harder than I expected.  For the first time in my life, I was really on my own.  I was lost all the time and not just figuratively, but literally.  After one particularly irritating experience trying to find a bank I had a total meltdown in a parking lot.  I found solace with sand between my toes, but adjusting to life without family and friends was a challenge.  I moved in with a stranger and soon my boyfriend and I broke up.  I was fighting the feeling that my move was a mistake.  

One Sunday, after crying in my bed for about 2 hours straight, I forced myself to go get lunch and then go see a movie... alone.  Slowly but surely I started to enjoy experiencing things alone.  I loved spending my weekends on the beach reading a book.  I loved going on little adventures to the Hollywood Sign or Santa Monica.  Being alone forced me to build new friendships and strengthen the ones that were important to me.  For the first time in my life, I built confidence in my work.  But most importantly, I got to know myself without anyone's influence. 

My California Adventure

Sometimes the deafening silence revealed such booming clarity.  Sometimes, it just felt lonely.  As I look back over the last 18 months and ahead to my departure in 2 weeks, I can't help but feel like this was a monumental chapter in my life.  For far too long I felt like I was struggling to move forward.  Crawling. California has allowed me to get back on my feet and in many ways, it's allowed me to fly.

I finally feel like I know what's important to me.  I know who is important to me too.  My perspective has changed.  My world has become so much brighter.  I see the beauty in things that for a while seemed so boring.  Most importantly, one thing has become abundantly clear: It's not where you live your life, but who you live it with.  

So I beg you, add soul searching alone to your bucket list.  Maybe that means take a big risk like moving to a new place.  Maybe it's going on a vacation solo.  Maybe it's just carving out time for yourself each week. Whatever it is, make it a goal to get to know who you are when no one is looking.  I promise you, you won't regret it!