Tag Archives: family

Happy New Year! Now Lose the Guilt…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

photo 5
Hahaha. Sometimes I extra love my new hair.

So first let me say, I HATE NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS. I think people make them too quickly, without much thought, and then break them just as fast. The idea that everyone needs to make one and then spend tons of money and time accomplishing it is commercial and annoying.

However, if there is something you’ve been trying to improve in your life, the first of the year is a great time to take the first of many baby steps. I know the weight loss thing is pretty popular but I think that goal is too broad. Focus on something small, work it in slowly, and do whatever it takes to make it a regular part of your life. Reading this blog is a good start!

My New Years Baby Step (that’s what I’ll be calling from now on) is: LOSE THE GUILT. People in my family happen to be great at guilt trips. That’s means that not only do I get them frequently, but I give them to myself, AND other people. Guilt is a huge part of what used to make me tick but it also made me constantly anxious. So I’m done with it. If someone wants something from me, they can ask. If I need a favor from someone else, I will ask them instead of being passive aggressive and guilt tripping.

I feel guilty when I eat to much of the wrong food, when I don’t exercise five days a week, when I forget to wish my friend a Happy Birthday, whenever! It’s invading my brain and I’m done with it.

This is going to be a tough one. Changing the way I think is probably the hardest thing I could baby step to but what’s life without a challenge? And this one will be worth it I think.

What will you step towards this month?

ps. Sorry about the lack of posts last week. I decided that my vacation was going to be as little effort as possible. And, for the most part, it was! So thanks for understanding. From now on, when I go on vacation, so does this blog.

Monday Advice: Enjoy Your Holiday Meals!

Alright ya’ll, listen up! For the next 24 hours, do everything you try not to do on a regular basis.

For example:
– Don’t exercise just sleep in instead!
– Keep on your pajamas for as long as possible.
– Eat that cheese and chips and stuffing and dessert!
– Just enjoy the holidays.

The catches (you knew there’d be a few):
– Note how your body feel before the crappy food and after. Remember that feeling.
– Try to throw in some veggies (raw if possible) even if it means sneaking a salad in the middle of the day. Remember how good you feel after you eat those.
– Go on walks! Walks any time of day any weather during the holidays are wonderful. Do it with a loved one. Just take a quiet break from all the shenanigans and get your blood pumping.

That’s pretty much it. I’m getting my routine check up at the doctor right now. After this, let the relaxation begin!

One more thing, make sure to thank all those people that have to work today and tomorrow. There’s a lot of people that have given up their holiday to make sure the world keeps turning. Thank you guys!! Hopefully you get some time to rest too.

Much love and Merry Christmas Eve!

Friday Design: Christmas Cards and Snow!

I haven’t mentioned Christmas much in this here blog. That’s because everyone celebrates different holidays in different ways and I want to continue to deliver information for health no matter what the season. However, today I am just TOO excited! In fact, it’s 6 am. I’ve been awake for an hour. After 5 hours of sleep, I woke up and can’t force myself back to bed. Thank goodness for blogs! A few reasons I can’t sleep:

  1. The world didn’t end, so that’s cool.
  2. Mike and I leave for San Diego today.
  3. I get to see my family for the first time in 6 months!
  4. This will be Mike’s first time meeting my very rambunctious siblings and my wonderful Gran and Grandpa. Should be interesting.
  5. I haven’t packed yet and still have a full work day ahead of me.
  6. We had a blizzard in Peoria yesterday and the city is so beautifully coated with snow (see below). I am SO thankful, though, for the dedicated people that wake 5 hours before me to plow and shovel it all out of our way.

FirstSnow^ check out our back porch.

Ok so! This year I decided that I wanted to do some Christmas cards. Somehow I have managed to live my life in a such a way that a lot of my very closest friends and family are scattered all over the world. China, Britain, and every corner of the US. How do I tell them I love them without spending a fortune? Handmade Christmas cards!

ChristmasCard

These babies took me about an hour each. I made 13 of them. [I’m not sure these have reached everyone yet so if I love you and you haven’t gotten one yet, hold tight] Aside from the card, I also wanted to give them a gift. Something that everyone could use, something healthy, and something easy. Mulling spices! I made my own mulling spices, packaged them up, and put a satchel in every card.

I love these cards. I put a lot of heart and effort into making them. But JEEZ they took a long time. Also, they ended up being rather expensive to mail because they count as a “package” rather than a “letter.” Obviously my loved ones are worth it but they may be getting something a little less bulky next year.

Anyway, that’s my story for today. I’m completely exhausted but totally giddy. I get to see my family today!! I hope you all have wonderful weekends planned. Keep on smiling, they’re even more contagious this time of year 🙂

Fabulous Friday: Don’t Stop ‘Till You Get Enough

It’s the day after Thanksgiving. Why and when do we stop being thankful? No doubt we will arrive at this day next year feeling like we  take all the goodness in our lives for granted. How do you prevent that from happening? You learn to appreciate all the people in you lives! The cool thing is, if you say enough nice things, you’ll eventually start hearing nice things back! It’s like an endless circle of happy.

I know I sound like one of those annoyingly joyous people who walks around smiling strangers and complimenting their sweaters. Well I admit that I sort of am. But I wasn’t always like this and I can testify that it feels a little odd at first. But it turns out that when you live like this, and you’re having a rough day, someone will return a compliment and make your hour! The return on investment is awesome!

On that note, I’m going to publish the comments I’ve been getting from readers to their loved ones. Thanks to everyone that commented. It’s been wonderful to hear all the positivity. And don’t forget to pass them the link to this blog OR just tell them in real life.  I will definitely be doing this again sometime soon so, if you didn’t you should participate next time?

Format:

Who it’s dedicated to – The compliment. – The sender

Jordan C. – I love your intellectual curiosity! The way you like to take puzzles apart, piece by piece, until they make sense has made our house a more fun place to be! – Ben

Nikki M. – She is smart, funny, beautiful and my best friend in the world. – Katy H.

Ryan D. – You are understanding and (mostly ;) patient when I can be a handful. Your smile brightens the room and make others feel welcome. I love how you are so goofy & not care what others think when trying to make me smile. – Alana T.

Ashley H. (that’s me!) – You are a brave young woman who inspires me with every blog. -Sue G.

Susan S. –  A mom, a mentor, and a perpetual chaser of her dreams. To see the determination to try new things and always follow your dreams until you attain them, no matter how long it takes, is a life lesson one can only learn from witnessing. So, thanks for keepin’ on Mom. – Maggie S.

You Every time you take the time out of your day to read A Happy Lass, you increase my confidence and love for blogging. Thank you! – Ashley H.

 

Happy Snowboard, Turkey, Stuffing, and Football Day!

Happy Day Ya’ll! I have the good fortune of being a guest at Mike’s family’s place in Sugarloaf, Maine; and some awesome bosses that gave me a few days off. This morning we all went skiing/snowboarding. I somehow managed to fall while getting off the lift and did a number on my wrist so I am now typing with one hand! Haha. It’s making me super thankful that I have both my arms! So today, you just get one awesome photo.

I’m the one in the red jacket and blue pants. At this point I was asking photographer to count to three so I could open my eyes. Haha!

Have a wonderful day everyone! 🙂

Remember Your Dreams?

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything from within the depth of my brain but I realized recently that I’ve made great strides in my life and I want to tell you all about it.

My dad always said that graduating from college came as a great shock to him. Financially, he was suddenly making money and had credit cards and basically went crazy with it. Emotionally, he went from being at the top of the food chain to the very very bottom of the barrel. Luckily, I’m not finding the transition quite as drastic but man is it a shock! I thank goodness architecture steeled me for servitude, the hard work thing isn’t a problem. And my finances have just switched from spending the bank’s money to all the money I make now being given right back to them. My belt will remain cinched for the next 15 years. There’s no sudden freedom in that department.

The area I have had trouble with is figuring out where and how to channel all that passion I graduated with. School was hard. I’m talking drive you to tears almost daily, lock you in the same room with the same people on lots of red bull for days at a time hard. School was hard. But it also made me an incredibly strong, capable, ambitious woman. It forced me to define a reason for every one of my actions. It forced me to cut out the bull crap and focus on my immediate and future goals. My goals, upon graduating, were both for my career and personal life.

Personal: I wanted to travel and find a place I love to finally settle down and, eventually, have a family. I wanted to remain close with some incredible people I met in college while hopefully branching out and meeting new people. I wanted to get back to my family. My lovely, supportive, completely outrageous, and weird family, who I love and miss so dearly. I wanted to get back to them. And I wanted to stay with this amazing man that I met in my final year. Mike, my other half. I wanted our relationship to continue to grow and get stronger.

Career: I wanted to get some experience under a construction contractor, enough to have some confidence in my ability to know and direct the process. Then I wanted to start designing and building anything and everything. I wanted to have my own business as soon as I felt confident enough.

Wow was I shocked at how quickly a person’s ambition and dreams can be crushed under the weight of real life. While I am continuously working towards those goals, and am actually reaching some of them right this moment, I’m finding that so many of them were lost in the shuffle. So, in order to keep my goals at the forefront of my mind, and to keep myself from going insane in my current position in life, I remind myself why I’m doing what I’m doing.

What am I accomplishing for my life but also (and this is new for me) what am I bringing to other people’s lives. I am finding that, in helping other people define and reach their dreams in my place of work, I’m discovering and reaching my own. My dreams shift and meld with me. With each new experience, I try to improve as a person. As I become a better person, my dreams become better too!

A dream, a goal, and ambition does not have to be static. In fact, it’s better if it’s not. Dreams should flex as I grow as a person. They will become more detailed or more blurry. They will, sometimes, completely change direction. But the important thing about reaching my dreams, I realized, is that I find fulfillment in all the steps along the way. I will never get to the end point and think, was that really worth it?

So what are your dreams and goals? When was the last time you defined them? Maybe it’s time to write them down.

Friends and Family Friday: Compliment Much?

My team meeting for work this week was AWESOME. Each of us four coworkers stood up front and received one compliment from the other three. It was interesting to hear nice things from people who I greatly respect but don’t really have a personal relationship with.

So we’re going to try it here, in my little corner of the blogosphere. If you do this, the outcome will be awesome.

And yes, I’M TALKING TO YOU.

3 simple steps:

1. In the comments section below, hit “reply.” If you’re reading this by email, also hit “reply” and I’ll get it as a comment (my Gran discovered that one).

2. Write a something nice about a person in your life that you’ve never complimented before. And I’m not talking, “Hey I like your sweater.” No. Something about they’re character, personality, and/or lifestyle. It can be ANYONE. Include their first name and last initial.

Example: “Ami G. I know some of the physical and emotional challenges you’ve encountered in your life and your positive attitude and love for life are inspiring.” <it doesn’t have to be that mushy but you get the idea.

3. Tell them in real life OR send them the link to this blog. I’m going to publish every single one of your compliments on Monday.

If you are hesitant to do this for a someone you aren’t too close with, imagine how good it would feel if they did it for you.

Take a minute to think and then write it out!

🙂

Thankful Tuesday: Health

What are you thankful for? Yes, there may be a few negatives floating around in your head but the more you force the good stuff to the front, the happier you will be. I don’t do this as much as I should but today is a day to focus on the positives!

I am thankful for:

1. My innate understanding of health. My parents (especially my Mom) raised me in an incredibly healthy household. I have found that I can teach people about health mostly from what I already know. That’s pretty awesome.

2. My body’s ability to fight the flu! It took over a week but I am 99% back to normal health. Yay! < and that without ANY medication, not even ibuprofen.

3. The happiness and health of my loved ones. I have had so little illness or loss in my life. I am SO SO thankful for that.

Ashley Life Updates: Shout out to my Gran! She was feeling really sick too last week. Get better Gran, love you.

So seriously, what are you thankful for on this fine day?

 

Thankful Tuesday: My Family

It’s time for the three thanks I give for the day! However, today my three things may be more like 4 or 5 because my family is giant and all of them are awesome.

Today and everyday I am thankful for, in no particular order:

1) My stellar parents. They raised me to be a self-sufficient, confident, ambitious woman. They never let me doubt my abilities and were always there when I started to. We  joke that I only call them when I’m crying so when we don’t talk, they know everything is fine. How wonderful is that? Parents that never need to hear from you unless it’s to pick you up and put you back on your feet. I love my parents for how amazing they are when I was growing up and for what great people they are now that I’m an adult and can recognize it. My parents are my friends above everything else and we have a great time together. I am SO thankful they’re mine 🙂

 ^This was one of the many times they came to visit me in Boston.

2. My Gran and Chuck. I’m first generation American which means that not much of my family lives in the US and even fewer of them were around growing up in San Diego. They used to have us over for weekends just so they could spoil us! We would walk the dogs and then Chuck would take me to Major Market for the best hot chocolate on the planet. Then we would come home to a beautiful warm house and more delicious food from Gran. Gran and Chuck are always around when I just need some comfort. When no one else is saying the right stuff, Gran is on the other end of the phone, waiting to listen. I am SO thankful to have them in my life.

 ^ Gran and I on graduation day!

 ^Chuck and I at one of my first triathlons.

3. My siblings. Oh what to say about this rowdy lot. It’s kind of weird to think that, not too long ago, we fought like crazy. We really did dislike each other. But, alas, we have all grown up a ton in the last several years and are starting to find that we’re all friends. There will always be a part of me that’s very sad I missed out on so much of their lives while I was away in Boston; but I guess the happy result is that we now all see each other as adults. They’re such amazing people, each with their own weird personalities, and we have a fantastic time together. I call each of them for different advice and they all perk up my mood in different ways. All three of them are wonderfully fun and crazy and I am so happy to be able to grow old with them. My ultimate goal is to live as near as possible to every one of them.

 ^ I know what you’re thinking, “Dang! That is a good-looking bunch.” 🙂

4. My extended family. Like I said, I’m first generation American so most of my extended family lives in Britain or Australia. Despite how little I get to see them, I love them all. Unfortunately, it’s been several years since I last laid eyes on some of my cousins but I know they are all doing great things with their lives (thank you facebook) and can’t wait until we can party together sometime soon (hopefully).

 ^ Some Scottish family mixed with some New York family. It’s so rare but so wonderful.

5. My ex-pat family. In the absence of my extended family, my immediate family formed a sort of bubble of ex-patriots in San Diego. For the last 10 years we all gather at every holiday to eat, drink, and laugh. All the parents have become like second sets of parents for me and all the kids, my friends. We are a close-knit bunch and, although we don’t talk that often, it’s a huge comfort knowing I’ll see them for the next holiday. They became my family when my British family couldn’t be around.

 ^Just a few of the friends I call family.

Of course, I’m in tears after writing all that. I am so thankful for all these people but so sad that I can’t just surround myself with them everyday. I miss them all, each and every one. A lot. But I’m putting the smile back on my face because you couldn’t find a luckier girl.

 ^ One last picture to send you on your day. This is our family at the Rugby Sevens in Vegas last February.

What are you thankful for? I promise it doesn’t have to be as long as mine 🙂

Thankful Wednesday: Who Loves You?

Well, today is my 24th birthday. Growing up, birthdays were such a huge deal. My parents and siblings would wake me up with a cake, singing the birthday song. For lunch, my mom would buy all four of us a Lunchable (the only 4 days a year that we each got to eat unhealthy lunches), and for dinner we would have whatever my favorite meal was. Then would come the presents and cards. Everything in that day was my choice and it was pure bliss.

The first month of college was kind of a shock. Everyone eats junk food all the time and no one celebrates birthdays?!?! What the heck is going on?? It was a kind of depressing birthday for me but my friends soon got the picture and have managed to make each once since then very very special (Thanks Tish). But this is my first post-college birthday and I’m not sure what to do with myself. Mike had to leave town for work so my closest friend isn’t here. And I’ve only just started making friends in Peoria; I don’t want to call them up and say “Hey it’s my birthday and I’m lonely, wanna get a Wednesday night drink?” Hah.

So I’ve decided to bury myself in work for most of the day and stop every couple hours to remember the people that love me. Thankfully social media has me covered on that one. It’s only 7:45am and I already have 13 “happy birthdays!”

People love me. Lots of them. I am not being boastful but reminding myself and everyone reading that people love you too! There are too many times in life that loneliness can overwhelm a person. To dig yourself out just think of how many people love you. I could try to list them all but that would take forever and no one wants to read that. So just trust me.

Today may be a little less celebratory than I hoped for but I’m going to drag the celebrations into this weekend. Friday I will finish work early to get a massage and then Mike and I head to Chicago for a few days to celebrate some more. So for now, I will keep my chin up and remember…

And now, a photo montage of my 23rd year. Finding these photos made me cry.

*Scroll left and check out my comments.

I love every single person in these photos and they love me back. I can only dream that my 24th year will be as good as my 23rd. Hope you all have an equally happy day!
🙂