Tag Archives: love

One Year Later

Yesterday was my blog’s birthday. It’s been 365 days since I wrote my first post on Anxiety and Depression. When I started this little blog space, I actually had almost no idea of what a blog was. All I knew was that I had a lot of ideas and was tired of getting up on my soap box in the grocery store line. I was tired of talking to people who didn’t want to hear my advice. (Fair enough for the poor people who mentioned one thing about gluten and then had to hear me talk about it for 30 minutes straight).

One year later, this blog has given more than I could have imagined. Of course, I’ve cut back on my number of posts, everyday is just too much. And I’ve narrowed my focus to life updates, health experiments, recipes, and workouts (yep, that’s a narrow focus, hah). But this thing is still a lot of work and there’s a reason I keep going.

This blog has connected me with long-lost friends and new awesome strangers. It (and some advice from my bff) led me to start my Happy Bootcamp. It has helped me focus my cooking energy on healthy meals and my workout energy on a manageable routine. It holds me accountable.

This blog helped me channel my design energy when I couldn’t get it out at work. And when I finally moved on, it helped me get a new job! And now, when my work isn’t health related and I want to talk health, I come here!

But finally, and most importantly, this blog has helped me stay in touch with friends and family all over the world. When I reunite with family after a long time and they know exactly what I’ve been up to, I know it’s all worth it. Because although I may not have any clue that they’re even reading, I know that if they want to pipe up and say hello, they can. The loved ones in my life are my main reason for writing. I miss you all so much, I just don’t want to lose a connection.

This blog has become an extension of me. It represents such a huge part of my personality, health and happiness.

So please … keep reading and I’ll keep writing. I hope you’re all having wonderful Wednesdays. Hugs and a big smoocheroo (yep, you’re all getting birthday kisses today) – Ash

 

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Friday Story Time: Gay Pride

Weekend before last was Pride Weekend in San Diego. I’ve been looking forward to it since we moved here last month because I LOVE Pride festivities. I know it makes many people uncomfortable and if you fall into that category, stop reading now. If not, enjoy this story time.

Pride in Hillcrest is all-consuming and very intense. Our apartment is one short block from the parade route and we couldn’t have been happier about it. I am not gay and don’t have any gay tendencies but it’s so hard not to be happy at this massive celebration of love. Gay people everywhere know distinctly the feeling of being out-of-place. Very few neighborhoods are accepting of two men or two women kissing or holding hands in public, let alone dressing and acting flamboyantly as many gay people feel most comfortable.

If you are straight, can you imagine not being able to hold hands with your partner without drawing dirty looks and even shouts of disgust? Can you really, truly imagine? Continue reading

Blog Morphings and Ashley Life Update

Blog Morphings: Before I left Peoria, I was voicing a concern to my coworkers. What would my blog become when I wasn’t surrounded by health all day? It was so easy to produce content and be constantly researching and “in the know” when I’m giving exercise, nutrition, and chiropractic advice all day. My coworkers, in their infinite wisdom, just proclaimed, “you can do whatever you want!” Oh yeah! It’s my blog, my space, I can do whatever I want. MUAHAHA!

Continue reading

Thriving Thursday: May Goals

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Making resolutions is all well and good but unless there is a structure to meet those resolutions, they won’t happen. So in work and in play, I have tangible, reachable goals. I focus on something new every month and keep the habits that improve my life and my mood. It’s amazing what a little mind power can do! Continue reading

Mindful Monday: What’s Beautiful About You?

My sisters and I had a skype conversation last week. They had just been on a hike and, in talking to each other about what they want to do with their lives, they both became very inspired. They called me for some advice, “we want to help people (women especially) with their confidence issues, how should we do it?” They already had a bunch of great ideas and we worked over a few details. They will, hopefully, be starting work on their campaign in the next couple months.

Around the same time, I got an email from my mom. She sent me a link to this video. It made me cry, of course. Watch it. It’s three minutes you won’t regret using. Continue reading

Mindful Monday: April Goals

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I still haven’t finished the book. It sits on my dining table, my bedside table, and the couch and every once in a while, I pick it up and read a chapter or two. But it’s not because it’s a slow read, it’s because I’m savoring it. There are very few books that make me feel the way this one does. It calms me but motivates me. It reminds me that my life is about making me happy and nothing else. I know it sounds selfish but a lot of making myself happy means helping other people be happy too. 🙂 I’m talking about the Happiness Project. It’s amazing. Read more about it in my Healthful, Happy, and Loving Project post.

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So, as promised, I will continue my efforts by revising and adding to my March Goals.

First, My Commandments. I read a list of these every morning. It reminds me what to focus on when I start to lose my footing.

  • Just because it’s fun for someone else, doesn’t mean it’s fun for me.
  • Me is the perfect person for me to be. (< I realized that I don’t actually have a lot of trouble with this one)
  • It’s NOT “doing nothing,” it IS “active relaxation.”
  • Life is play, not an endless stream of work.
  • A true smile and laugh can change a whole conversation.
  • Want what I already have.
  • I don’t have to be good at everything
  • When I’m sad, stop thinking of the future. Just smile and make that moment happier.
  • Be happy when I succeed.

Second, a review of March Goals.

  • Take a 5-minute walk down the block, every morning between shower and work. SLOWLY. (This was amazingly effective. It slowed me down after rushing around all morning like a headless chicken. It helped me be more productive and relaxed during the work day.)
  • When I’m sad, stop thinking of the future. Just smile and try to make that moment happier. 
    (I actually didn’t have too many unhappy moments in 2 weeks but I anticipate that they will happen. So I’m adding it to the commandments.)
  • Choose a day of the week to talk to each parent and sibling. Like I do with Gran. (Did this!)
  • Read this list every day. (Great reminder and totally necessary for this project)
  • Remember to be happy when I succeed. (Something I DEFINITELY need to work on. This is added to the Commandments.)

And finally! My April Goals:

  • Continue the daily, 10-minute walks.
  • Create a folder for design inspiration. I read lots of design magazines and websites. Visiting the Frank Lloyd Wright designs in Chicago this weekend made me realize how much pent-up design energy I have. I want to have a folder on my computer for digital archives and a physical folder for magazine and newspaper articles. I’m hoping this will help me start sketching again too.
  • Learn to cook with the Vitamix: juice, smoothies, soup, and ice cream. I got my tax return so I’m going to buy it today. YAY!!
  • Finish the two health books I’ve been page through for the last 2 months.
  • Eat at least one raw meal per day.
  • Have at least one entirely vegetarian day per week.
  • Read this list every day.

I’ll keep you updated with part of this that are working and parts that aren’t. Did anyone else read this book and love it?

Ashley Life Update:
Mike and I spent this weekend in Oak Park, a suburb just outside Chicago. We were celebrating our 1-year anniversary and seeing a few sites that we hadn’t got to yet. We don’t know where we’ll be moving in June so we want to see as much of Chicago as possible. We stayed at an eccentric yet absolutely lovely Bed and Breakfast. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about opening my own Healthy B&B. To the extent that I’ve designed most of the rooms in my head and know the general rules that I’d like to operate under (ie. huge, comfy beds and soft towels, simple healthy meals, and a gym for sure). Now I just have to figure out where the money will come from. Hah.

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Mike took the NRA intro to guns class I got him for Christmas well I slept off the lingering and oh-so-annoying flu. Then he met me at FLW’s Robie House in Hyde Park. That night was spent out on the town. We don’t like to party much but when we have a free night and a city full of entertainment, we take advantage. Mike treated me to a very chic, very delicious dinner at an underground jazz/prohibition bar and then we went dancing uptown.

Sunday (Easter!) was spent touring the FLW house and studio around the corner from our B&B and visited Trader Joes (man I miss that place!) before the 3 hour drive back to Peoria. We sort of just ignored easter. Much to my chagrin, without any kids or parents around, there wasn’t any good excuse for an Easter egg hunt.

I hope you all had relaxing and family filled holidays! Love and hugs – Ash

 

Thriving Thursday: Grocery Shopping Guide

In talking to people all over my community, I’ve discovered that very few of them know how to grocery shop. We have SO many options. When you’re trying to get healthy, what’s the right brand of healthy to buy? This is a simple beginner’s guide to healthy grocery shopping.

So here is a set of rules to help you navigate more quickly through the maze of choices.

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1. Always start with the whole foods. Start in the produce section and let yourself salivate over the deep orange bell peppers or in-season strawberries. If your store has them, move on to the bulk seeds and nuts. Then peruse the other sections, skipping processed foods whenever possible.  Focus your efforts where you can find the most nutrients: in whole foods!

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2. Check the INGREDIENTS not the nutrition panel. Only buy processed food that you can’t find in a whole food form. We have been trained to look at the nutrition panel on all packaged foods. How many calories, how much fat, and sodium, etc. But new research and my personal observation shows that it’s the ingredients that matter, not the nutritional breakdown. The fewer ingredients the better and make sure you can recognize the name of everything in the processed food you’re eating.

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3. Avoid sugar like the plague. When you start looking at ingredients in processed food, you’ll notice that sugar is added to EVERYTHING. Check out this post for why sugar is bad. Aside from the obvious “sugar,” Anything ending in “-ose” is sugar including sucrose, fructose, and glucose. Any “gum” is considered sugar including lecithin gum and xanthan gum. And any kind of “syrup” is sugar including brown rice sugar. And finally, ASPARTAME IS EVIL. It’s a neurotoxin. Check the post mentioned above for more info.

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4. NEVER buy “low-fat” or “reduced fat” or “1%” fat or any product from which they’ve removed the fat. This includes milk. Buy whole milk! when manufacturers remove the fat, the concentration of sugar in the substance is even higher. They even add sugar sometimes (!) because the product tastes so bad without its natural fat. Seriously. So it has higher sugar content but a lot of those fats are actually very good for you. They are necessary for your bodies proper function. So just keep the fat in!

There are only a few guiding principles to the beginner’s healthy shopping but man they are whoppers. Budget double the time it normally takes you to shop, at least until you can find the brands you like. Once you’re adjusted you’ll zoom through the grocery store once again!

I hope you’re all having fantabulous days. Love and a big smile 🙂 – Ash