Tag Archives: Relationships

Thinking Tuesday: Angry is a Habit

I am a very introspective person. For a long as I can remember, I have looked upon admirable people and analyzed why others respect and love them. I do the same for annoying, disrespected people. It may sound shallow but this process of defining my own character has made me confident that the person I am is the best kind of person I can be.

I have a distinct memory of walking to lunch in 7th grade. I was wearing my signature pink tank top with braids in my hair and I was walking with my friends. I wasn’t part of the popular crowd. They were all nice enough to me but I didn’t love their emphasis on disobeying your parents and “hooking up” with random other people in the group, so I tended to stay away.

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Mindful Monday: June Goals

It is quite amazing what a person can do when they just do a little bit at a time. These small monthly goals have given me direction when I can think of so many ways to try to better my life. They will be incredibly important in this newest transition as Mike and I move back to San Diego.

I’ve been away for long enough that I can start over. Most long-time friends from San Diego hardly know the person I’ve become over the last seven years. I now have a chance to create the best possible image of myself in their eyes. It may sound calculated and a little cold but, in reality, it’s quite the opposite. I value these people and their opinion of me and I’d love to show them the true, kind, loving, health-conscious person I’ve become.

So, in that vain, most of this month’s goals will focus on my first-impression. The nine areas I focus on in setting my goals are: family/relationship, career, finance, spirit, body, intellect, friendship, environment.

Previous Goals That Have Stuck:

  • Family: Set up weekly phone dates (or REAL dates now that I live back in SD!) with every immediate family member. (Read about it here)
  • Spirit: When I’m sad, stop thinking of the future. Just smile and try to make that moment happier.
  • Spirit: Remember to be happy when I succeed. (This is a work in progress but I’m getting there!) 
  • Spirit: Keep a treasure box and a travel magnet collection. (It keeps out the crap while allowing for nostalgia)
  • Body: Eat at least one raw meal per day. (Usually my smoothie)
  • Body: Have at least one entirely vegan day per week. (This is actually becoming multiple days per week)
  • CareerStop being late.
  • FinancePurge the crap.
  • Intellect: Create a folder for design inspiration. (I rearranged my Pinterest page and now keep a physical, non-digital folder for magazine articles.)
  • EnvironmentStop using paper towels.

June Goals:

  • FriendshipStop spewing my life details.
    When I meet new people, I get this overwhelming urge to tell them every detail of my life. For some reason I think they will benefit from knowing all the ways I handle hardship. In my old age I am realizing that most people have been through MANY more hardships than me. Maybe I should just stop to listen. Mike does this very well and it has taught me the value of just shutting my mouth for a bit.
  • FriendshipMake friends actively but slowly.
    Another huge problem I have is rushing to make friends in a new place. Now that I’m back home, I have the luxury of already knowing many awesome people. But instead of rushing around like a headless chicken trying to hang out with people, I’m going to take it slowly. Contact people and re-form relationships one by one. Who knows what close ties will come out of the woodwork.
  • FinanceKeep down the cost of moving.
    Moving can be SO expensive. With the amount we move, Mike and I need to learn to keep down our costs. We are going to limit our spending to whatever we made in the Craigslist sale of our Peoria apartment furnishings. It’s going to be very tough, especially since we have no idea what we’ll need yet. We’ll see how this one goes.
  • BodyContinue to do my 20 minute workouts every morning.
    My commute will soon be starting at 7.15am. This means I will have to wake up around 6 to get in my workout. I can and will continue my workouts by setting up a new routine. Prep the night before and be efficient in the morning.

Anyway, I forgot about Monday mornings. They are pretty tough. Time to head to work! Plaster a big smile on my face and bounce around with energy. Hopefully by the time I arrive at the office, my smile and energy will be real. Haha. Happy Monday everyone!

Love and a big smile – Ash

 

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

 

Friendly Friday: How Much Is Too Much?

It’s an odd question to ponder. Especially when it comes to something that makes someone feel so good. Do people get spoiled? Do they start to take it for granted? Can you ever show someone too much love?

One of the goals of my Happiness Project is to set up a day each week to talk to each of my siblings. It’s a joint effort and we’ve all succeeded. Makenna is on Tuesday, Cam is on Wednesday, and Nikki is on Thursday. It’s wonderful to hear about their lives more frequently and I’m really excited for it to become a regular thing.

I am the oldest of four. I’ve been a third parent to my siblings from the time I could reach the kitchen counter. There must have been some natural motherly tendencies there already but ay caramba, being an oldest sister really brought it out of me. Our childhood groomed me to nurture and care for people and generally just give them a lot of love.

But is there ever too much love? I tell my friends and family, multiple times in a conversation, that I love them and miss them. Because I do! I never want the special people in my life to question it. Do you think they ever just stop listening? Shrug off or tune out the doting words I throw their way. Not because they don’t appreciate it but because I say it (and try to show it) as often as possible?

I think that people act the way they want to be treated. Maybe I feel the need to express my love because it’s awesome when I get it back. I don’t know. What I do know is that it feels great to have so many people who are worthy of my energy. What a lucky lady I am 🙂

 

Mindful Monday: Online Dating

I’m in a relationship. A fantastic one that brings me happiness every single day. But I was one of the lucky ones who found a partner in college. What if you’re not that lucky?

Mike and I talk a lot about how different it must be to be in a relationship in 2013 than it was in 1980. There are more opportunities to meet people from far away, communication is made so much easier through technology, and there are less barriers for women to be successful.

But when it all comes down to it, a relationship only works in the long run if you live in the same city, share common interests, and are a shooting for common goals. No matter what year it is, that’s a tough set of requirements.

That problem poses the technological solution: online dating. The stigma around it is slowly disintegrating. It’s now common place for singles of all life situations, from young professionals to older retirees, to join the many programs out there. Anyway! A blog I regularly read (Once a Month for Ladies) just posted the story of one such program. It’s a short but interesting read and reflects the harrows and successes of completely blind dates.

Grouper: The date. Not the fish.

– Once a Month for Ladies

I hope you’re all having awesome days. Love and a sweet smile. – Ash

The Healthful, Happy, and Loving Project …

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March Goals:

  • Take a 5-minute walk down the block, every morning between shower and work. SLOWLY.
  • When I’m sad, stop thinking of the future. Just smile and try to make that moment happier.
  • Chose a day of the week to talk to each parent and sibling. Like I do with Gran.
  • Read this list every day.
  • Remember to be happy when I succeed.

These seem like some pretty specific goals right? How did I arrive at them? Well …

HappinessProject

There’s a really awesome book a friend sent me. It’s called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Instead of being all preachy and general, she chronicles the details of finding her way to happiness. She lays out a list of what she wants to improve and then divides that list into manageable parts. It’s basically a book about baby steps.

I’m finding it very inspirational so I’ve decided to do the same. Every month I’ll lay out my goals for you all to see. I’m not doing this because I’m particularly unhappy. I just have so much awesomeness in my life and I think I could appreciate it better. If I’m not 100% content when everything is hunky-dory, what will happen when life isn’t so nice? I want my happiness to be strong enough to withstand even the hardest challenges.

The questions I’m asking myself:

  • What makes me feel good?
  • What makes me feel bad?
  • Is there any way in which I don’t feel right about my life?
  • Do I live in a way that encourages growth?

My answers to solve these questions – 2013 Goals:

  • Stop being so concerned with the future (haha, does the list of goals act against that?).
  • Learn to switch off work and relax.
  • Be outdoors more.
  • Wake up more energized.
  • Pay off my credit card bills.
  • Invest in quality cooking and cleaning tools – then use them to their full potential.
  • Communicate more regularly with friends and family.
  • Improve our nutrition (eat more raw, nutrient-dense food and cut out all dinnertime grains and sugars).
  • Remove toxins from our food, personal hygiene, cleaning products, etc.
  • Learn to enjoy riding my bike again.
  • Stop putting so much pressure on myself.
  • Remember to be happy when I succeed at these goals.

Things I don’t want to change:

  • My commitment to exercise.
  • My love of healthy cooking.
  • The strength of Mike and My relationship.
  • The strength of my ties to my family.
  • My plans for travel.
  • My thankful heart.
  • My cleanliness and organization.

Happy

My Commandments:

  • 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.
  • 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.

To that end, I will let you know, each month what my focus goals are for that month. I’ll pick as many or as few as I think I can handle. Some of them may be focused on for multiple months, some may be much easier than that. Since March is 1/3 of the way in, this month’s list is relatively short. But there’s no better time to start than today!

Does anyone want to join me in this? It can be as big or small of a project as you like. Let me know!

Love and a big smile. – Ash

 

Just Turn It Off.

Have you ever run into a pole? Fallen off a curb? Swerved into the other lane? Crashed your car? Ignored your friends or significant other? Have you ever checked out of reality and into technology?

If you have a phone, TV, computer, tablet, or game console, you have. Technology is awesome. It has absolutely morphed our world and the way we communicate with each other. For instance, I can have a quick text conversation with my friend in China when she wakes up in the morning and I’m just about to hit the hay. And I can have a weekly conversation with my Gran just to hear each other’s voices.

But the real question is: do you know when to turn it off? When was the last time you turned off everything with a power button? Unless you were on an airplane or suffering a power outage, when was the last time you turned off all the screens?

In this crazy modern world, I think we need to be very careful that we don’t lose all forms of social interaction. But also, how do we just shut it all down and relax?

This weekend, Mike and I are going to have Simple Sunday. We will turn off the TV, our computers, and our phones. We will read books, play board games, and talk to each other. Maybe we’ll even cook together or something hoity toity like that. But we WILL NOT have any connection to the outside world unless we go out and talk to people.

I’m excited. But I’m also weirdly nervous. How do I relax my brain without TV? What if there’s an emergency and my family needs to reach me? Board games are boring! And what if I want to do a little online shopping? These sound like stupid questions but wouldn’t you be feeling the same way?

That’s terrible! So why don’t you try it? A simple day without technology. Talking to people. Face to face. And teaching your brain to relax without any outside help.

Let’s reconvene on Monday. Happy weekend Ya’ll!