Tag Archives: United States

Big Announcement: San Diegans Listen Up

Over the last 9 months I have received so much amazing feedback about my workouts. Many people take the encouragement and guidance I give them and have turned their physical health around. Since leaving the class I taught in Peoria, I’ve been looking for another way to teach people directly, so … drumroll please …

I have decided to teach my own class right here in San Diego! We will meet every Saturday for 4 weeks and I will lead you all in one of my very fun, very effective 20 minute workouts. The total 45 minutes will include all stretching and exercise descriptions. The goal is not just to make you sweat, but to give you the tools to do it properly at home.

The first class will start on Saturday June 22nd with a one week break on July 6th. There are a few San Diegans I’m really hoping will be on board. I look forward to hearing from you all! And Happy Monday!


Big News From Ashley

Ever since I started this blog, one month after we moved to Peoria, I have tried in earnest to love it. Of course, there are aspects of the culture here that make me feel a little out of place, but in every other respect, it’s a great city. The three things I continued to repeat to myself: there’s no traffic, cost of living is very low, the people are really nice. Oh how I underestimated that last one. Continue reading

Mindful Monday: Time for a Change

My loved ones and regular readers know that moving to Peoria came completely out of the blue for me. This time last year I was cycling in Collegiate Nationals, packing for a trip to Italy, and finishing up my thesis. Then, suddenly I realized that I would do many crazy things to stay with that man I love, Mike. So we graduated, went to Italy, and then moved to Peoria. Continue reading

Thriving Thursday: Health By My Rules

Not too long ago, I hit a point where my body was in the best shape it had ever been. I don’t mean I have ripped abs or buns of steel, it’s just that there isn’t anything WRONG. I have as much energy as anyone could ask for, I sleep through the night, for the most part. None of my joints hurt and my stomach isn’t bloated. I don’t get headaches or allergies and, if I feel like getting up and running three miles, I do. Continue reading

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! 🙂

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 🙂

Saturday’s Cause: Think Before You Pink


I had sort of promised myself that I wouldn’t write about issues that would cause a lot of conflict on this here “happy” blog. Most of the time I am unprepared for any rebuttals and just don’t want to stir the pot. But sometimes things just get ridiculous and I have to stand up and declare it. Some of you may not like this but hear me out. I have a bone (a giant dinosaur sized bone) to pick with the Pink Ribbon and Susan G. Komen.

First let me say: I hate breast cancer. I hate it. My step-grandmother died from it and my other grandmother, great-aunt, and best friend’s mom fought it and won (thank goodness). It’s an awful, widespread disease and we (meaning anyone and everyone) should be doing everything we can to stop it. Sadly, most of us are not going about it the right way.

Most of this information I found on Breast Cancer Action’s website. They clearly cite all of their sources and, upon further digging, I found the facts here to be well researched and true. “BCAction is a national, feminist grassroots education and advocacy organization working to end the breast cancer epidemic.” I have studied most of their website and publications and personally think that they are a great resource for facts but not so awesome at providing information on how each of us, as individuals, can contribute to the greater cause. Their main cause is getting the government involved in breast cancer prevention and stopping organizations that are making the situation worse. With that being said, I will only use their website for facts.

Let’s establish some ground rules, if you disagree with these I’m not sure you should read on:

1. Eating an unhealthy diet filled with trans. fats, hormone laden poultry, malnourished beef, sugar filled candy, and fried anything will definitely increase your risk of disease.

2. Using products with toxin chemicals in them, even in small doses changed your bodies chemistry and also greatly increases your risk.

Obviously there are a huge number of other potential causes, environmental and otherwise, and you can find some information on those here. But I will not dive into that because it’s not relevant to what I have to say.

On to the meat of this post! In past I was a frequent purchaser of Pink Ribbon products. If I had to buy something, might as well buy it pink and donate to a greater cause right? Oh how wrong I was. Susan G. Komen began right here in Peoria, IL and I will fight against them right here in Peoria, IL. According to their website, SGK was launched in 1982 and has had great success. They have raised almost $2 billion to cure and advocate for breast cancer. That, in itself, is incredible. It shows that the public really cares for the cause and just needs a place to direct their efforts. I also have no doubt that SGK started from an honest place in a very kind and sad woman’s heart. Unfortunately, what started as an incredible effort on the part of one sister to raise awareness and end the disease has turned into an unbelievably backwards  organization.

Let’s cut the crap:

1. In 1970, 1 in 10 women developed breast cancer in their lifetime. By 2011 the risk had increased to 1 in 8 (National Cancer Institute).

2. 30-50% of all BC cases involve one or more of the following known risk factors: family history; early menarche (i.e., menstruation before age 11) or late menopause (age 51 and over); bearing children later in life (age 35 and over) or no childbirth; hormone replacement therapy; alcohol consumption; and exposure to ionizing radiation (e.g., x-rays, mammograms, nuclear power plants). This leaves 50-70% not accounted for by any of these things. (“Identifying Gaps in Breast Cancer Research.” California Breast Cancer Research Program. Ed. Julia Brody et al.)

3. In April 2010 the President’s Cancer Panel declared: “The Panel was particularly concerned to find that the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated [and] … the American people—even before they are born—are bombarded continually with myriad combinations of these dangerous exposures.” They urged the President ”to use the power of [his] office to remove the carcinogens and other toxins from our food, water, and air that needlessly increase health care costs, cripple our Nation’s productivity, and devastate American lives.”

So why raise a stink against Susan G Komen? They’re just doing the best they can to raise awareness and fund research. Right? MMM, not quite. It it obvious from the above facts that we can try as hard as we want to “cure” breast cancer but it’s just not working. Women, WAY too many of them, are still dying. I absolutely do not discount the survivors. There are many of them and, in my book, they rank as some of the strongest most admirable women on the planet. But why are we focusing on researching a cure rather than the cause and how, specifically, to prevent it? Why not encourage women to make their bodies a fighting machine? Encourage them to eat right, exercise, and make healthy decisions. Why not start from ground zero and make our way up to fighting what we still cannot prevent?

On that note, here are a some recent SGK promotions:


^ Promise Me perfume: At $60 a bottle, $8 of it actually goes to SGK. Based on their 2011 annual report, 19% of that ($1.50) per bottle will actually go to research. On top of that, it contains at least 2 toxic chemicals, Galaxolide (hormone disruptor) and Toluene (potent neurotoxicant banned by the IFRA).


^ In 2010, SGK partnered with KFC to sell “Buckets for the Cure.” 50 cents of every bucket sold went to SGK. Yep, buy some fast food fried chicken and fight breast cancer!


^ SGK has partnered with General Mills for their “Save Lids to Save Lives” campaign. By buying these sugary, chemical filled products and sending in the lids you are saving lives! Donate to SGK, provide lots of revenue for General Mills, and increase your own risk. Side note, before BCAction focused on the yogurt in 2008, all Yoplait yogurt was made with the hormone stimulant rBGH.

These are just some of the products that affect the human body in a negative way. Please read the “Think Before You Pink Toolkit”, found here, for more in-depth information.

So what do we do? Well, from now on, I will not be buying anything “pink.” I will not support a cause that is driving in the wrong direction no matter how pure the intention. And until I find another group that is looking for a cure AS WELL AS working to educate women on the daily act of disease prevention, I will do it myself. I promise to educate as many people as I can on having a good diet made of pure, nutrient rich food and an exercise routine that gets their blood flowing and their body fighting. I will not give my money but I will give my time and effort.

Now that I’ve decided, what do you think?