A Year in the Making

Today is the day. It is a great day of course. It is a Sunday, the start of another amazing week, the sun might not be shining now, but it is a very special day.

Ashley, Actually is officially one today

That is right, one whole year of all of you dealing with my blah blah blah and wow look at how I have grown. From hearing all about my faith, my passion for fashion, my love life and even my workout plan you have stuck by me and that deserves a big THANK YOU.

Ashley, Actually started on a whim. I was looking for a place to just kinda vent and get whatever was floating around in my head out there for those 2 followers at the time (thanks sister and WordPress). At first I wanted to keep things really personal and thought maybe what was going through my head was weird compared to everyone else, or maybe my writing isn’t good enough to be shared with the judgmental world.

I was ALL wrong.

The day I decided to take the leap and share my first post on my social media everything changed. The amount of positive feedback I received, the compliments I was given not only over text, but in the halls and in class at school were so amazing. Writing for me was/is never about the praise but this has proven there is HOPE that this world is a heck of a lot nicer than many of us believe.

Since I started this journey a lot has happened in the past year, let’s recap:

  • I graduated HIGH SCHOOL wooohooo (thats the real win)
  • I started attending Purdue
  • I became best friends/partners in crime w the girl who kept me at Purdue & made me fall in love w my major
  • I traveled to all of my favorite cities, including my most favorite one (New York)
  • I was a NationalRetailFoundation Rising Star
  • Joined my dream sorority and met the most amazing BFF’s
  • Started dating the kindest + most genuine man
  • Got an +A in my highest credit class
  • Watched my sister get married
  • Currently on my last interview for a retail management summer position at the age of 18

As you can see a whole lot of everything has been happening in my whirlwind of a life this past year. Purdue, the Retail dept., and Kappa Alpha Theta has helped me grow and mature into a person I am proud to be. I am so excited for where I will be when I write about year two of Ashley, Actually and I hope you will stick around to hear all about it.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you

HAPPY ONE YEAR

XOXOX

-Ashley 

P.S. Head over to the “contact” page and send me any ideas you would enjoy me writing about 🙂 thanks for helping me over come writers block + making my posts more frequent you ROCK

A Walk on the Brighter Side

Spring is here (finally) and with this happy, colorful season, comes new ways to brighten up your wardrobe. Accessories are the game changer. 

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From head to toe, rocking a fun pair of sunnies from H&M that can easily keep costs low and interchangeable throughout the seasons. My fav Block colored messenger that has every outfit light and classic with the easy going white + taupe. Tying my colors together with this vibrant ribbon belt was my go to choice. Navy, olive, mustard and a splash of red take this outfit go from simple to Spring in seconds.

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Laced up and ready to go, mustard is the color of the season, I promise.

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Outfit details:

Sunglasses: H&M

Messenger: Michael Kors

Belt: F.H. Wadsworth

Kingfisher Belt

Shirt: Forever21

Pants: Free People

Shoes: TJ Maxx

Denim Jacket: Thrift Store

 

xoxox

–Ashley

9 Spring Break MUST HAVES

My mind is permanently located on a beach for the time being because this time in just ONE WEEK my happy bum will be sun kissed and glowing (thanks FL). With travels coming so soon I realized I am not prepared AT ALL so I better get together some personal favs. These are just a few of the things I know have to be in my suit case to get me through the week:

1. Sunnies
A girl can not go to the beach without a few pairs of rocking sunglasses (I will lose at least 1 pair, guaranteed)

https://www.warbyparker.com/sunglasses/women

2. Moisturizer
A really really good moisturizer + burnt, peeling skin is a God sent. A little pricey, but trust me belif works miracles. 12/10 would recommend

http://www.sephora.com/the-true-cream-moisturizing-bomb-P394624?skuId=1686419&icid2=products%20grid:p394624

3. ONE PIECE SWIMMY
Okay okay so I know I tried my hardest last year to jump on this bandwagon, but now I am in full worship mode of this beautiful creations (+ i can eat all the chips n guac i want without worries)

http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/search.jsp?q=one+piece+swim#/

4.FANNY – FRICKIN – PACKS
You heard me right. Dig through your mama’s closet and steal these bad boys. I know these have been quite popular the past few years and I am in utter shock if everyone is not as big of a fan as I am. Literally everything I ever need sitting hands free at my waist, in cute patterns and monograms (jk I’m not the girl, okay maybe sometimes, but lets not talk about it)

https://www.etsy.com/listing/294037621/rainbow-semi-see-through-fanny-pack-edc?&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=shopping_us_b-bags_and_purses-fanny_packs&utm_custom1=bfbeb23b-2edc-4af9-aa33-721844bae2bd&gclid=CjwKEAiA3NTFBRDKheuO6IG43VQSJAA74F77sY-en9yaLUwYXAnnD2zkg4_1ZTxlbkx9gCWNsIZaBhoCDyLw_wcB

5. Speakers + Music
Well if you’re anything like me you have an odd obsession with bluetooth speakers and listening to music 24/7. Spring break music is probably one of two ways, non-stop country (not complaining) OR lots and lots and lots of whatever is popular right now (I’m talking 2974934 a day ‘Closer’ in the summer popular)

Country go-to’s: Thomas Rhett, Sam Hunt, Zac Brown Band
When in doubt hit up spotify and I promise the ‘hoe anthems’ playlist never disappoints

Pricey-er fav: https://www.amazon.com/Altec-Lansing-LifeJacket-Generation-Bluetooth/dp/B00JYQOXAO

Cute lil clip speaker to match with your fanny pack 😉 : http://www.jbl.com/JBLCLIP2BLUAM.html?adpos=1o4&creative=48796139935&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&gclid=CjwKEAiA3NTFBRDKheuO6IG43VQSJAA74F77QjGck7X3Nm5PaoQEPfFGSiLZxGkAsqle1SpW-mNxhRoC0orw_wcB

6. Hats Hats Hats
Seriously can not stress the importance of packing a few of your fav baseball, big brim or any other hat you prefer. They are absolutely my best friend on vaykay. Too much sun on your face yesterday? Hat. Woke up with bed head and maybe a little sand still in your hair? Hat. Wanna take a nap during your tanning sesh, but sunnies just aren’t cutting it with the sun in your eyes? HAT. These are just a few reasons so don’t fight me on this. You all obviously have your own go to baseball hats so I’m not going to mess with that, but I did come across some very cute vacation hats so enjoy!!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/292501207/custom-womens-black-sequin-straw-floppy?ref=market

7. Cover ups
Personally I would rather be the one who lives in a bikini 24/7, but sadly on vacation there are still those places with ‘no shoes, no shirt, no service’ (how heartbreaking). Fun news is though is that there are some extremely cute and fun cover ups out this season so go snatch em up!

http://www.forever21.com/Product/Category.aspx?br=f21&category=swimwear_cover-ups

8. Beach Bag + Towel
Every. Single. Time. I go to the beach I forget a beach towel. I’m not talking the little white, half the size of my body towel, I mean the big, colorful, thick and full towel I can actually lay down and MAYBE not get completely submerged in sand. And what’s a beach towel without a cute beach bag to shove it in along with all of your other essentials (tanning lotion, tanning oil and more tanning lotion).

https://www.bando.com/pages/search-results?q=beach%20bags&page_num=2

9. FLOATIES
Alright you got me, these might not be a MUST have for everyone, but come on just look how cute. You can actually just lay in the middle of no wear looking extra cute in your one piece swimmy and laying on a floating avocado. Okay maybe not the cutest or most idea (I’d get hungry out there), but give it a shot.

http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/category.jsp?id=A_ENT_FUN#/

As you can tell from my long list of essentials I have may or may not be paying that extra fee for an overweight bag at the airport. I hope everyone enjoys their fun in the sun as much as I know I will. Catch ya on the tanner side beach babes.

xoxox

Ashley

Dear The Man I Marry

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite days of the year. Not for the chocolate, big teddy bears or flowers (all that I happily receive from my dad these days), but for the purest of reasons, LOVE. I am in love with the love I get to see from so many people on this special day. The couples walking around holding hands, kissing each other thank you after dinner, and just the vulnerability of feeling the spark again.

For all of these reasons are the exact reason Valentine’s Day is one of the worst holidays. Yes, I could be on the bandwagon that this is just another money sucking holiday created by Hallmark. I choose to love it anyway, but I will always question why it has to be this way. Why, oh why can’t we show this love and over use ‘i love you’ on any other day?

I never want to lose the spark. I want to wake up each and every morning (sometimes afternoon let’s be honest) knowing that my husband loves me just as much today as he will when the calendar reads February 14th. Everyday is our Valentine’s Day. They say you fall out of love for the same reasons you fell in it in the first place. I am not always going to be my best self or at my prettiest. Sometime’s I am too sassy or stubborn when I don’t get my way. Sometime’s I will talk too loud or kiss to hard or dream too big, but I refuse to talk quieter or kiss less or dream smaller because I am “TOO much”.

You won’t be perfect either. You will bite your nails or do a nervous tap that is sure to get on my nerves, but love is kinda a funny thing. I believe that we don’t just feel it, but it is a choice. Loving someone is a continual choice we make because it is who we devote ourselves to day in and day out, completely + unconditionally. Please, please, please know when a little thing is just that, a little thing. Accept me for it and help me grow it into my strength as I will try to do for you. At the end of the day my weakness can either bring me up or tear me down, empowerment and courage to make that decision is what I need you for.

So to the man I marry, Valentine’s Day is not going to be marked in our calendars, but marked in our hearts everyday. I look forward to loving you, growing with you and being with you for the rest of eternity (someday, fingers crossed). Until then I pray for the right man to cross my path and trust in knowing God has a good, no, GREAT one picked out for me with a pretty little bow.

I am praying for you and I am excited to pray with you for the rest of our future.

xoxox

Ashley

5 Healthy Gym Tips

With spring break approaching WAAAY sooner than any of our bodies are ready for, I figured I’d share how I am getting my lazy, college bum in shape (lol kinda) this season. A few healthy tidbits I have learned from my dietitian (thx PU wellness suite) and butt kicking workouts should be a little help for your break bod.

1. EAT BREAKFAST.
Every morning I make that decision of sleeping in just a half hour longer before class or jumping (more like falling) out of my loft & grabbing a quick protein packed breakfast. My dietitian has stressed this to me majorly especially with constant working out and wanting to build muscle. My go-to quick dining hall bfast is:

1/2- 1 cup of scrambled eggs
1-2 turkey sausages
1 slice of 5 grain toast w buttah
a grape fruit w splenda / banana w PB
2% milk OR black tea w honey

2. Take Advantage of Your Sauna
I am a big big BIG support of the sauna. The much dreaded ab workout has now been moved to the sauna also. My muscles are movin n grove’n without worrying of making my body any more sore than it already is. Fun Fact: Saunas are my favorite detox. They help sweat off water weight, build your immune system (amen), help with pain, clearing skin and circulates your blood flow.

3. Abs Abs Abs
With my favorite workout in the sauna being abs it’s only right to think about the benefit of everyday abs. A constant routine will help strengthen your core which will lead to better breathing, better posture, assist you in excelling in sports, prevent lower back pain and everyones favorite, slim your waist line down. Mix these benefits with those from the sauna and it’s a perfect love story. My easy, everyday ab workout in the sauna includes:

30 feet together crunches
30 feet raised crunches
30 legs flat crunches
60 each side bicycles
60 each side penguins
30 normal crunches
25 each side side crunch
outside of sauna:
4×12 each side standing crunch with 25lbs
4×12 medicine ball toss incline sit-up 10lbs

4. Change up Your Workout
Many times people don’t see the results they’re hoping for because they go to the gym day in and day out, but do the same thing. Every time I go to the gym I like to challenge myself with something a little different. Whether it be a normal workout, but adding a higher weight + rep or maybe just finding a weird exercise out from a friend (the ones that aren’t scared of the weight room). Switching things up a little will start to build more muscle and make your body work harder than it’s trained to.

5. Keep. It. Up.
Going to the gym once is not going to give you an instant flat tummy (if u can make this happen lemme know). Making sure you keep up with your work out + healthy eating at least 80% of the time will help show you the results you have been looking for. This can be a hard one for a lot of people. I know personally I start my week strong, but when Friday rolls around it is time for nights out which leads to every college students weakness: cheesy bread. Eating junk food every now n then is not going to destroy what you’re working towards (your body is a lot smarter than you think).

My body is no where near perfect and I am still getting myself to stay on track, but with a healthy support system and motivated friends I am getting to where I strive to be. I do not have a set goal, nor do I hope to be “perfect”. Everyday I strive for progress, healthiness and happiness. See you soon spring break, I’m ready for ya.

xoxo

-Ashley

Fav quick, healthy snacks:
Whole grain tortillas + organic crunchy PB
Orange slices
Nutrigrain bars
yogurt + raspberries/peaches + almonds/granola
pitas w hummus (is this healthy? idk I am still eating it)
black tea

Fav shoulder + back workout
standing military – 3×8
plate lifts – 4×8
t raises – 4×8
arm curls w bar 3×8
tricep pull downs – 3×8
chest pulls – 4×8
single arm pulls – 3×8
assisted pull ups – 4×8
back pull downs – 4×8
barbell shrugs – 4×10
back extensions – 4×8
one arm dumbbell lift – 3×8 (each side)

Fav leg + booty workout
warm up on stair master rotate through side stepping, skipping steps and adjusting speed – 10-15 minutes
squats – 3×10
curtsy lunges – 3×8 (each side)
Hip abductors – 4×10
Hamstring curls – 4×8 (heavy)
calf raises w weight – 4×12
kickbacks w weight – 4×10
hip raises – 4×10

 

Finding What’s Good

Going into my 4th week of classes this semester I am starting to look at things a lot differently than I did 5 short months ago. Preparing myself for early morning classes, waking up in time to feed myself and focus on getting my work done on time has been a hard struggle to overcome.

Me time is what I have found to be good for me. Finding that time in my day to just breath, relax and not feel the weight of a  thousand item to do list sitting on my shoulders (more like on my pretty lily planner). Crazily I have discovered this awesome amenity my campus has to offer called light therapy (HAHA no this is not an ad). Now if you know me you know how RIDICULOUS I think therapy is, but this is one of another nature. I have been off and on sick since September with basically everything in the book (I wish I was kidding, I’ll make you a list). Light therapy has given me the me time I have been looking for (with lots of warmth). Every week, once or twice depending on this bipolar IN weather, I come to the wellness suite and sit my happy (cold) butt in front of a bright, cozy light. That’s right I just sit. I turn off my phone, computer and basically everything distracting from the outside world and throw my head back for 30 minutes. Lately I have been using this time to really think about my life and reflect on the goods and bads that have twisted themselves into my world. This time around I have been really distracted in my days by building my work ethic.

My work ethic does not have the best track record, especially when it comes to school. Last semester I could have tried harder, I could have gone the extra mile or heck I could have done the mandatory mile to the best of my ability, but I didn’t (what a bite in the butt). I struggled to find my balance. A balance between school and social life, something that brought me down where I should have been brought up. Don’t think I think anyone has the balancing act down (except maybe Beyonce) because what a world that would be, but I definitely have a strong sense everyone else has it down a lot better than I do. I would say “oh of course I can finish my homework in 20 minutes before class in the morning. That’s what noon classes are for, early cramming, I can totally go out tonight.” Going to college and meeting tons of new people makes it kinda hard to say no to all the amazing, endless opportunities even when I have things I know are more important that need my attention. I have a really, really bad habit of biting off more than I can chew. From extra curricular, to dinner dates, working out everyday (de-stressing, but also stressing bc I have a million  things to do) and just taking on whatever else anyone wants from me. I am a yes person and I know most people would agree that can be a very great trait, but when I have 2974049 things that need done, a yes is not always my best answer.

This semester I am setting goals and working to realign for the bettering of myself. My goals are set high, but not unattainable by any means. I pledge myself to become more of the person I preach to be, but lack to practice in my daily life. I hope to learn how to study harder (I’m a guilty crammer whoops). I strive to strengthen my trust in my sorority sisters, best friends and family. I aim to impress my professors with well thought out work that proves I am committed to my education. I believe I can continue to grow in a positive light through the love that surrounds me and my beautiful campus.

Reminding myself each and everyday can be better than the one before is a stepping stone that keeps me motivated. When things get hard and giving up on school seems like the best option I am reminded that I have been chosen for this path and I CHOOSE to be here. No one is saying this is the road I must follow, but for the sake of my future this is where I need to be. Each day I am going to begin to find what is good for me and continue to take advantage of me time. The way I can strengthen my ties with God while learning to love myself + others in a healthier way is positivity and a head held high. We are not always put in the best positions to make the best decisions, but the first place we can start is being grateful for what we have and how we can best use that to better our lives right now. I am not the best example to lead by by any means, but I refuse to follow in a path that lacks light no matter the lack of people. I will find the good and the balance I have been calling for, hoping for and needing for. Today I am thankful for what’s here and hopeful for what’s to come.

xox0x

Ashley

P.S. Fellow Boilermakers take advantage of light therapy though, you can thank me later.

37 Positive Reminders

Sitting here thinking about all the things that could have gone wrong or bad situations I have seemed to get myself stuck in over the years, I am very grateful I have the ability to bounce back with the help of such a strong support system. My biggest strength is being able to pick myself back up (even if it may take a few tries) and get back out there. Here are a few little things i tell myself that motivate me to just “keep swimming”:

1. You are SO loved.
2. Make some mistakes, learn from them, don’t repeat.
3. Grades do NOT define your intelligence.
4. Your worth is what you make of it, be a million bucks.
5. God has your back, even when you don’t.
6. At the end of the day, your dog will still want to give you kisses.
7. Chocolate chip cookies only take 13 minutes to bake, don’t let your freakout last longer than that.
8. Whatever you’re feeling, my girl Miley has a song for it.
9. A soul like yours is beautiful.
10. Creativity is fun, I have creativity. I am fun.
11. A life with no mistakes is boring.
12. The picture doesn’t always look pretty, but the moon & the stars don’t photograph well either.
13. Cuddles, hugs & kisses make everything better (even if they’re from your cat)
14. I have really really really AWESOME friends.
15. My future will be exactly what God has intended for me, I will get through it.
16. Sometimes an everything bagel toasted fixes problems.
17. The best days of my life haven’t even happened yet.
18. I have a family who loves me.
19. Wine comes in ice cream form.
20. When I tell a joke, people think its funny. My personally is lively.
21. I am a good listener.
22. Building someone else up will build you up just as much, do good feel good.
23. I am healthy.
24. Stress is just an attitude. Adjust accordingly.
25. A happy heart & a kind smile go a long way.
26. Happy endings do exist.
27. I am still brave when I am afraid.
28. You are doing better than you think. Keep going.
29. My brain is apart of my beauty. I can wow you with my mind and a naked face.
30. All anything takes is just 10 seconds of insane courage.
31. I have the power to be anything I want to be.
32. You are down, not out.
33. Winners never quit and quitters never win.
34. You are loved for all that you are and all you are raised to be.
35. We each have our own finish line.
36. You don’t have to play by the rules of the game. Have fun with it.
37. Whatever you’re feeling, just know you’re still feeling. You’re alive.

The path you follow might get a little rocky every now and then, but the journey is more important than the destination. Be happy. Be humble. Keep pushin on.

xoxox
Ashley