The (Girl) is Back in Town

Back in London and it feels like I never left. It's amazing how I can so easily slip into an old life: I instinctually remember what tube stops to change at to catch my next train, I recall the shortcuts and alleyways to whizz through to beat the crowds, and all my British English is in tact (i.e. ordering food for 'take away' as opposed to 'to go'). My body remembers how to be a Londoner--what a happy realization that this will always be a second home for me.

As per usual, I've been having very contemplative, deep thoughts while sitting on the train (oh, how I've missed the trains!). I've been thinking about how this place somehow evokes a spark within my soul, and if I should consider a return. I don't know for sure that I will return, but I do know deep down that I would return. I guess I can only leave it at that for now.

What I do know is this: I feel strong here. Probably because this is a place where I gained true independence and built a community and a life from scratch. Because of that, this will always be more than a home for me, but a symbol of freedom.


Travel Day

You know how a lot of girls are giddy over the thought of their wedding day? Replace wedding day with traveling, and you will understand the very soul of who I am.

Today I leave for London! I may blog a couple times while there if feeling inspired, but otherwise don't be surprised if I'm a bit absent for the next two weeks...



A Post on Failure

Recently I went for something I really wanted, and I fell short.

Ugh. I do hate when that happens. And at the same time I sort of love it. Losing an opportunity always reminds me that there are lots of opportunities out there. Feeling like I failed is, at the very least, a feeling. What's worse than failing is not putting yourself out there at all. Period. A life without feeling is my worst fear!

"Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously, that you might as well have not lived at all; in which case, you've failed by default." -- J.K. Rowling

The typical bike metaphor works so well here. Basically, we were all bound to fall off that damn bike while learning how to ride. That first fall is the worst, but the others that follow get progressively undramatic. Somehow, failure leads to trying more, and then a realization that failure is simply part of the process. Once you manage to stay on the seat, you feel like you're flying, don't ya?

Might I call my recent failure a muse in disguise? Oh yes, it's inspired me to start going for [the biggest] opportunities again. Because I can dare to fail.


The Change Up

Wanted to de-clutter and play around with a new layout. Still might change the header, though! Feels good to do a bit of spring summer cleaning.

Image from Pinterest (where else?)
Layout from Carrie Loves Design Studio


As For Me, I'm Looking for a Little Chaos in My Life

This post is pretty necessary; not so much for me, but more so for ALL THE LADIES.

I can not tell you how many times I have heard some variation of this complaint in the last 3 weeks from friends: "I've had panic attacks over the fact I am not in a relationship/married/having kids/(fill in perceived life crisis here)!!!"

Honestly, people are freakin' out! Now, I know. I'm at that age. The age where the pressure is THICK: 29 years old. You would think that we all die at 30, given this psychotic urge to accomplish every life milestone, NOW.

Whoa, guys, whoa! I'm going to go ahead and say this: if you are always trying to plan your life, when exactly are you living your life? 

The push to have kids, be married, and be on "the plan" has affected me less, because well...I'm weird. Well, maybe not so much weird as understanding of the fact that this is MY LIFE. MY JOURNEY. MY UNIQUE STORY. That means I get to write this anyway I choose! If I want to go live in Granada, Spain for two years completely disregarding any notion of marrying or having kids in "my prime," I can! (And I would).

Even if you want marriage and kids, you need to ask yourself, do you truly want them now? Or do you want them because you've been told that's what you should have at this time in your life? Are you a follower in your own damn life???? (harsh, but true). 

Going to England in 2012 at the age of 27 was the best thing I have ever done in my life. Why? Because it went against any sort of plan I should have been following, and aligned more with the desires of my little Ashley heart. It also introduced some chaos to my life, which is the most refreshing medicine to stress, anxiety, and panic attacks!

There is something freeing in learning how to let life unfold the way it is supposed to instead of trying to mold and manipulate life into what you think it's supposed to be. Planning can be so limiting.  Especially when we waste time trying to implement someone else's plans into our lives. Or try to speed up plans before their time. Because sometimes, SOMETIMES, life has bigger plans for us than what we could have even imagined or thought up.

As for me, I prefer a little chaos.


That Time I Got Dunked in the Kiddie Pool on the Fourth

Yeah. That happened this weekend.

It started with an innocent water balloon fight, and turned into this.

Maybe proof that water balloon fights are never innocent.

Ryan was just so proud of his dirty deed. So I splashed him in the face with a bucket full of water (or three). Even Stevens.

Ok, so secretly I enjoy getting dunked in the pool (don't tell anyone!). I can definitely say this Fourth of July was a true, fun, 'Merican affair! 

 Red Cup Chic. 

I wasn't the only one who got dunked in the pool. In fact, everyone got dunked in a pool or jacuzzi by the end of the night!

Hope your Fourth was smashing, dahhhhling! Now excuse me while I got on a bit of a diet this week and lay off the booze! 


Favorite Thing Thursday

And the good times and favorite things keep on rollin...my favorite things from this week have included:

1. 70-Degree Water Temperature at the Beach

 Um, that's almost unheard of for the Pacific! 

2. This Mug

My parents laughed as they handed this gift to me, saying, "this is so you." Alas, it is. 

3. Hello Kitty Donuts

Yeah, SD has hopped on the specialty donut bandwagon. 

4. A Blank and New Passport

At first I was bothered by its blankness. And then I thought about all the possibilities. 


Always Believe in the Good

There is danger when we view each other in absolutes. Humans are not either good or evil, right or wrong, primal or civilized. We are a mix of all, and even more in between. The gray areas in our lives are what makes us human, and that is beautiful. We can bond in our imperfections if we choose to--love instead of hate, and all that business.

If you believe your friend has transgressed against you, what is your first response? To condemn, or to listen? Is it possible to encounter one another with understanding even when red with anger? Are you the one casting the first stone?

These are things I have been pondering of late. I want to remain in a place where I can see the good in people, first and foremost. It's not naive to believe humans have good intentions; nay, it is the worthwhile way to live.

See the good.

Believe in the good. 


Favorite Thing Thursday

Haven't done one of these in awhile, but I still can't help but remind myself that good things happen all the time. This week, my favorite things included:

1. Booking Train Tickets and a Tour in Scotland

I love trains. I love castles. I AM BEYOND EXCITED FOR THIS TRIP. *calming down, but totally not calming down* We decided to book this tour. Mighty nice price!

2. Laughing Over This Gender Bending Article

 Male Pocahontas is hot! 

3. Drinking Tension Tamer Tea While Watching P.S. I Love You
I am SUCH a chick! 

What was one of your favorite things from this past week? 

Picture credits: 1/2


Rejuvenation After a Tough Week

Last week was tense and unkind. I wanted to go into the new week with a renewed energy, so I took a Saturday to unwind, focus on me, and indulge in girly stuff. It was a day where I didn't necessarily want to talk to a bunch of people, or go a ton of places; rather, I was looking for an at-home spa experience.
Sir William Bedfellow and me takin' it easy. 

Ashley's Steps to Rejuvenation on a Saturday:

1. Start the day with a meal that makes you happy. For me, that was waffles and french pressed coffee! 

2. Watch all the bad TV and movies. I'm talking about the trashy reality shows and over-the-top chick flicks. I chose Ladies of LondonEndless Love, and Magic Mike. This will take your mind off problems, at least for a bit (yes, I believe a little distraction is necessary). 

3. Relax. Practice a yoga routine. I picked a cheeky Austin yogi to run me through some anxiety releasing moves. 

4. Pamper. My hair has been dry, so I scoured the interwebs for an easy at-home deep conditioning treatment for hair. I like this coconut oil one. Also, because my sleep has been erratic, the dark circles I've been sporting are not so pretty. INTERNET TO THE RESCUE AGAIN! I made a simple turmeric mask for under eye dark circles: mix honey and yogurt in a bowl and add a couple tablespoons of turmeric. The amount of honey and yogurt is up to you! Smear under the eyes and leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water. 

5. Give yourself a break from bad thoughts. Just push the negative out of your mind. Focus on letting yourself relax. When the negative thoughts resurface, just say, "Shut yo mouth!"

6. Only do this for a day. I wanted to be alone on Saturday, but Sunday I was right back out there, socializing and watching the US soccer game (UGGGHHH, boys...a tie?!?).

Having a day of rejuvenation gets you refreshed and back into the game. Now only if our USA team would get back into the game! ARGH!

Here's to a better week!