No Thank You, I’ll Buy My Own Drink

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Another night out with my girlfriends and I find myself analyzing every social interaction, despite how impaired I may be do to a few too many Rum Runners. The music blares and our laughter radiates throughout the bar, our current scene— I am having the time of my life, dancing away in the blur the flashing lights. New faces and old ones surround me, and some are getting closer than others, wanting to know my name they’ll forget by morning and where I’m from, so they may have a slim chance to make a hometown connection.

Maybe it could be chalked up to liquid courage, but they so freely touch my waist or push my hair behind my ear, as if I am a doll to be played with.

Some are hitting it off, some are barely conscious, and then there is me, and I’m sure many of you— overwhelmed. I love meeting new people, and sparking new conversations and listening to their stories, making new connections with faces I may never see again. The moments are fleeting, but freeing.

Then all a sudden, as the night goes on, I am hitting it off with someone, who then starts moving in too close, getting way too comfortable tracing over my curves, wanting to buy me drinks, wanting to bound me up in obligation.

As I know the ins and outs of going to bars, clubs, interesting scenes, there is no such thing as a free drink(s); there is always something tied to it— it may be simple like entertaining their company long after it becomes appealing, but some like to think that buying you drinks entails them to a right of passage.

So with that in mind, I say, “no thank you, I’ve got it” because I can’t accept a nice gesture without feeling as though they think I owe them, and it saddens me that too many women know this to be true all too well.

I know not all men think like this, I know there are exceptions, I know there are some genuine guys just doing something nice.

Yet, I want to reiterate to women everywhere—

You don’t owe anyone anything.

You are not obligated to anyone or anything.

You can go out and have fun with your friends without getting yourself into a question situation, out of fear of obligation.

So for the meantime, until this entitlement phase passes, I’ll be saying, “No thank you, I can buy my own drinks” and end up cuddled up with my girlfriends after a fun-filled night out.

Enjoy your time, and be safe ladies.

21 Things I’ve Learned By 21

21 Things I’ve Learned By 21

Some of us 21 year olds are getting engaged and starting families, some of us are in college or finishing cosmetology school, some of us are working away and joining unions, but there are three things we have in common: we are three years into adulthood, we are legal to consume alcoholic beverages, and we don’t really have it all figured out yet. However, I’ve journaled down thoughts that I’ve learned over the years and I think they may serve as nice reminders for you all. So here are the 21 things I’ve learned by 21:

  1. You’re young— know the difference between being selfish and valuing yourself. It’s okay to put yourself first, your future depends on it.

  2. When you’re upset, mad, or frustrated with someone, don’t start texting them a million things that you’ll later regret. Take a breather, and call them and meet up with them later. Texting solves absolutely nothing.

  3. Forgiving yourself and forgiving others is not an easy task, but it’ll set you free and allow you to move forward with your life.

  4. Quality over quantity, especially when it comes to friends; valuing close, genuine friends is so much more important than being surrounded by the masses.

  5. Your greatest power is being you, embrace that with everything you have.

  6. No matter how old you get, you have to follow the golden rule: treat others how you want to be treated because being kind and loving doesn’t cost you a thing.

  7. Make decisions that excite you, don’t make decisions based on what someone else wants you to do. You’ll end up, going in circles.

  8. When you put in the extra mile, it always pays off. The effort will serve as guidance for what the next move should be for you.

  9. There are spiteful people in this world, that are venomous with their words, but those people don’t deserve a place in your universe.

  10. Although there are hurtful people out there, there are also absolutely incredible ones who bring so much light and love into your life.

  11. With that being said, you never regret telling people you love them, value them, and appreciate their existence. Whenever you get the chance to engulf others in your admiration, do it.

  12. Enjoying your own company better be on your to-do list because people come and go, but you’re a constant and when the day turns into night, your mind must be kind to you.

  13. You don’t have to be who you’ve always been; there is room for change and growth and realizations to become who you are meant to be.

  14. You aren’t going to be liked by everyone, you’ll be too much for some and not enough for others. That discernment has nothing to do with you, and entirely to do with the person making those judgements.

  15. You DO NOT need a significant other to be whole. You DO NOT need a boyfriend. You DO NOT need someone to tell you you’re pretty, valued, and worthy; you should know you’re all those things without relying on those words of truths from someone else. You are complete, whole, and enough on your own.

  16. Taking the opportunity that fuels your curiosity and excitement is one well taken. Whether that’s moving, taking an internship, exploring a new country, you will find out new things about yourself along the way.

  17. Holding onto rage and anger hurts you more than anyone else; let that baggage go and know you don’t have to be bitter.

  18. Your circumstances do not and will not define you; you are not a statistic, you are a person and you can beat the odds.

  19. Sex can wait, but it doesn’t have to; whatever you prefer is right. Whether you’re in love or looking for a fun time, you must remember to be kind to your body and soul and make sure to value yourself and your sexuality. You don’t have to give yourself away to anyone who asks.

  20. Let life take you where it wants you to go, you’ll end up exactly where you’re meant to be.

  21. As cliche as it sounds, really don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game. You are an important and have a valuable mind that is unique, so know you have the ability to stand out and achieve all your wildest dreams. You will fail, oh you will fail plenty, but you just have to keep getting back up and try again.

So if you take anything away from my lengthy list, it’s that you are important, loved, and valued, and you should live your life with your urgency and drive.

Some Inspiration When Applying for Internships and Jobs

Some Inspiration When Applying for Internships and Jobs

Is there a science to getting your dream job or internship? The answer is sadly NO, and life would be too easy if that were the case. I read articles on Linedkin and blogs from business professionals, who do the hiring and what they look for, (one of my favorites is: Intern Queen )which is extremely helpful, but sometimes, all I can think is, ‘I’m applying online, with a resume I have spent two years revising, updating, and altering and get to answer a few mediocre questions about different things I’ve accomplished or done in my collegiate years, but my accomplishments and job history don’t exactly signify who I am, my level of dedication, or others qualities that may pull me ahead of all the competition.’

Well, I am here to say, don’t get discouraged and aim small.

You are going to get a lot of NO’s,

I’ve had my fair share of emails that say, “Thank you for your interest, but unfortunately……” Plenty, and I continuously do, but here’s the thing: I am shooting my shot, and applying for things that interest me, and I could see myself benefiting from, and as cliche as it sounds, every no is one step closer to that YES.

When applying for jobs and internships, you can’t forget that you want a position that is a good fit for you, too.

Not only do you want to be an asset for a company, but you also want to be in a spot to obtain new knowledge, grow, and benefit from your time there. It needs to be mutually beneficial, so don’t sell yourself short and take a job that doesn’t feel right for you.

Although my intentions are to work for myself when I graduate, I don’t have all the information necessary, just from my marketing 101, intermediate price theory class, etc.

I need to have real life experience— where I can figure out what my strengths and weaknesses are, so I can become well-rounded, and a generalist, with some wonderful specializations to be competitive and insightful.

I look at myself as a brand, and I continuously ask myself, “What do I bring to the table?” You find that out at internships, it’s great.

About a year ago, I took an internship with the Boston Red Sox and 47’ Brand, and I was honest, genuine, and real throughout the interview process, and luckily, it was one of my favorite YESes to date. My boss took me under her wing, and in the process of being a merchandising intern, I learned everything from buying, processing, inventory, accountability, time management, handling money, and visuals. I lived in the moment with this internship, taking it all in and aware that I did not know it all, and wanted to learn all there was. One internship turned into the next and I spent the summer in Boston, seeing the large scaled operations, and loved it. I added to my resume and skillset, and again this spring, I will be working for them.

With that little short account of my internships, I want to say it’s important to trust your gut and do what you think will add value to your life and skillset. I had never expected to do something in merchandising, but things work out exactly the way it’s meant to. So you too will have a company take a chance on you, and that’s where you need to shine.

So in the process of finding who you are and what you want, keep advising that resume, taking leadership roles on campus, raising that GPA, and applying for things that seem to be out of your league because it will all pay off soon enough.

You’ve got this, and you will get there soon!

xo,

Thoughtful Blonde

5 Ways To De-stress From Your Chaotic Life

5 Ways To De-stress From Your Chaotic Life

 

Creating a balance isn’t always ideal— especially when work or school or family life is overwhelming and prominent. We can’t always control our circumstances, but we can control our stress levels with some life hacks to put some ease back into our normal, filled day. Being a college student, who works and has a full class load with extracurriculars, I don’t have an overabundance of time for some R&R, so here are some of the tricks I use to destress whenever I’m about to lose my marbles.

 

  1. About a year ago, I started to try something new whenever I had a rough day or needed a pick-me-up and that was Meditation, eventually it just became part of my everyday routine. It leaves me feeling at peace and uplifted, no matter my situation. To get a great meditation app, download the Deepak and Oprah 21-Day Meditation Experience or if you are in Fort Myers/Naples area, there are Drop-In Meditation classes  but once you make this part of your everyday, the “big” stressers don’t seem so big and bad.
  2.  Yoga. Hear me out, yoga is by no means easy, but you don’t have to be good, flexible, or athletic to enjoy it. I started going to yoga on Fort Myers Beach, and loved the environment and relaxation I got from it. So even though I can’t make to the beach every Saturday morning for yoga, I find time to do it at home with my yoga mat from T.J.Maxx.  Some great apps I use are– Yoga Studio and Daily Yoga and also if you want more information on the best Yoga apps, Healthline is a great resource.
  3. Making time to focus on your health and being active is so important. When I work out, everything else is put on hold and I get to focus on me and where I’m at. If you don’t have time for a gym, download The Handstand App for fitness plans and workouts. If you can join a gym, I go to LA Fitness and really enjoy the equipment and classes, and I’m also a fan of Crunch Gym. However, I do want to start going to my University’s gym FGCU more to workout, so see if your school has one so you can swing by after studying or class!
  4. Cooking isn’t always my speciality, but it’s something I’m working on. I’m always finding recipes I want to make and I get most inspired from foodie blogs. Anyways, as basic as it sounds, I google yummy food that is also healthy and started making some of those: Healthy Yummy Food and one of my favorite Food Blogger’s site called Daily Dose of Pepper   or you can be like me, and like to bake. In that case, I love Baking with Blondie  and anything chocolate, so of course, here’s some delicious recipes to take your mind off of anything else: Chocolate Heaven
  5. Lastly, when I’m stressed or having a less than fabulous day, I try to find some distraction. Something that isn’t work or tedious or overwhelming, so what’s better than online shopping….. not much. I like to keep a budget, so I don’t recommend doing this everyday, but here are some of my favorites to bring you a little bit of happiness. For jewelry: Gem and Company For clothing: Thirty One Boutique and Henri Girl.

Let’s continue to be GirlBosses, who find peace in the midsts of all the chaos. You’ve got this and you are capable!

xo, Ash

 

 

 

 

Love The Guy Who Doesn’t Love You Back

Love The Guy Who Doesn’t Love You Back

Then, KICK HIM TO THE CURB!

We have a long list of what we want in a partner— loving, compassionate, honest, understanding, stable, etc. It varies from person to person, as wants and needs are different for everyone, but at the end of the day, we want someone who loves us wholeheartedly. We jokingly say we want our own Thomas Rhett and Lauren Akin love, or we want the relationship our parents have or our best friends who are so madly in love. We see these beautiful couples with so much love for one another, but we only endure another letdown and heartbreak, not trying to be dramatic when I’m only 21 and I have so much going on that doesn’t involve having someone by my side.

You’ll find exactly what you’re looking for in the end, but here’s where some of us end up for a period of time in our love stories.

You end up falling for the guy who doesn’t love you back…..

The guy who doesn’t make plans with you.

The guy who uses you when at his convenient.

The guy who leaves you left on read for three days.

The guy who doesn’t communicate with you.

The guy who leaves you hanging on by a thread.

The guy who isn’t enough for you.

You should love the guy who isn’t enough for you.

Then, leave and know you deserve so much more than mediocre, more than decentish times.

Love can be complicated at times because it can’t be one-sided to be true. I once had a boyfriend, for a very short period, who adored me and treated me with so much respect and love; I could even compare him to Thomas Rhett in countless, thoughtful instances, but I wasn’t his Lauren Akin. My heart didn’t desire that love, and it ended. He deserved more than I was willing to give, so I set him free and I only pray those experiences touch his life in a positive light.

Then, there’s the polar opposite: you get a guy who you fall for and treat him as though he walks on water, but it isn’t mutual. This is important and I think it’s vital to experience— loving someone who doesn’t love you in return. When you constantly have to fight reality and convince yourself this is worth keeping, you’ve already lost.

When you are in a situation like this, once you are done, you will never, ever settle again; you will look right through the bullshit of excuses and know they just don’t feel the same, and it isn’t worth your time, energy, or tears.

You are meant for a beautiful love, and after experiencing this, it will only make you appreciate it more and in the future, you’ll give your love more wholeheartedly to someone who actually deserves it and honors you.

One day, you’ll find a love that’s mutual and full, so in the meantime, you should leave behind the guy who isn’t right for you, no matter how YOU feel about him.

xo,

Ash

 

A Whole Lot Of Optimism And Faith

A Whole Lot Of Optimism And Faith

I know something great is coming because I believe God is putting battles and obstacles in my life, so I can appreciate my life, my future accomplishments, and the relationships with my loved ones even more. Everything in my being tells me something big is in the works, and when I finally let go of other’s burdens and let go of my own resentment and pain, my energy can go towards the life of my dreams. Recently, life hasn’t been a walk in the park, like I had planned, but somehow, everything is working out exactly the way I need it to.

Although it’s not turning out picture perfect, I know I needed to experience the pitfalls to get to where I am now.

I guess there is a way you want things turn out, and there is a way you actually need them to, even if you don’t see it at the time; sometimes you need a win and sometimes you need to learn a lesson and use that to make better decisions for yourself in the future.

Things aren’t always going to turn out the way you thought, but life’s about figuring out how to make things work when everything seems to be falling through. I’ve learned lately and many of you can probably relate to the fact, we can’t control other’s actions or the way they treat us, and we definitely can’t control who loves us and who wants to be in our lives, but we can make conscious decisions to value ourselves, our needs and not be content with being in environments that don’t support us.

With every failed relationship, marriage, friendship, and opportunity, it’s best to focus on what you’ve learned from it and how it’s going to better you, and with that mindset, you are free and no longer have to carry around burden of another ending.

You have a choice: you can either play victim and act as if life is crumbling when your plans are interrupted or you can embrace the change coming and use that transition time to rebuild and become the person you want to be. It’s all up to you, but I promise when you let go of resenting change and open up your heart up to all the possibilities, your life will be hundred times better.

I am so thankful for the hardships I’ve endured recently because it teaches me to be flexible, receptive to the environment around me, and enjoy life, even when it seems to be beating me down.

Life is too short to be unhappy, but your happiness is a choice and you get to make that choice for every situation, no matter how heartbreaking it may be.

Optimism is your door way into your next big endeavor. You must believe that when one door closes, two more are going to open up for, and it’s imperative you take the leap and have faith into your next journey because what is to come is greater than anything you are leaving behind.

I’m not sure what’s next or what’s coming, but I have heard many times, “God laughs when you make plans.” so I trust that something monumental is upon me and I’m ready for the adventure ahead.

Ladies, This Is Not A Competition

Ladies, This Is Not A Competition

Better than I was yesterday. That’s who I want to be.

Going through life changes and actually evaluating yourself is at often times challenging, but we make it more difficult than it needs to be. When we look in the mirror and analyze who we are, we are gazing over the exterior first and then sinking deep into our soul; we constantly highlight our flaws and what we’d change, both physically and in our personality, and as we do that, we are subconsciously comparing ourselves to the girl who seemingly has it all together. “Comparison is the thief of joy” but it’s all we do. 

Social media will be the death of us. We see the girl who is Instagram famous with a million guys pining over her and two million girls dying to be her. We see her highlight reals and perfect selfies. We see her excelling, and having the perfect hair, body, friends, family, house, etc. We see perfection when we analyze her, but when we look into ourselves, we see flaws and imperfections. We see everything that is wrong. But why? Why are we so quick to adore others, but forget to see our worth? Ladies, we are not in competition with one another; we all have different strengths and weaknesses and far different hearts. 

Having a pretty, symmetrical face doesn’t make you more beautiful than the girl who has a soul that radiates.

We have this mixed up perception that others don’t struggle with the things we do, but I promise they do. We work tirelessly to keep our flaws hidden, like we are the only one who struggle with anxiety or depression or have shaming circumstances. We assume the girl that is smiling with her perfect friend group is what we should be aiming for, but we have no idea what goes on behind closed doors. We don’t know who she is without her mask; being real, especially on social media, is seldom the case, but yet we compare like it’s our day job. We are all guilty of it, like highlighting or acknowledging our flaws to the world is lethal, but it’s needed.

Self-love is a crazy concept because that means accepting and loving yourself with all your craziness included.

You can love yourself while wanting to better yourself, but do it from a place in your soul that craves to be a better you for you. It’s all about intentions so only compare yourself to the person you were yesterday and keep improving to be the best version of yourself. You will be so loved and beautiful.

 

xo,

Ash

Time For Change: Goodbye To The “Dumb Blonde” Stereotype

Time For Change: Goodbye To The “Dumb Blonde” Stereotype

Defying stereotypes one day at a time.

The other day someone said to me, “No offense, but before I got to know you, I never expected you to be so intelligent and thoughtful.” She said, “I thought you were going to just be another cute girl with nothing going on up there.”

That’s when I realized that’s the message I want to bring to the table and my passion brings me to this point; we are not our stereotypes, we are not people’s prejudices, perceptions, or judgements. In this world, it’s simple and easy to fall into a category that you don’t belong in, but at the end of the day, you need to be your real authentic self and the rest will follow.

We can’t control how other’s view us or their judgements or biases towards us, but we can control how we present ourselves and react. I know who I am; I am Ashley— a loving, intelligent, courageous, thoughtful leader, who isn’t belittled by someone’s idea of me as a “dumb blonde” or incapable of hanging with the big dogs.

Ask yourself— who are you? Be confident in your answer, feel it in your heart, and forget what other’s may think. Your confidence will drive you, and allow you to create success and your brand.

Another thing, being an Economics major, a large percentage of my class is made up of men, but that’s just a reminder to me that I am worthy and capable of making a difference and bringing insight to the table. I belong there, and so do you.

I want to represent, well-rounded women in all aspects of my life while defying stereotypes that women can’t be both pleasing to the eye and intuitive, profound, and inspiring.

I see women doing it everyday, making strides and being successful, and we won’t stop until we can live in a world where we are viewed as worthy, capable, and beautiful. Let’s empower one another to make that happen. 

 

 

Xo, 

Ash

You Might As Well Learn Your Lesson The Hard Way

You Might As Well Learn Your Lesson The Hard Way

That’s when you learn the most.

Looking back on all the pivotal moments in my life can sometimes make me cringe or laugh or even want to burying my head in a pillow from embarrassment, but besides the different emotions I associate with my ups and downs, each failure, let down, and eye-opening experience was completely necessary. There were many cases where I didn’t handle things “properly” or display myself in the best light and then there were moments I felt pathetic, stupid, and worthless. There were experiences that stomped a little on my heart and pushed me to my limits, but as I grow and look back onto those experiences, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Everything happened exactly the way it needed to in that moment, no matter how I reacted, portrayed myself, or felt.

At 20, I still don’t have all the answers, and I’m wise enough to know I never, ever will. I have walked through a lot on my journey so far and still have plenty to go, but the knowledge and thoughtfulness I’ve accumulated over the years has brought me to these realizations.

You can’t change the past, that’s definite. Thinking about how you handled a break-up over and over again or the conversation you had, will not change it. You can take responsibility for what you’ve done and how you’ve handled things, but at the end of the day, we are all human— we’re learning, growing, and handling things our own way. Here’s a friendly reminder: there’s no wrong or right way of doing life. Your perception of the past is what it is, but now you have the present and eventually the future, so it’s important to take what you’ve learned and apply it to what’s to come. As cliche as it sounds, you are not your past and it doesn’t define you, but let it shape you into someone you’re proud of.

Now with your hard-learned lessons, recognize and acknowledge that you act out or let your emotions run rampage or that you need to watch your tongue or any of your so called “flawed” characteristics, so in future cases, you don’t allow yourself to make the same decisions that leave you feeling beneath yourself.

Growth is continuous and never-ending, so baby steps are okay too. It’s vital to remember how you felt in certain moments and why, so your heart and mindset can be in line with your actions and the way you communicate.

Most lessons suck, let’s be honest. Whether it’s locking your keys in the car, fighting with your best friend, getting that hard-core reality check, transferring colleges, the list could go on forever, but let’s be thankful we aren’t the same person we were five years ago or even six months ago. As I’ve said before, I have countless lessons to go before I’m wise, but shifting my mindset to valuing hard times as a learning experience has changed the game for me.

It’s Okay To Have A Mr. Right Now

It’s Okay To Have A Mr. Right Now

Previously featured on: HARNESS MAGAZINE

One day, you’re going to wake up, so in love with the person laying next to you. You’re going to be over the moon, head over heels for the person you’re going to spend forever making memories with. The pieces of your heart will be mended back together and those guys who broke your heart throughout the years won’t matter in the slightest bit, and you’re going to thank God for not answering your pleading prayers about so and so after many sleepless nights. You won’t have to question if you’re good enough, you’ll know you are. You will feel complete and loved and oh so important.

One day, all of this nonsense will have a purpose and all the heartaches or little love affairs will only be simple memories. However, today is not that day because we woke up in our empty bed, checking to see if the boy we like finally texted us back, only to be let down and disappointed.

We woke up, wanting more love in our lives and impatiently waiting for that day to come. So in the meantime between today and someday, here’s a few thoughts and reminders: you can’t make someone fall in love with you and your soulmate is probably not the guy you’ve been stalking on Instagram for the last two months. Also, everything works exactly the way it’s meant to with who it’s suppose to work with. Love has a funny way of working it’s way into our lives and before we know it, it’s all consuming and right, but sometimes, love can stay dormant, just long enough to make us question if Mr. Right will ever come around.

For me, I started out my adult life, in a committed relationship and that carried on until almost the start of sophomore year in college and while I was in the relationship, I learned an overabundance about myself, my worth, and what I need when it’s time for my next relationship.

Even Mr. Right might not be your Mr. Right. He may be a great guy— charming, lovable, and impressive— but you and I both deserve a guy who looks at us like we put the stars in the sky and loves us for the way our inner light shines.

I’ve learned I’m a believer that true love should be kind, all-consuming, and beautiful, but I also learned true love requires patience, openness, and God’s blessing.

When I got out of my lengthy relationship, I was convinced love had failed and with a valiant effort, it could not be saved. BUT, love never fails. True love never fails. It’s okay to have fun with Mr. Right Now because when it’s time for Mr. Right, he will be there, ready to love you with everything in his being and vise versa.

The best things happen when we aren’t searching for it— our own serendipity. If you are anything like me, continue loving deeply and exploring different avenues as new people enter your life, but you don’t have to be consumed with finding the one. When it’s meant to be, it will be and all will be right in the world. So it’s okay to kiss Mr. Right Now, but don’t expect him to be the one you bring home to meet your mom and love you forever.