Travel Guide: Puerto Rico & Wedding Recap….

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I’ve been to a lot of beautiful places like Punta Cana, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, St. Marteen, St. Kitts, and all over the Florida Keys. I’ve seen countless sunsets and played in the sand of many beaches, but nothing was as beautiful as Isabel, Puerto Rico. My mom got married this past weekend there and the photos don’t even do it justice.  

The happiness and care free vibes of the locals were contagious, and it was a blissful time. We stayed at Villa Montaña Beach Resort and had an amazing trip. Instead of staying in a single house or at a hotel/condo style, we had our own individual villas. We were all next to one another, but still had our space to recoup and relax.

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Trip Advisor Review of VMBR

We were only there for a weekend and my 22nd, but we spent the two days laying out by the water, swimming in the pools, walking the beach, and devouring delicious food at the restaurant, The Eclipse. It had the cutest boho vibe, and amazing service. They even hooked us up with a bonfire to end my 22nd with s’mores.

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Now to get to the good stuff….

THE WEDDING!

All I have to say, with the ease of the wedding and the guidance of Ashley Wright for putting on the most beautiful ceremony at sunset, a destination wedding is the way to go. So I’ve put together a few of my favorite photos from the day because a picture says a thousand words and I love all the love in these shots….

 

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From drinking Carlos’s coconut water to splashing in the water at the end, everything was perfect. We are all over the moon happy for Mom and Mark!

#destinationwedding #weddinginspiration

 

 

When You Begin to Understand Your Worth

When You Begin to Understand Your Worth

 

The days became shorter, as the moments fluttered with urgency and I no longer got lost in the wonderment of dissatisfaction.

I walk through each door as if I own the room and I belong, but I had spent so many years putting my head down and weaving in and out of crowds I couldn’t face, filled with jealousy that they had a place and I was an outsider. Now, years later, I know the truth— I belong in each moment, each pathway because I choose to, not because anyone makes me feel welcomed.

This world, this life is a mindset, you can have the victim mentality or you can be the hero of your own story, you’ll never be completely free until you can look yourself in the mirror and know you’re worthy and lovable. I would look at my reflection outside and behind closed doors and worry, question, and fear that I was not good enough, that I am not worthy of blessings, that I am lacking when others are more put together, little did I know, everyone is a basket case, but not a single soul is a lost cause. I am not a lost cause. Some say people never change, that who they are is engrained on the walls of their body, but I believe the patterns morph and transform into who that person is meant to be— I’m morphing into who I am meant to be.

If we stayed the same, if nothing ever changed in our hearts, our world would be stagnant.

Our first love would be our only love and our hatreds would last a lifetime, and we know that’s not our reality, we fall in and out of love like it’s going out of style and I can’t keep a grudge for the life of me, but that’s because I realize that life is precious, moments should be valued and that genuine love should be at the root of every interaction.

Things are learned, patience is accrued and time is something you can never get back. One word: special, rings in the back of my head— it screams as I look for a once in a lifetime love, a one in billion personality, a heart of gold. I don’t even waste my time on the questionable when my feelings are on the edge, ready to flee and jump into the unknown to avoid to the mediocrity that surrounds me.

I can feel it draining my contagious energy when it’s not full, and I run. I don’t run because I am scared of commitment or love, I run because I am scared of settling and lack there of. Waking up one morning consumed with “what if’s” and “whys” is my greatest fear and I use it as fuel to be better, to love greater, and require more because I refuse to be “content” or have just enough when it comes to my life and future.

With a world as wide and full, I know there is room for me to achieve greatness and sculpt the map of my heart to endure hardships and remain resilient, optimistic.

Along the way, I’ve been given a purpose and know myself well enough to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, to not fitting in, to standing out. So, I take each moment and spin it at my will, knowing these days are good, but it’s only going to get better, it’s only going up from here, my heart promises so.

A Key To A Happier You: Forgiveness

A Key To A Happier You: Forgiveness

This past week I was in Chicago for the holidays and somehow, Chicago has a way of inspiring me to produce my best work. So here are some of my recent thoughts on forgiveness and self-love.

The city evokes my curiosity, the wonderment of the unknown, uncertainty, and largeness of the masses. As I grow older and have new experiences under my belt, I begin to wonder, could I find sanctuary in the chaos? I don’t say home because home, for me, is more of feeling and less of a residency— home never quite felt like home and love from just family never felt quite whole, so I searched for a substitute for what I lacked my whole life.

I came up empty, filled with resentment, anger, and even jealousy to those who had what I did not.

Now, my heart understands and my mind is on the same page— disappointment runs in my veins because I create these expectations in my head about how people should be, act, and care for me when the reality is, most things don’t revolve around me and their inconsiderate manner is just part of their universe.

I can’t change them, especially when my resentment covers me like a silent plaque, until I am no longer accepting their existence. I go ghost into my own world, uninviting and shrill to their ideology, because no matter how they cling to me, I act as though it’s never enough, and that is entirely on me. My skin screams to be touched, to be hugged, and to be loved, but their presence only lingers in the back of the room, refusing to put forth effort I desperately crave.

For a long time, this one undeniable thought laid prominent in the center of my mind through all my acts, “I’ll never be enough for you.”

But through the years, it’s not that I am not enough for them, but actually the opposite begins to ring true. That I know, and how is that fair for me to be so judgmental and act as though I am superior? When I am not, nobody in this world is.

So I chase it back to the source—

I take a look at who I am and what my needs are, and focus on some of my truths.

I would never be happy in a small town with small minds and small endeavors with the social norm being to marry young and have babies to carry on the name to raise up to be football jocks and record breaking stars. I would never be happy to work for someone day in and day out with little growth, no new knowledge, no experience that leaves me feeling fulfilled and enlightened. I would never be happy, if I chose to stay instead of leaving for my next adventure, but with choices comes opportunity costs and trade offs.

In order to take on a new adventure, I had to say goodbye to the only house I ever knew, goodbye to the closeness of my father, goodbye to my best friends who have been by my side almost every hour of every day.

I had to embrace the loneliness of the newness in hopes of finding what my soul needed most; Fear lingered, but I never allowed it to make me back down. See, I have no problem engulfing myself in new passions and desires, but when I try to free my heart of the restraints of sadness I’ve endured, I refuse.

I refuse to start new with the ones I love most— I refuse to truly forgive and let down my walls I’ve built up to keep them out, but that’s the start of my journey to self-love.

In order to love myself, I must be free from my burdens, relinquish any hate festering in my soul, any and all unsettlements to my soul and I’m starting with taking responsibility for my soul actions and acknowledging my imperfections, bruises, and lackings in a vulnerable way to heal and repair what I view as broken.

Who I am— is what my soul exudes. I have the choice to be a better, more loving version of myself, who honors effort and has faith in mankind, who understands most people are just doing the best they can. People love differently, handle stress differently, communicate differently— not wrong, just because it’s different than what I choose to do. I’m aware that love needs to be at the center of all interactions, and people deserve second, even third and fourth chances, without having burdens held over their head.

Forgiveness for yourself, forgiveness for others will be the one thing that will restore your faith in unconditional love.

I’ve linked one of my favorite articles below, so check that out!

Forgive… And Feel Happier

You’ve got this,

Ash

 

 

 

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

Being a GirlBoss with HBO

Being a GirlBoss with HBO

This is a sponsored partnership with HBO and Her Campus. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Thoughtful Blonde possible!

Whenever my mom calls me, she doesn’t even try to guess where I am anymore because I am everywhere and anywhere, between meetings, clubs, school, events, volunteering, and working.

Lately, life has been extremely crazy and filled from sun up to sun down, but I’m sure you can relate. I just finished curating my spring schedule for school, creating a budget for my organization, pitching an idea with a program I’m involved in, interviewing for summer internships, attending classes, taking exams, and the list could go on all day.

While I have a mini-rant about all the things I have to achieve that are diligently written down in my overflowing planner, I remind myself– I need to make time for things I enjoy and escape from the craziness so I don’t get buried down in all business, and no play. Sometimes, my brain is moving so fast and I’m suppose to be in more than one place at a time, as if that were actually possible. Wouldn’t that be nice?

However, no matter how busy I get, I have a constant escape— HBO Go and HBO NOW

Of course I have certain shows I refuse to miss like Game of Thrones and Ballers when they air, but sometimes, life gets in the way and I’m forced to avoid social media until I get on the HBO Go App or go to https://play.hbogo.com and watch the episodes I missed. Every season, every episode is patiently waiting for me to watch on my own time, which is perfect, when I don’t have a consistent schedule. Who says you can’t balance it all? Let’s just leave out the social life aspect though because I value curling up in my bed, in sweatpants to catch up on my shows more than going out and being social, more often than not.

 

So, I downloaded the HBO Go App on my phone and that has made life so much more enjoyable during the little bit of extra time I do have. Whether it’s downtime between classes or meetings or waiting on my friend who is always 30 minutes late, I just catch up on some of my favorite series or explore some of the new HBO movie options. So the downtime is fine because it’s easily filled with exciting new love connections and plot twists from HBO Go and HBO Now.

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ALSO, a really great charity event and giveaway HBO does is “Night of Too Many.”  HBO will be giving away 2 tickets to A Night of Too Many Stars in NYC (with hotel and airfare covered). On Nov.18th at 8pm (ET), HBO will be airing NIGHT OF TOO MANY STARS: UNITES FOR AUTISM PROGRAMS. With an estimated 1 in 68 children currently affected by autism, this was created to support autism schools, programs, and services and they’ve raised over 24$ million to date. So in order to be entered into this giveaway, post a picture of something you have “Too Many of” with the hashtags #NightsofTooManyStars & #Contest because you already know you have too many shoes, too many makeup pallettes, and one too many homework assignments.

For giveaway rules: http://notmscontestrules.dja.com/

For more info: INFO or http://itsh.bo/NOTMSTickets

To view the trailer for this awesome event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bl3JqKXO_OU

No purchase necessary. Ends 11/8. Open to residents if the 48 contiguous US and D.C., 18+

So check out my entry for this #contest #TooManyOf #NightsofTooMany

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I totally have too many books– maybe you can call me a hoarder or an excellent collector, but books are the one thing I have #TooManyOf so show HBO what you have #TooManyOf and good luck! You’ll see this on my IG: 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