HOW I ORGANIZE MY PRIORITIES

Passion Planner

Have you ever caught yourself too busy to do the things most important to you, even though you really want to do something? Yep, me too. I truly feel as though we live in a world where we are all “so busy” that we get caught up telling everyone just how busy we are while we run around from one volunteer event, to brunch, to a work thing, + then home just in time to watch some silly reality show that really shouldn’t be a priority in the first place, but we need an escape from the chaos. Sound about right?

I have been catching myself caught up in this “busy” web far too often + it’s time to cut out all of the crap. I’ve sat down over the holiday weekend to prioritize the stuff that matters most to me. It doesn’t mean that the things that were at the bottom of my list weren’t important, it just means that it was time for me to re-structure what was taking the front seat of my crazy ride + check it back in the driveway. Sometimes all of the chaos doesn’t deserve a ride after all.

It’s true that I volunteer, I’m the Vice-Chair of a women’s training organization, I mentor girls + women, I’m an officer of an all-women’s Toastmaster’s public speaking group, married, just bought my first house with my incredible husband + I’m trying to find the time to manage my blog + grocery shop once a week… yikes! All of these things are super important to me but I need a space to keep it all in order (+ if I’m being honest, keep myself in-check). I know you’re busy with your commitments, finding time to work out, try that new recipe you’ve been wanting to get around to, have lunch with an old friend, do something for you. This might be the thing that helps you prioritize your life too!

I’ve been using Passion Planner for 3 years now + I can honestly say that’s it’s transformed the way I think about what I commit to, how I prioritize my day + what I allow time to worry about or have fun doing each week. Check out the gorgeous designs + options on PassionPlanner.com + find the planner that best suits your lifestyle. When you find it, don’t forget to use my code: ALAW10 to receive your 10% off discount too! 😉 I’m so grateful for this planner + I think it just might help you transform your priorities too!

xoxo,

Ashley

ONE SHORT RACE AFTER ANOTHER

SHORT RACE QUOTE

So I’ve taken quite a break from blogging the second half of the summer because I NEEDED ONE. I noticed I lost my ‘spark’ for a bit + it was super frustrating for me. It took some digging deep to figure out why that spark was gone, let me share a bit of what I discovered during that time away.

Through my process of healing from my eating disorder I learned many things, both from a clinical standpoint and learning how to handle life without an addiction to food and exercise. I noticed that many people in this stage of my life talked about a ‘mask’ that we would wear as someone healing from an eating disorder and it took some time to discover what that really looked like for me. After putting lots of tears, time + money into 1-1 therapy sessions as well as group therapy, I learned that I had in fact become very comfortable over time putting this mask on to avoid sharing how I really feel in moments that happen on a daily basis. The best example I can think of here is when someone asks you how you’re doing, + you respond with ‘good, how about you”? I learned that my emotions didn’t always have to be in check because during these few years, I was going through emotional turmoil + my world with my addiction to food + exercise was crumbling as I worked to rebuild it in a manner that actually served me well. …Imagine that. First off, I am not always ‘good’, sometimes I’m sad or a little depressed, stressed, anxious, angry, you name it… I feel it. Like all the time. Admitting this is not to say that I don’t feel joy, passion + love because I certainly do, I just try to focus on the positive because I can be a negative thinker by fault.

I have come to a very stable place in my recovery over time, but I’ve noticed that it’s very easy to fall back into the place of putting on a mask that everything is always great + that I’m always happy, because that’s what I knew for most of my life. It takes a lot of practice not to slip into old ways (can anyone else relate to that)? …Whatever it might be, we all have things we struggle with + mine is trying to balance my emotions + taking a look at whether or not I’m being true to myself, if I’m feeling joyous, taking it in + enjoying the moment, + when I’m feeling down or stressed, recognizing that emotion + feeling it, but not allowing myself to wallow in that pain. (you feel me on this)?

Taking time for myself to be genuine, figure out why (+ where) my spark went was a little painful. I tend to over-analyze every thought + emotion…. blame it on all of the therapy I went through to recover. But the thing is, I’M ALWAYS GOING TO BE A WORK IN PROGRESS + I love that about myself. Learning + growing to be the best version of myself is something I’m dedicated to + I totally recognize that the needle isn’t always going to be moving forward on this journey. Sometimes it will jump back or bobble in the same space for a while + that’s what life is all about.

After coming to this realization myself, I want to know if you struggle with being authentic + genuine about your REAL EMOTIONS. Drop me a line or send me a message to share how you cope with being authentic + how you recognize pain or moments when you’re down + move on from them. ALL responses welcome! It’s so good to be back! ❤

xoxo,

Ashley

FOOTBALL’S BACK

Cards Cheer Photo

The cool thing about doing what I love is that I am able to COMBINE all of my passions into a unique set of skills to work with my dream clients! That being said, I am super pumped that one of my new clients this year are kicking off their season on the football field as the 2017-2018 Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders!

 

I’ve worked with this team a few times this year + I’ve enjoyed getting to know this talented, beautiful group of women over the last few months. When I first met the girls, it was early spring and the team was spending a long weekend working hard at their Mini Camp weekend kicking off their season. I was introduced to the girls after they had been learning new dance routines all morning + excited when they greeted me with energetic smiles + were clearly ready to accept my challenge to work on their public speaking skills for the afternoon. Together we set goals for the year + participated in a team activity to advance our public speaking skills answering interview questions on our feet. The girls were INCREDIBLE + SO POISED right off the bat! It was a blast to collaborate + learn from one another in this intimate setting as a supportive group. My passion to help others express their talents didn’t end in this setting though… After completing this session of the day, we progressed to the dance floor.

 

In case you didn’t know, I spent 3 years as an NFL cheerleader a few years back. During this time in my life, I really evolved into a young adult + worked to manage full-time college courses, work-life balance + become an organized young professional. During my years as an NFL cheerleader, I excelled in one particular area in the realm of the ever popular kick line style of dance. In fact, I won an award of “Best Kicks” as a member of my team all 3 years that I was with my team! Now that I’m (a little) older, I have to say that I’m pretty sure that my days as a performer have surpassed me, but I am still involved in the dance world in other ways!

 

I also lead workshops in order to help professional dancers showcase their talents. I was in serious luck when this team asked me to work on kicks with them because they are already super flexible + very hard workers… let me tell you! 🙂  I taught these ladies a challenging kick combo with some fun footwork + they worked hard to master it over the summer. I was super excited that when I went back to visit the girls at practice a few weeks ago, I learned they had been practicing the kick choreography I taught them in the spring + they had mastered the technique beautifully! WOOT WOOT! Way to go ladies!

 

I am one serious football fan + look forward to the end of summer every year because it means my favorite sport is back. It’s a major plus that I get to watch the talented + beautiful Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders perform again all season long, + see their skills come to life in an exciting manner that I’ve been able to get involved with! Did I mention it’s been incredible to combine my passions in life to do what I love most?! Looking forward to working with these girls again + other amazing teams as well! These women are truly a talented team as well as beautiful inside + out! I’m blessed to have worked with them this season, Go Cards!

 

Xoxo,
Ashley

2017 WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT SYMPOSIUM AT IOWA STATE

Iowa State Photo

I am SO excited to announce that this October, I’ll be speaking at the annual Women’s Empowerment Symposium at Iowa State!

There are endless reasons I’m looking forward to speaking at this event, but perhaps the most exciting motive for me is that this is the kind of ladies I REALLY CONNECT with. The women I’ll be presenting to are female athletes that are working toward a common goal; being their best selves. These women are dedicated to be champions in their sport both on + off the field, competing at the college level. Can you say DREAM AUDIENCE?!

The lady Cyclones have started a tradition of attending a Women’s Empowerment Symposium each fall + this year the focus is on Body Image. It’s no secret that body image is something I’ve battled with in my past. After fighting to overcome my eating disorder after years of work, I have truly learned to really love my body + I’m happy to share my journey + insight with other women. This will be such a unique setting as I’ll be able to incorporate my love for sports, athleticism + share my experience as a former professional athlete.

Stay tuned for updates in the next few weeks! In the meantime, I can’t wait to finalize this dynamic presentation + work with this exceptional group of young women. Looking forward to creating some new relationships in Ames, Iowa! October can’t come soon enough!

xoxo,
Ashley

INTERVIEW WITH 12 NEWS, NBC

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I’ll admit they giving the world a peek into what my deepest insecurities + admitting the reality of what my biggest fears were was uber scary at first. If you think about it, when you’re challenged with something that feels embarrassing or intimidating you probably don’t go around telling your boss, neighbors or the people that live the next town over about how you really screwed something up or if you did something you’re not exactly happy to report about. Am I right? 😉
But then again what if you could set your ego aside + what if you knew that sharing those insecurities + airing the dirty laundry you once felt was ruining your life because you knew it could save lives of other people just like you? What if talking about your once biggest setback in life could help families and give others the hope they need to get through a similar struggle or save the life of a young person, or a mom, daughter or friend? That is exactly what I felt my calling was once I fully recovered from my battle with anorexia, bulimia + addiction to exercise.
This May I was featured in an interview segment diving into the topic of eating disorder awareness on Channel 12 News here in Phoenix. The segment covered interviews with myself as well as others who have overcome their own personal battle with an eating disorder. (Shout out to Rosewood Ranch Alumni + alumni recovery coach, Shannon Hershkowitz)! The interview was a very up close + personal look inside the life of someone battling an eating disorder. I must say that some of the things I shared were a little deep for the 6 o’clock news + I didn’t expect the reporter, Kevin Kennedy to hold such a focused interview honing in on primarily the trials I endured through my journey. I answered very personal questions about my eating disorder + the thoughts and behaviors I engaged in fighting the disease. I spoke about the real thoughts I had of hating my body, battles that I braved eating meals + what it was like struggling with mental illness when nobody around me could relate. All I wanted was for someone to understand me … + I wanted those people to understand the fact that it wasn’t just about the food. It was the most difficult time in my life + I SO wish that I had more resources for myself, my roommates, my parents + family to help me get through that challenging time.
Fast forward to where I’m at now, I strive to inspire others to love their body each day! It was challenging to get to a place of recovery + it didn’t just happen in the blink of an eye between paragraphs like this. It look lots of tears, doctor appointments, therapy, meeting with specialists + it took willingness from me to actually change the way I thought + the actions I had been practicing for years.
Interviews, instructing seminars, speaking at conferences, meeting with families + patients struggling with eating disorders is a part of my life now… except I’m on the recovered side. I’m no longer in a hospital gown + I’m not seeing my treatment team of doctors on a weekly basis anymore. Now, I fight to break the stigma that mental illness and eating disorders have in our culture. I want the jokes to stop about someone needing to “eat a cheeseburger” or when a comment is made that someone looks anorexic. For the sake of all of the people struggling with eating disorders + mental illness I want to educate others about what it’s like to battle this disease + how to help others recover in a supportive manner. I’m passionate about helping families, friends and loved ones getting the information they need to know to support the person in their life battling an eating disorder just like I did. ❤
When I speak out in a workshop, at a seminar or on air in an interview setting I’m no longer fearful of what others will think. I’m not embarrassed or ashamed to share the challenges and difficult times I’ve endured in my past. When I have an opportunity to speak out to create awareness now, I jump at the opportunity to share what my experience was like in hopes that someone else can find the courage to ask for help or make that change for them self.
My challenge to you today is to ask yourself if you are caught in the game of comparison. Are you too concerned with what others are thinking that you’re willing to give up your own happiness or health to make an impression you hope for? A few paragraphs ago I shared that I used to be afraid to air what I thought was my own dirty laundry. I didn’t want anyone to think I was a failure if I told someone I was struggling or needed help.
Now that I’ve broken down that barrier, that same dirty laundry is now hanging out for the world to see + I’m happy to blog about it, Instagram about it + post it on my Facebook wall. I’m even comfortable sharing it on the 6 o’clock news… because I’m confident my journey will inspire others to ask for help when they need it. I challenge you to find the strength to be a little more “you” + a little less “socially acceptable” today (whatever that might look like). Let your true colors shine + cast your goals + fears out just a little bit today. You might be surprised where they lead you!
xoxo,
Ashley

SOCIAL MEDIA: USING IT FOR “GOOD”

social media blog post


When you engage in social media each day, does it make you feel warm + fuzzy or cold + inadequate? I am sure many of us (if not all) have been stuck in a place of comparing; good or great, pretty or ugly, skinny or fat, rich or poor, failure or successful. It’s no secret that social media can be the culprit of letting these ideas creep into our everyday life, but there’s no rule that says it has to be that way. In my opinion, it’s truly up to you whether or not you make room for the comparison in your social media or if you say, “no thanks” to some accounts or outlets that you’re engaging in. Ridding certain accounts (+ certain friendships if I’m being honest) has really allowed for me to open up + be the person I want to be, growing + evolving to be my best self. That’s why I decided to start this very blog. Which brings me to this realization…

I have to share that I am just LOVING this whole blogging thing! It has really allowed me to share my personal experiences + thoughts in a format that gives me permission to story tell, view your comments, read + engage in direct feedback + EMAIL to connect with you all creating REAL RELATIONSHIPS + CONNECTIONS!

It’s no secret that social media can be the dark cloud over us when it comes to comparing what someone else has to what we don’t; how great someone’s bikini body looks when we’re feeling “inadequate” or even the amazing vacation they’re on when we’re stuck at work. It’s difficult not to scroll through your Instagram or Facebook feed + think or wish you were there or dream the life you’re living is just a bit different, but that’s the thing… YOU have the power to choose what you surround yourself with. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been caught in the trap of comparison through social media + it’s no fun. I think that’s why I’m really enjoying this process of sharing my REAL LIFE EXPERIENCES + bringing up topics that are important to girls + women that are like minded like me through my blog. If you haven’t already, I challenge you to stop following or friending the people or that you feel inadequate around or don’t serve you in your personal goals. It’s really nothing against them (so stop worrying about what they will think or their feelings + start worrying about yours). It has everything to do with YOU + your well-being.

When I started speaking about my journey with anorexia + bulimia 5 ½ years ago, I never knew that I would take this experience to a place where I am now, connecting with people outside of Phoenix, all over the country + even with some of you from all over the world! This path of sharing my story + life was not easy to start back in 2012, however it has grown into a passion of mine that I’ve been able to empower others with. I can truly say that I love encouraging others to ask for help + actually talk about topics that can be uncomfortable + feel unsettling. In fact, that’s the factor that drives me most in my journey. All I wanted when I was going through my recovery process was a friend to connect with + to be able to ask the tough questions + see their journey unfold in a real + candid manner.

The cool thing of how my story has unfolded is that my passion for writing has been able to be expressed in a very authentic + public way. Blogging is a way for me to share my thoughts + emotions with others who can relate to my story or want to learn more about being a compassionate person who is enthusiastic about being their authentic self. I’m posting today because I’m LOVING this process + I’m loving this outlet where I can be real + candid with YOU. I hope that you are getting as much out of it as I am because this process is so real for me. I can’t wait to share some exciting projects I have coming up + the direction I see myself going in. Lots of exciting things coming my way + I can’t wait to start sharing them with you…  Stay tuned, friends!

As a last note, I’d love for you to comment here to let me know what you’d like to see on the blog. Drop me a line to share what posts you’ve enjoyed most or what you’d like to read about/connect with me on. You can also send me an email through my “Let’s Connect” link on the blog. Looking forward to hearing from you… + remember, YOU have the choice to decide what kind of messages you see each day. Do you want it to be real + authentic or surface level + create a feeling of inadequacy? #choosehappy

xoxo,

Ashley

KILLED IT.

 

pink wall

Have you ever had a moment or a day where you look back + think… “Damn, I killed it right there”?!

That’s the kind of day I had today + I had to share how I’m feeling with you guys. I’m well aware that some people may read this post + think, wow, she’s really conceded… but I sure hope you’re not one of those people because it’s taken me a long time to get to this place.

If you follow my story, you know I used to struggle with anxiety + depression for years. These struggles of mine came along when I was in my late teens through my mid 20’s. I had such depression that I truly believed I was just about worthless + had no self confidence that I was ever going places in my life, or would ever accomplish any sort of goal. My anxiety was also a barrier that I dealt with on a daily basis- I couldn’t do things like hang out with friends or family, enjoy a meal out at a restaurant, or pick out an outfit for the day without panicking. This process took years for me to overcome with the help of medical professionals + a support system that totally rocks (friends + family you know who you are). ❤

If you’ve ever been in a place where you’ve doubted yourself like I just described or thought, “Am I ever going to amount to something”? “Are my ideas worthy of actually sharing with others”? … Then you’re not alone. I’ve thought these things over + over again for years + I can’t even begin to tell you how much I appreciate the actual hard work it takes to believe in yourself when it doesn’t come naturally.

If you’re thinking to yourself that you can totally relate to what I’m talking about here, know it’s possible to pull yourself out of that challenging + sometimes dark space of self-doubt. I used a ton of positive affirmations each day + did some true soul searching to find what my passion was in life as an adult to reach a place where I actually believed in myself. Yes it felt ridiculous at times to tell myself how smart or beautiful I was each day, but it was also incredibly empowering to actually KNOW that I am a deserving person who has a lot to offer the world. It also felt incredible to start connecting to things that made my heart beat faster + stay up late at night thinking + dreaming about. That leads me to where I’m at today.

This morning started with an exciting conference call between two amazing women + myself. The call was pre-arranged + I knew that if all went as planned, we would end up working together on an exciting project together. We discussed our thoughts + I shared my vision for the event. I was calm + excited (which almost never happens at once) because I show my emotions on my sleeve. 😉 My ideas + vision for the event were affirmed over + over throughout the call + when we wrapped up, it was a sure thing…. We will partner together on an exciting project later this fall (more deets to come in the next few weeks so hang tight, guys)! 😉

The incredible thing was that when the call ended I thought to myself, I could have never been doing this if I were still the broken person I was 6 years ago + didn’t believe in myself right now, today. I had this moment of reassurance + pride in myself when I hung up that phone + I can’t describe it, but it felt incredible. I’m not sure why it hit me this morning, but I really had a feeling come over me that I am truly in the right place at the right time, doing what I’m meant to be doing. It also helped me realize one thing: I have all of the power I need to succeed at my dreams, all I need to do is believe in myself. + one other thing… I totally killed it today! *Let me know what you’re killing it in lately, I’d love to hear from you! ❤

Xoxo,
Ashley