Thursday, August 30, 2012

Live In a Way....

Life lessons.
Much love,

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Place Your Bet: Ashley vs. iPhone

I left my phone at home today. As I already tweeted, I feel naked.

What will I use to store my calorie intake for the day?

How can I live tweet at my post-work event with My Best Friend's Hair tonight?

When can I snap a mirror picture of myself? 

Who will answer all my text messages and phone calls? (Oh, right. Bandit- I'm good here).

What will I use to check-in at Starbucks (again) later today? 

Despite these lingering questions without answers, my husband decided to turn this into a game:

I'll tell you one thing, all of these options crossed by my mind at least 40 times on the way to work.

Much love,

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Bad Run

I believe everyone needs a pre-run tradition. Mine just happens to be dancing around the house and stretching with Mr. Bandit.

Gaga said it best: Just Dance.

May I have this dance?

Hey bro.

Wobble Baby.

Okay, let's get serious.

Big stretches.

I was supposed to run 10 miles today.

I did 5 miles.


Well, running in 91 degree heat is ridiculous, but my migraine didn't break until this afternoon....

But the biggest factor for my bad run I was mentally unavailable during our run. With every step, I was adding something to my list or thinking of something I needed to accomplish for the week.

Mile 1 thoughts:
  • Do laundry when you get home.
  • What should I wear to work tomorrow? 
  • You should definitely wear a dress.
  • Fall will be here soon!
  • You need to start saving money so you can get new boots!
  • You also need to clean your car today.
  • So much Bandit hair.
  • Hmmm sushi sounds good for dinner.
  • (Justin drives by and honks at me). 
  • I don't remember to say hello. 
  • Keep running.
  • Oh crap, don't forget to write that blog post for tomorrow.
  • Did you write those press releases yet? 
  • No, no you didn't. 
  • You must do that tonight.
  • Man my feet hurt.
  • Crap it's hot out.
  • Stop complaining!!!!
Mile 2:
  • That must clean the desk at home.
  • Don't forget to write those notes from your meeting with Sierra.
  • OMG it's SOOO HOT!
  • Did I just swallow some sweat?
  • Ohhh the pumpkin spice latte comes out next Tuesday!
  • Mark your calendar for the PSL return.
  • Don't forget to email our upcoming DJ clients the Excel sheet with song requests.
  • Man, DJing is stressful.
  • Really stressful.
  • And time consuming.
  • Can I really do a full marathon?
  • No, I can't. 
  • I'm done training.
  • Stop it, you're going to keep going. 
  • Don't give up. 
  • I think I have an ocean of sweat on my back.
  • Okay, after this mile you're going to the gym.
  • Will you hit your 8 visits this month to the gym?
  • No, you definitely won't.
After mile 2, I went to the gym.

Mile 3:
  • Did you switch the laundry before you left for the gym?
  • Maybe I'll get Subway when I'm done.
  • Why is Law & Order always so depressing? 
  • I need to find a new channel.
  • Seriously, my foot is going numb.
  • Okay, you absolutely need to write those emails for work.
  • It might be better if you just write out your "master" to-do list tonight so you can go into work more prepared.
  • I wish I was reading 50 Shades of Grey.
  • Do people really like...okay, stop thinking about that while running.
  • You need to get healthy snacks for work. 
  • You're eating better this week.
  • NO cheese until Friday.
  • Okay, that's impossible. 
  • Just limit your cheese intake. 
  • This new lotion smells really good.
  • You should get your hair colored again soon.
  • When will I go home next?
  • I miss my family.
  • My foot is finally numb. 
  • I'm getting on the elliptical.
I finished the last two miles on the elliptical, and I left the gym feeling really defeated.

But my inner positive Ashley reminded myself that not every run is a good run. And I should be proud that I got myself out there and tried...I still got an hour or so of cardio in!

Today, I had a bad run.

Tomorrow, I will try again.

And I'm going for 10 miles.

Much love,

Friday, August 24, 2012

My Biggest Loser Moment

I've gained some weight.

Let's say...10 lbs.

I'm sitting around 207 right now (on a good morning).


A few reasons actually...
  • Personal training! I love my personal training sessions with Dustin. I'm challenging my body in ways I NEVER knew were possible. I'm turning into that person who grunts and screams at the gym...not sure if I am proud or embarrassed of that fact, but I'll tell you means I'm pushing myself HARD!
  • Cheese. When I eat cheese (dairy), I bloat and gain weight. I have a lactose sensitivity, but cheese is truly my favorite food. I can't resist it...and it makes everything better. Oh cheese.
  • Marathon training. Most people gain weight during marathon training. Why? Because the food addicts like me say, "Ohhhh I just ran 5 miles on a Tuesday night- clearly this calls for a jumbo margarita and Mexican food!" Wrong, wrong, and wrong...I'm working on trying to re-fuel my body with healthier foods after those long runs. One step at a time...
Yesterday afternoon, Dustin was training Kaila (his wife and my best friend) and me at the same time. It was a blast having a friend there with me share in the pain!

Dustin handed me TWO 20 lb weights.

"What am I doing to do with both of these?!" I asked.

I can barely lift the bench press bar by it-self...

"We are going to do squats down to the end of the parking lot and back," Dustin said.

I died.

"NO WAY!" Kaila and I said at the same time.

"Just kidding, just walk with them to the end of the parking lot and back," Dustin said.

Seems simple enough. I can handle walking right?

But that 40 extra lbs was straining on my body!

My shoulders hurt.

My back hurt.

My thighs hurt.

And then it hit me...

"You guys, I just realized that carrying this weight...40 the amount of weight that I've lost," I said. "It's crazy to think my body was carrying about this much extra weight."

Now sure, I've gained a few lbs since my 40 lb weight loss victory...but I'm convinced some of that is muscle!

"That was pretty deep, Ash!" Kaila said. "But amazing to think about..."

We finally made our way back to the building...I was exhausted...ready to drop the 40 lbs that was holding me down.

"Okay- great job! Do it again!"Dustin said.

"AHHHH!" We moaned, but we did it again.

In fact, I finished by running the last half.

And I almost cried...thinking about how far I've come...and when I dropped those 40 lbs on the weight was a reminder that I've truly dropped those lbs. And I'll do EVERYTHING in my power to make sure they do not come back.

That's why I love having Dustin as my personal trainer.

He pushes me harder than I have EVER physically and mentally pushed myself.

Now, if only I could only get my stress eating, emotional eating, food is my enemy-thing under control.

One step at a time...

Much love,

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Think Different

"Here’s to the crazy ones. The rebels. The troublemakers. The ones who see things differently. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."
-Steve Jobs

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Bandit Prayer

I woke up late this morning. But who am I kidding...I usually do.

The clock said 7:20 a.m. I knew I wasn't stopping at Starbucks, so I decided 10 minutes would give me enough time to:
  • Let Bandit out one more time. He always comes in too early / before he has finished his business so he can get a treat.
  • Cook a healthy breakfast (an Egg McMuffin of sorts).
  • Pack my healthy snacks for the day (cottage cheese sprinkled with Goldfish crackers + fresh strawberries and banana for later in the day).
  • Grind and brew some French Vanilla coffee.
By 7:28 am, I looked at the clock: mission accomplished.

I quickly reminded myself to stop saying:

"I don't have time to eat healthy in the morning."

"I don't have time to pack my lunch."

"I don't have time to brew my own coffee."

Because yes, I do have time.

I went to rush out the door, but turned to look over at Bandit. He was giving me the creeper / alien stare down from across the room.

I'm mildly obsessed with my dog.
I almost forgot our tradition.

The Bandit Prayer.

I started The Bandit Prayer when Justin and I first moved to Indy. I watched too much criminal minds + local news. Not to mention, I'm a scardy cat in general. Anyway, I was also trying to grow my spiritual relationship at that time. So one day before work, I decided to do a little prayer with Bandit.

I grabbed his little face and pulled it close to mind.

I gave him a single kiss on nose.

"Heavenly father, please keep this house free from harm and intruders. Please keep little Bandito safe and sound. We ask all this in your name, amen."

Sometimes he will give me a kiss when the prayer is over.

Most of the time he looks at me like I am crazy.

And maybe I am.

But I left for work this morning remembering a valuable lesson.

You are never too rushed to count your blessings, give a kiss goodbye and keep your morning traditions. 

Much love,

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Stop Doubting Yourself

“I’m sorry!!” I yelled.

I was in the middle of doing 20 jumping pull-ups.

My arms were weakening.

My heart was pounding.

And sweat was dripping down my body…down my face to my back to my feet….

I was pushing my body harder than ever before…I am talking Biggest Loser style.

Oh yeah, you know...the ugly faces, the tears, the nearly puking expressions, the grunts, etc.

Photo credit to Google Image Search.
This is what I looked like yesterday, probably at least 4 times.

“Why are you sorry!?” Dustin, my personal trainer asked me.

I suddenly felt like I was on an episode of Extreme Weight Loss Edition.

My body kept moving, but mind stopped to think.

Why am I sorry?

I wanted to say:

“I’m sorry I’m not strong enough.”

“I’m sorry I’m slow.”

“I’m sorry I’ve almost puked 3 times now.”

“I’m sorry if my form is off.”

Instead of replying with any of these responses, I said, “I’m sorry that I always say I’m sorry. I just don’t believe in myself…it's something I know I need to work on...”

“Listen, you’re doing great,” Dustin said. “I’ll tell you when your form is off or if you should be working harder. Stop doubting yourself.”

I wanted to cry.

Not because I was sad...

But because he believed in me more than I believed in myself.

(Disclaimer: I did not cry, which was a huge milestone of my week).

Let's back track for a hot minute...

Two years ago, my best friend’s husband (Dustin) became a personal trainer at a fitness club called Fitness 180.

The very first night I met Dustin! Winter 2006.

The club was only a few miles from my office, and at the time – it was only a five minute drive from our apartment.

“You should come see me!” Dustin would always say. “I won’t work you too hard. Oh wait, yes I will.”

I always promised I would come in and see him, but I never did.

Deep down I was afraid.

Afraid I would get my butt kicked.

Afraid I would look like a fool.

Afraid I would fail.

But in reality, I would get my butt kicked. That’s what personal trainers are there for…

I would look like a fool, because everyone has to start somewhere.

And I was only failing myself by not even trying.

I had absolutely nothing to lose, except for more weight- which hello I’m obviously all about losing more lbs!!

Okay...back to the last night...

When I arrived to Dustin’s gym, I was nervous.

Extremely nervous, but as you know –nervousness comes with my personality.

He asked me how “hard” I wanted to go tonight, on a scale of 1 to 10.

I said a 7.

“Alright, let’s start with 30 push-ups,” Dustin said.

“Can I do them girly style?” I asked.

“No,” Dustin said. “Well, at least try the regular ones and we can worry about altering your form if you can’t do regular push-ups.”

Strike one, I thought. First exercise and I was already struggling.

“If you have to do 10, then take a break- that’s fine,” Dustin assured me.

After watching my form he said, “Look out at this paper, don’t look directly down. It’s harder on your neck that way.”

I crashed after 10.

“Alright,” Dustin said. “Not bad.”

I thought we were moving on. I did 10, right? That was good enough, right?

“Wait, don’t stand up,” Dustin said. “You aren’t done. You have 20 more to go.”

Dustin was the voice of reason I’ve always needed inside my head.

He was the external voice telling me I can’t stop early.

I must dig deep every single rep is completed.

I finished the push-ups. My form didn’t look pretty, but I finished all 30...

“Okay, when was the last time you jumped rope?” Dustin asked me next, wasting no time going to the next exercise.

“Ummm when I was 12?” I said.

“Okay, well do as many as you can to start,” Dustin said.

I did 5.

“Okay, try again. But this time go for 20,” Dustin said and then offered a suggestion to my form.

I did 7.

“Alright,” Dustin started. “Do 20 or you have to do burpees next.”

Oh hell no. Not burpees, I thought to myself.

I did 23.

“Great job,” Dustin said. “The good news is you don’t have to burpees next. The bad news is I am making you do them later.”

“NOOOO!” I said.

He laughed, “Oh yes! Kaila told me not go on hard you, but you said you wanted to go for a 7.”

“That was before I knew what 7 meant!!” I said back, already exhausted after only two routines.

Our workout continued, I almost puked like 3 times.

But I never puked (even though we made a special trip to the bathroom to splash water on my face and wrists).

Instead, I fought through some of the hardest exercises that I’ve ever done (see introduction above). 

And one time (at band camp), I made the mistake of telling Dustin, “I can’t do that…”

“We have a rule here at Fitness 180,” Dustin said. “You are not allowed to say you can’t do anything. Instead, you can say, ‘I am going to try my hardest.’”

He was so motivating the entire night. He knew when to ask me questions about life, work or my weekend plans if I needed to escape the “pain” of the workout.

He would count down in a motivating way.

“Just three more left,” Dustin would say. “Give it everything you have. One, Two, Three!”

I lived for those final countdowns last night.

He would tell me to keep going strong when I wanted to give up. I don’t know if he is a mind reader or if I am just terrible at hiding my emotions (I’ll go with the ladder)…but he really inspired me when I needed it the most.

He was my very own Chris Powell.

Our last exercise of the night was the kettlebell swing.

I didn’t feel like I had much strength left in my body.

When Dustin handed me the kettlebell I said, “This feels really heavy.”

“Just try it,” Dustin said. “If we need to lower it after a few reps, we will.”

You are seeing a trend here…I am constantly doubting myself before I even start anything.

Sure enough, I killed it and finished strong.

“I knew you could do it,” Dustin said. “You did great today. Like I said earlier, just stop doubting yourself…"

I discovered this a muscle in my back / shoulder area that I didn’t even know existed. I could barely lift my arms to wash my hair this morning. Despite a few body aches, I have a feeling this is just the beginning of an amazing journey.

And I am already looking forward to next week’s workout.

He looks scary.
But I promise, he's only scary when he needs to be! :)
So, what is your life lesson for the day?

Believe in yourself. Take a chance to try something new and challenge yourself.

I guarantee you are stronger than you think...

Much love,

Monday, August 6, 2012

I Used Everything You Gave Me

I ate lunch alone today.

Which is fine. 

Sometimes I find it refreshing to get an hour to myself.

I had every intention of reading 50 Shades of Gray, but when I looked at the pages...I just saw a pile of words.

I couldn’t concentrate.

Even though I was in Carmel, Indiana enjoying the salad bar at Jason’s Deli, my mind was miles away.

Over the weekend, my Grandma Sieb and Aunt Juli complimented me on my recent blog post, "No Time Is Long Enough."

“You really are evolving as a writer,” Aunt Juli said. “When I read your last post, I thought to myself, ‘She really is going to write a book one day!’”

Her kinds words were music to my ears.

Tell me I’m beautiful, I’ll certainly smile. Depending on the day, I might actually believe you.

Tell me I’m a beautiful writer, my day is complete.

“You really wrote from your heart,” Grandma Sieb added. “Your post was just absolutely beautiful. I’m sure you inspired a few people to look  at the small things in life more often.”

But writing from my heart has been so difficult lately.

These past few months, I’ve felt so unbalanced.







I feel like I've lost touch with who I once was...

Am I too young to have a mid-life crisis?


As I was trying to answer all of the world’s problems – well the problems in my own world - I came across a photo on Instagram that said:

"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and I could say, 'I used everything you gave me.'"

I stared at the screen....letting the quote sink in.

Reflecting on my own life.

Disclaimer: I'm not an overly religious person. I can't many quote bible verses word-for-word. So, some might even say I'm more spiritual than religious. But I love my God and I believe we all have a purpose in this lifetime. And I pray. Although, I'll admit I should pray and count my blessings more often.

But the quote got me thinking...Am I really giving and using all of the talent's that God gave me?

One of my talents is writing.

I love sharing stories. 

I love inspiring people through my stories.

I love connecting people together through my experiences and life musings.

I love helping others by sharing advice and lessons learned.

I love making a difference in someone's life through my words.

So, I've decided to dust off this blog...and start writing more. The past few months I've been nervous to write. I didn't have many happy, inspiring or motivating stories to share because I was emotionally exhausted.

Maybe someone will find inspiration in my struggles (not just my victories)?

Maybe someone can learn from my mistakes?

And maybe, I can difference in someone's life by being honest with my own emotions and challenges.

But no matter what, I'll be using every bit of talent God gave me.

Much love,