Gratitude Friday: Number Three

 Gratitude Friday: One

Gratitude Friday: Two

Links I’m Grateful for this Week:

Transformation Tuesday is bullshit. This post made my whole week.

“What’s Your Story” by Girl Brooks. Friends, please help this pup in need by sharing his story.

Holiday gifts and a good cause? The Young and Brave is the place to be. Shop their new products. Great stocking stuffers.

9 Things You Should Read If You Take Your Blog/Business Seriously by Sarah Von Bargen (who I adore.)

Blog of the week: Healthy Hits the Spot. I have worked with Paige for almost a year: not only has she been a trusted coach but she’s become a dear friend. Paige is sweet, encouraging and truly cares about you and your story. I highly encourage you to read her blog, get to know her and work with her. She’s amazing. (PS: she’s doing a Whitney English planner giveaway on her blog right now. Enter!)

Confessions of Someone Who Had Nothing to Write About Today

Here’s some shit I’ve been holding back from you, Internet. Except not really because I was born without that thing called a “filter” and apparently “confessing” things on the Internet is a thing we bloggers do now. And I normally don’t cave to these kinds of things but WHATEVS LET’S DO THIS.

So hi. Here are my confessions. Enter proverbial Usher.

One:

I am only doing this because I had nothing to blog about today. I had a really great idea for (another) relationship post but then I realized I’ve been blogging WAY TOO MANY of those lately, annoyed myself and here we are.

Two:

I will have you know that the only other reason I’m even here today is because I had to FORCE myself to log off my eBay account . Watching bids is like watching a pot of water boil: THE MORE YOU FOCUS ON IT, THE LESS LIKELY THINGS ARE TO HAPPEN. I think I am the LAST person to figure out that eBay is the Holy Grail, and I CAN’T STOP BIDDING ON THINGS I DON’T NEED AND SELLING THINGS I DON’T WANT.

Three:

The pharmacy continues to mess up Warner’s medications. I’m talking EVERY TIME I GO THERE, they have found a new way to fuck up his prescription. I know I should switch to a different pharmacy but I save almost $40 on Warner’s prescription at this current pharmacy and I can’t give that up. Also? I (no so secretly) enjoy yelling at them every time  they get it wrong.

Four:

I have already started listening to Christmas music. And watching Christmas movies on Hallmark Channel. Feel free to judge but at least I haven’t put up my tree yet, ya filthy animals.

Five:

I just checked eBay again.

Six:

I hate Taylor Swift’s new album. I only listen to her songs because I want to know who she’s dating: like I’m clued in on some high school drama. And since she hasn’t dated anyone for this album I feel like she’s basically lied to my face and every time someone calls it her “best album yet” I feel like they didn’t really listen to it. Also? I’VE BEEN DOING HER AWKWARD DANCE MOVES FOR YEARS. SHE STOLE THEM FROM ME.

Seven:

Tessa and I are trying to work out 5 days a week, in an effort to stay healthy during the holidays. She tried to skip the gym yesterday and I yelled at her in the worst way. Then this morning I skipped the gym because I told her it was too cold for me to get up that early to work out.

Eight:

I sing songs and replace the lyrics with Warner’s name. You should hear my brilliant rendition of “Warner Shakes it Off”.

Nine:

I kind of want to secretly sign Tessa up for 90 Day Fiancé. I actually think she would enjoy it, despite her claims that “I’m crazy” and “she’s not that desperate” and “it’s not a mail order groom service, Ashten you’re dumb.”

Ten:

When people unfollow me on Instagram I get personally offended. DID I NOT USE ENOUGH FILTERS FOR YOU? PHOTOGRAPH ENOUGH COFFEE? WHY DID YOU LEAVE ME?!

And there are my confessions. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be back with some earth-shattering life lessons. Or maybe I’ll be on eBay all day and forget to blog. You never know.

Here’s How I Know I’m in My 30s

onesieSunday marked 5 months since I turned the ripe ole age of thirty and I know what you’re thinking: “she doesn’t look a day over 24″ and that’s why you guys are the best readers ever.

And then I took some calcium, ate dinner at 4:30 and was in bed by 9pm. I live effing dangerously.

I went to Target the other day to purchase a few early Christmas gifts (you start thinking ahead in your thirties). I was in jeans, Uggs a scarf and a long sleeved t-shirt, because it was freezing cold. I saw a few girls in their early twenties scowering the boot section in sweatpants, uggs, beanies and crop-top t-shirts. When the first thing that went through my mind was “that outfit is a contradiction”, and the second thought was “they should really put some clothes on”. And I realized my twenties are now in that rear view mirror and I’m miles away from crop tops and confusing outfit choices.

But I’m not far from child’s onesies. BECAUSE THEY’RE AWESOME.

My thirties are so much different than my twenties: not in any grandiose way that is so noticeable that people stop me and say “wow there’s something different about you!” It’s little things: changes in my body, my responsibilities and my priorities. I feel more stable and a little more balanced. I also feel like my metabolism is slowing down, which I would like reversed, if possible.

What I’m trying to say, is these last 5 months have made me an authority on being in your thirties and so, sarcastically, I’m here to show you the things you have to look forward facing as you slowly inch towards that miracle number.

And you should read that as: how I know I’m aging, sometimes gracefully and sometimes not.

I recognize NO ONE at the MTV VMAs anymore.

The VMAs were once a time-honored tradition, where we all gathered around the television in our dorm room to watch our favorite celebrities walk whatever color carpet was “in” back in those days. Even overly-accessorized Johnny Depp made an appearance and he was already in his 40s back then. Now? Not even Johnny Depp attends and I’m frantically Googling who walks the carpet these days because I AM NO LONGER UP ON MUSICAL TRENDS. *NSYNC FOR LIFE.

High school kids look like eleven year olds.

Tessa and I were at the movies a few weeks ago and there were, what seemed to be, a lot of young kids hanging out at the theater without parental supervision. “A little late for these kids to be out without their parents, am I right?” I said to Tessa. Turns out? They were juniors in high school. I heard them talking about homecoming while in the popcorn line. I realized then why using my student ID for a discounted movie ticket didn’t work.

Staying out late=11pm. 12am tops.

The aforementioned movie Tessa and I went to started at 10:40pm. I complained because it was “too late and we wouldn’t get home until after 12am.” PS: This was on a Friday.

Parties involve dinner, not kegs.

I used to love parties. Free booze, free place to crash when I got too drunk and everyone who was anyone was usually there, including the guy from the basketball team that I had a crush on. Now? If I am leaving the comforts of my couch to hang out with you, there better be food, and I’m not talking the kind you microwave: I’m talking something worth pinning, bro.

 My metabolism retired early.

In my twenties I was not “skinny” but I definitely could eat like I was without gaining weight. Now? I look at pictures of food on Instagram and I gain 3 pounds.

Money matters now.

Right after college (and for a bit during college) I lived at home. I also worked part time and attended class twice a week. I had no responsibility, no worries, no debt and no sense of financial knowledge. I was able to go to Vegas on a whim with my friends, go out drinking all the time and buy new clothes whenever I wanted. Now? I have to pay rent. I have to pay bills. I have to save money for the future. And that means less going out and more money in the bank. This is the worst part of being 30.

Hangovers hurt, and 4 hours of sleep is my idea of hell.

I used to go out drinking on a Wednesday, get home at 3am, wake up at 7am and go to class all day, then go to work, then hit the bars for “Thirsty Thursday”. Now? I think bars are “noisy and crowded”, two drinks has me feeling a little sideways and I am hungover for 2 days. I look back and have no idea how I functioned on 4 hours of sleep because now? It makes me a grump-a-saurus-rex.

Here are some good things about being 30:

1. I don’t live at home anymore….which means I get to come and go as I please.

2. 401k. Health insurance. Paid vacation. We call these perks.

3. What people think of me doesn’t dictate what I wear, what I think or how I handle social situations. I say what I think, and I don’t care if people aren’t going to want to be my friend afterwards.

4. Never having to ask your parents for money because you can take care of yourself.

5. My friendship circle is solid. It takes a lot of time, work and mistakes before you get that circle just right and in your thirties? It’s just right.

6. I can afford to stay in my own hotel room. No more sharing with 15 other people because that’s all our part time jobs could afford.

7. Two words: personal style.

8. I demand what I want. I can do that, because I actually know what I want, unlike my twenties when I did what I thought was “cool”.

9. People take me seriously. Just not on this blog.

10. There’s this weird feeling that comes over you at 30: you just feel more settled overall. Life may not be exactly how you pictured it, but you’re working towards it, or you’re formulating a plan to get there. And the stuff that you thought was a big deal? Just isn’t anymore. It’s one of the weirdest, yet most satisfying feelings that is really hard to explain.

But really, I would like to have that metabolism back. I kind of wasted its good days at In N Out.

Gratitude Friday: Number Two

Gratitude Friday: Number One

Links I’m grateful for this week:

A post about how opposites attract by Kalyn at Geez Louise

Southern Hospitality, Holidays and Pumpkin Bread by Rachel at Rachel Rewritten

How to Stay Healthy During the Holidays by Nicole Hagy Fit

(have you signed up for her challenge yet? It’s only $5!)

More blanket scarves on GroopDealz!

Blog of the week: Hooley with a Z! Erin and I have been blog friends for about a year, and she just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Amelia Joyce. She’s really rocking this mom thing, and I really urge you to read this post because it blew me away.

A $9 Box of Hair Dye and Self-Esteem

Have you ever felt out of control of some aspects of your life? Like, have you ever strapped on your boots and trudged through your mind trying to find something, anything, you can alter (even the smallest thing will do) just to say you had some of the control back? Or, have you ever looked in the mirror and just been like “NOPE. JUST NOPE”, which caused you to spontaneously make some drastic change just so you felt better?

I equate it to being a hormonal teenager whose mom tries to say they understand what the teenager is going through. The teenager runs to their room screaming “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW I FEEL!” Then slams the door, just for dramatic effect. Sorry mom, this is not one of those things you talk about. You truly feel that no one will understand WHY you feel this way when you look in the mirror. You just know you have to do SOMETHING. You have to change SOMETHING. There’s no consultation with friends. There’s no asking for approval from the boyfriend (that you ask for as a courtesy so he feels involved). Just “I HAVE TO DO THIS RIGHT NOW BECAUSE I AM ABOUT TO BREAK THIS MIRROR.”

Welcome to my Tuesday night.

I hated my first attempt at the blanket scarf tutorial. Hated it. Hated how I looked in it, hated how I sounded in it, hated how inept I felt when I fumbled around, trying to tie my scarf. It nagged at me all day, so as soon as I got home I filmed it again. And again. And again. Finally, I gave up and went with my last take; not entirely happy but satisfied enough to hit “publish”. I watched it over and over, critiquing myself and my lack of knowledge on the topic of “fashion blogging”.

I faced the reflection in my bathroom mirror, and nope. Just nope. NO ONE UNDERSTANDS HOW I FEEL. It’s my hair. My faded ombre; the “summer look” I’ve worn for a year and a half. The hair I haven’t touched up in months because I just can’t justify the expense. The hair. It’s the hair. Wait, I can fix that! I can fix it tonight! I CAN FIX IT WITH A BOX OF HAIR COLOR. I’M SAVED. Never mind that I had just set an appointment with my hair stylist for December to transform my hair into a whole new look; an appointment that I budgeted in advance for. No this had to be fixed tonight. I couldn’t stare at this hair for another second.

I threw on my jacket, grabbed my keys and headed towards the door with such a purpose that Tessa nervously called after me, “what’s wrong?! Where are you going?!”

“I hate my hair. I have to dye it before I shave it like Britney Spears circa 2007.”

And I tore out of my door much like Britney Spears circa 2007.

$9 and a few minutes later I stood in my bathroom and applied my L’Oreal Preference shade of Dark Brown. You know, the darkest brown one can get before dying your hair completely black? I figured nothing would cover THE BLEACH USED WHEN ONE GETS AN OMBRE better than a really dark brown. And, you know, fall is the color for dark hair, right?

Keep telling yourself that, Ashten.

I applied that dark brown hair color with the vigor of an angry teenage girl scribbling in her diary and then I let it sit a little longer than the box suggested, you know TO MAKE SURE IT COVERED THE BLEACH. As soon as I washed and dried my hair I regretted my impulse decision.

My hair stylist is going to KILL ME.

The ombre was gone, and in its place a cheap, poorly executed intimidation of what a  professional dye job should be.

But I had the control back.

The next day I realized I had missed a pretty significant chunk of hair towards the back/ends and the bleach I so desperately wanted to cover was still peeking through.

No one noticed it except me, but oh it bothered me so.

I tried so hard to cover up that damn faded ombre and it’s still peeking through. I RISKED DEATH BY HAIR STYLIST FOR THIS AND I’M STILL SEEING THE ONE THING I WAS TRYING TO HIDE.

The truth is: I was having a low self esteem day. When I looked in the mirror all I saw was what I hated. I have those more frequently than I care to admit. I have those more than you will ever see on Instagram.

Self esteem is kind of like my spontaneous $9 dye job. Some days we feel like nothing can fix how BADLY we feel about ourselves. Some days we will do ANYTHING to have the control back. (Read: do anything NOT to be Britney Spears circa 2007.)

On those days, or in those moments we’re standing in front of the mirror and we think no one could possibly understand how it feels to look at our reflection and nope. Just nope. In those moments we may make a spontaneous choice to fix our self esteem: we latch on to a new man, we eat a cupcake, we take a diet pill, we buy a $9 box of hair color. And in reality? It doesn’t change anything: it merely covers our lack of self-esteem for a little while, and even still our insecurities poke though, just like the damn bleach spots from my ombre.

Those feelings, those moments, they will happen. They’re normal. No one is confident all the time. And if you are? HOW THE EFF DO YOU DO IT?!

The key is to face these moments head on and stop them in their tracks. Rather than buy a $9 box of hair color, I should have said 5 things I like about myself and moved on, ombre and all because that quick fix? Wasn’t worth it. Quick fixes never are, in my experience. Self-esteem comes from the inside out: it doesn’t come from a man, a cupcake or a diet pill, and it doesn’t come from dying your hair the darkest shade of brown because you can’t face looking in the mirror on a Tuesday.

I learned my own lesson the hard way. The darkest brown, patchy hard way.

Oh, and here’s the product of my low self-esteem. I’m conveniently not showing you the back.

hairTo my hair stylist: if you’re reading this? I AM SORRY AND I’LL SEE YOU IN DECEMBER. PLEASE BE KIND TO ME.

How I Wear My Blanket Scarf

Hey Ashten! Where can I buy a blanket scarf?!

I’ll feed ya, baby birds…..

GroopDealz (DEAL ENDS TODAY): click here to purchase one!

Blanket scarf from Amazon: click here to purchase one!

The original Zara Blanket Scarf: click here to purchase one!

American Eagle Blanket Scarf: click here to purchase one!

ASOS Blanket Scarf (a little more expensive): click here to purchase one!

Kate Spade NY Plaid Blanket Scarf (for the baller): click here to purchase one!

Hot for the Holidays: Healthy Eating Tips and a Challenge from Nicole Hagy Fit!

Remember my friend Nicole? If not, you need to go back and read this post because Nicole is a very important person for you to know, especially if you plan to read this post/participate in our shenanigans.

Spoiler alert: Nicole is Kyle’s best friend’s wife. Her husband (Kyle’s best friend) is my best friend’s brother. Confused? Just go back and read this post dang it.

Nicole is back today, because it’s officially the holiday season and with that comes parties and lots of food. I mean, Thanksgiving is a holiday dedicated to eating….if that’s wrong I don’t want to be right.

I also don’t want to gain 15 pounds this holiday season, so I asked Nicole to come back and share some tips on how to stay healthy this holiday season. Today, she’s reminding us to only eat cookies in moderation and urging us to get our asses in gear this holiday season! Please welcome Nicole (back)!

nicole_and_asa

Ahhh the air is crip, the time has changed and Starbucks red cups are back; the holiday season has officially begun! With the holidays quickly approaching {Thanksgiving is only 3 weeks away!!} that means we are about to be in full swing of holiday parties. For most of us that means endless baking, cooking, and drinking. But….. it’s all fun and games until your pants don’t fit and you need 8 cups of coffee to get through the day.

nicole

 

With everything we are surrounded by you can see why people gain weight over the holidays (some people gain 7-12 pounds in just these 2 months!) And the attire for this season doesn’t really help our waistline either; oversized sweaters, leggings, sweatpants; all things that give A LOT of wiggle room. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ALL about enjoying the festivities and your favorite treats this time of year, BUT you have to have a plan of attack so you can enjoy everything in moderation. So…how do you do that??? Well, I have put together 7 tips for having a Healthy Holiday to help you out.

1- Indulge Only in SPECIAL Treats

I know they all seem special, but you can have cookies and cupcakes any time during the year. Instead, consume the things that you can ONLY have at this time of the year, like your aunt’s homemade apple pie, mmmm…ok I’m drooling thinking about my Aunt Kathy’s apple pie…. Alright I’m back. Everything else can WAIT; I promise you will not die if you can’t have a taste of EVERY dessert at the party.

2- Do Not Skip Meals!

This is a big one. I don’t know about you, but I get so focused on wrapping gifts or baking Christmas cookies that sometimes I will go hours without eating. Then when I realize I’m hungry I consume everything I see! Make sure you are still eating every 2-3 hours; you need to have those healthy snacks throughout the day so you don’t overindulge later. Also, you do not need to PREPARE for a large meal (ahem, Thanksgiving dinner). Don’t starve yourself all day so you can fit as much in your stomach as possible at dinner. You will end up consuming WAY too many calories than you should in a day. You can still “prepare” but in a different way, eat protein and veggies during the day before your big meal so come dinner time you can have some mashed potatoes and stuffing and not feel guilty about it or over do it.

3- Skip Dressings, Butter, and Gravy

They are just extra calories that don’t have any nutritional value. Instead use olive oil, herbs and spices to add flavor to your foods. I like adding lemon juice or hummus to my salads.

4- Socialize Away from the Appetizers

I am completely guilty of this! When I’m at a party I stand by all the yummy foods and talk to people. While we are talking I’m mindlessly grabbing chips, pigs in a blanket, and anything in front of me. Next thing you know I’ve cleared the plate and don’t remember eating any of it! Instead, grab a few things and WALK AWAY. That way you won’t continue to snack on everything within reach.

5- Don’t Go Back For Seconds

It takes about 20 minutes for your body to register that it is full. So take your time when you eat, enjoy your company, and savor every bite. Give your brain some time to catch up to your stomach.

6- Schedule Your Workouts

With it getting darker earlier it can be a lot harder to stay motivated to workout; especially when you know you don’t have to wear a bathing suit for another 6 months! {I know we are all thinking it haha} Besides looking good at the beach, exercising has many great benefits; it will help with holiday stress, you will sleep better, be more productive and think about how much better you will look and feel come summer time! I recommend setting a time and schedule your workout like any other meeting you have. This is an important meeting with yourself and you wouldn’t cancel an important meeting right??

7- Drink Peppermint Tea

My last tip is to drink Peppermint Tea and a lot of it! With the colder weather this should be easy to do. So why should you drink it? Peppermint tea is a stress reliever, an appetite suppressant (so drink this while you are cooking so you don’t “sample” as you cook), and it helps your digestive system (which means decrease in bloating and gas woo hoo!)

 

I hope these tips help you have a healthy holiday season!!

hot for holidays

Now, if you are ready to kick it into gear I’m going to run another 5-day challenge! Let’s get Hot for the Holidays!

Before Thanksgiving is here let’s focus on eating healthy and working out for 5 straight days.

Here’s what Hot for the Holidays comes with:

  • A 5 day meal plan
  • Daily workout videos (they’re short and simple but will kick your butt!)
  • Fitness tips
  • Support, and motivation.
  • Admittance into a private Facebook accountability group. This is where you can communicate with other people doing the challenge, ask questions, and provide support and motivation to keep each other going strong!

The details: It’s $5 to register for the challenge. Your registration fee will include access to the Facebook page, all the meals/recipes, plus daily workout videos.  I will email you the information for the challenge!

 This challenge begins November 17th so sign up today! I’m looking forward to working with you!!

Want more Nicole? Of course you do! Follow her on Instagram!

 

Secret Single Behavior

Being in a long distance relationship has it’s positives and negatives.

Negative: I often have to go months without seeing my boyfriend. This means no holding hands, no hugs, no bringing him coffee in the morning or making him breakfast. (Or let’s be honest: him cooking me breakfast and making me coffee.)

Positive: My SSBs are fully intact.

For the non-avid Sex and the City watcher:

One: if you don’t watch that show we probably can’t be friends. It’s not you, it’s your lack of SATC knowledge that will keep us apart forever.

Two: SSBs=secret single behavior. Aka: all the weird shit you do when your significant other isn’t around.

I have perfected mine. During my Sunday FaceTime date with Kyle, I divulged some of my SSBs to my SO, which apparently you’re not supposed to do: SSBs are like Fight Club, you never talk about Fight Club. But, it actually made for a pretty interesting discussion and I learned a little bit about Kyle and he learned a little too much about me.

And we aren’t one of those “overly traditional couples”.

Ashten’s Secret Single Behaviors:

One: I don’t fold my laundry…for days.

I just really, really, really hate putting away laundry. I mean, I really hate it. So, sometimes it ends up laying out for an unidentifeied period of time. Or until I go all “Type A” on my room and do a complete overhaul and throw it in my closet.

Two: I watch crime television while eating sour watermelon candy.

I may or may not have spent my Saturday evening doing this. I’m not trying to brag, but I could probably have a promising future in solving crime. Like, give me a little DNA and I would blow your mind.

Three: I look in the mirror and practice my “picture faces”.
Always gotta make sure that smile is on point! Instagram is a cruel mistress. I chalk this up to being a blogger and ask the no one judge me.

Four: I put on a face mask, and soak in a hot tub with Epson Salt while pinning to my secret wedding board on Pinterest.

I usually do this every Friday and it is the highlight of my entire week. And if you say you don’t have a secret wedding Pinterest board you’re lying.

Follow me here.

Five: I don’t shave my legs for days….sometimes a week at a time.

No one is touching them….it’s cold outside…and I’m really, really, really lazy. I told Kyle this and he told me that was one he could have gone without knowing.

Not to be outdone, I asked my ginger-bearded gent what his secret single behaviors are….and he gave me an exhaustive list, which included a lot more “gross guy” things than I care to admit. Why is it that men become complete savages when women aren’t around? I mean really, how hard is it to, I dunno, FLUSH THE TOILET AFTER YOU USE IT. COME ON. He told me I could share a few and hi I’m not going to pass that up.

(A Few of) Kyle’s Secret Single Behaviors:

One: Eats pizza out of the box

That means no plate and no fucks given. “I really don’t feel like doing dishes. Sometimes I wipe my face with my shirt.”

I picked him, folks.

Two: Listens to “break-up music” and “single people songs” on repeat.

And I’m all “like what?” and he says “I dunno, like music that makes you go ‘I’M OVER YOU, BITCH!'”

Should I be worried?

Three: Walks around in his underwear.

Because, ya know, HE’S A MAN.

He’s also really proud of this. Like, strangely proud of the fact that he can go a full day without wearing pants or a shirt.

Four: Drinks wine out of the bottle.

He just became every bloggers dream man. Keep it in your pants, ladies.

He hates washing dishes, apparently.

Five: Binge watches the show “Greek” on Netflix…in his undewear

“Ashten. It’s like the OC in college. It takes me back to my college days, when I was young and free. I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’VE NEVER SEEN IT. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!?”

….umm…ok bro.

What are YOUR secret single behaviors??

Vlog: The Gratitude Begins

 

 

**In the Amazon Recommends section of my sidebar I put some notebooks for gratitude journals, if you want to start one with me! Also Target has some cute ones!**

Links you should care about:

I made this recipe for dinner this week. Tessa and I LOVED IT. Easy, healthy and delicious!

Two of Kyle’s good friends started a blog. And it is my duty to support them. You should, too. Say hi to Tater and Tot!

My friends over at Local Love 805 are participating in Gratitude Fridays! See this post!

This article is my life. I am #1-#25. For real.

Blog of the week: Hello Rigby! Jenn is a super talented, super stylish Seattle blogger who I have come to adore. Her style is affordable and totally trendy. Check her out and say hello!

What are you grateful for this week? (Leave a comment and let me know!)

Brace Yourself: Gratitude is Coming

Via

My Grandma used to say she would do anything for anyone, as long as they said “thank you”. When I was little I was taught that a “thank you” goes a long way; those two words became an important part of my vocabulary, and I grew to appreciate a “thank you” just as much as my Grandma. She taught me many things: how to knit (I cant do that anymore), how to make the world’s best mashed potatoes (they never taste as good as hers) and the importance of staying hydrated (I actually use this one). Most importantly? She taught me how to be thankful: she taught me the importance of gratitude.

November is the poster child for gratitude. It’s a month that gives us the gift of sitting around a table with our loved ones, throwing up a few “thank yous”, then stuffing our faces with the best homemade meal of the year.

And it’s glorious.

When Warner got sick this year, we decided to choose joy rather than anger. We (sometimes) practiced gratitude rather than negativity. We relearned the importance of saying “thank you” even during the biggest set backs. It’s been a rough few months, but looking back I realize that there is always, always, always something to be thankful for.

sleepy warnerI recently started writing in my gratitude journal again and it’s been a wonderful reminder to start looking for the little things in every day that make me happy, and give me a chance to say “thank you”. Which, naturally, got me to thinking about taking this idea of gratitude and turning it into some kind of community. This is the Always Ashten way, after all.

Tomorrow, in my highly anticipated (except not really) weekly vlog I’m going to open up my gratitude journal and talk to you about things I’m thankful for. I’m going to do this every Friday in November. You don’t have to start a gratitude journal with me (but you can if you want!), you don’t have to link-up with me every week (because ain’t nobody got time for that shit) but I do hope you’ll join me and share things you’re thankful for every week.

I’ll bring the coffee.

See you tomorrow for the first Gratitude Friday!