A Valentine’s Day Reminder

A Valentine’s Day Reminder

Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤️

There are so many connotations about Valentine’s Day that really aren’t true.

1. You should be in a relationship. 👉🏼INCORRECT. You should be in a relationship if you’ve found the right person. You should be in a relationship if you’re ready for it in this stage of your life. You should be in a relationship if you’ve found the one who resonates with your soul. Otherwise, keep doing you! You’ll find your partner eventually, when it’s the right time for both of you!

2. If you’re single, you have to, instead, celebrate “Galentine’s Day”. 👉🏼 HAHA 😂 NO YOU DON’T! This just seems like a second cousin kind of version of a holiday that only single girls are segregated to celebrate, and also, where’s the Guy-lentine’s Day? What? Single guys don’t get their own holiday?

3. Valentine’s Day should be the most romantic day of the year for you as a couple. 👉🏼BULLSHIT! Every day should be fun and romantic. Hey, the second Tuesday of August could be the most special/romantic day because he brought home flowers and you cooked dinner (which rarely happens!).

4. Valentine’s Day is about love! It was created to show your love and appreciation for your partner. 👉🏼Okay, now this is VERY wrong. Valentine’s Day was ACTUALLY “created” from the history of when St Valentine married single soldiers even after Emporer Claudius II said the men would be better soldiers if they were unattached. Long story short everyone was killed. Now, it’s become so commercialized, that it’s not even about the love anymore, it about the gifts.

5. Valentine’s Day is the one day to show appreciation to your partner. 👉🏼 Hell no! You should show appreciation EVERY SINGLE DAY. ie: He takes out the trash, “thank you so much, I really appreciate you helping with tasks around the house.” ie: He cooks dinner, “Wow, this dinner is so amazing! Thank you! I really appreciate you always taking care of me and cooking dinner.” And I’m not joking, EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Okay, so now you must think I have some affinity against Valentine’s Day, but I absolutely don’t! But I do want you to put it into perspective for the rest of your life.

Could you even imagine if your relationship was only romantic ONE day of the year? Could you imagine if you were only appreciate to your partner one day of the year? What would happen to your self esteem and theirs? What would happen to your relationship? 😳

This is your Valentine’s Day reminder to have an AMAZING, fun and romantic day today, whether you’re single or taken! (yeah, I said romantic 😏) But don’t put too much pressure on it, because there’s always tomorrow to do the same! ❤️

Today: Take Care Of YOU!

Today: Take Care Of YOU!

Today, I’m smiling. 🙃 I’m smiling because I finally turned off my phone for ALMOST the entire weekend. I’m smiling because, although I DID end up working about 4 hours for my day job and about 2 hours for this social account, I finally spent the weekend getting back to my roots and following through with a few passions I love…decluttering, cleaning & organizing.

YES, yes, I know…this month was supposed to be dedicated to decluttering; I wrote a blog about it, I created a free pdf for it, and I started off the month with the hashtag #declutterwithA…but do you want to know what ACTUALLY happened behind the scenes the past two weeks?

I hate to admit it, but I’ve been drowning.

Work stress from my day job has been at an all time high, while creating, writing, editing, scheduling, and engaging for A of all Trades, has been at an all time low.

It all started the 2nd week of January. I was focused, motivated and I created plans, concepts and content in an attempt to structure myself to be more organized and consistent in the following weeks. I planned out the days I would post, I developed what I would write about and by January 20, everything changed. I was suddenly hit with more projects at work, more tasks to do, and more meetings to follow up with, as well as less time and even less energy to work on my own goals.

I’m currently in a position at my day job, where I’m required to develop strategies, build content, and make a LOT of decisions at work, which in turn, feels like I have nothing left to give to myself at the end of the day. (If you haven’t felt “decision-fatigue” before, IT’S REAL!)

What really happened?

Cut to the evening of Monday, January 28. The declutter series would launch in less than 4 days. I’ve already announced this on stories, I’ve already written and promoted the blog, I’ve already created the pdf and sent it out to everyone who requested it, I’ve already committed to this project.

There was no turning back now, and I was like a deer in headlights. I had NO decision-making energy left inside me, but had to FIGHT with my brain to “man-up,” focus, and get this thing up and running by Friday.

What I needed to figure out, plan and execute were:

  • A countdown on IG Stories (with photos)
  • A story about each stage of the declutter pre-process (with photos)
  • A story video of me introducing the declutter series and what I’m about to do
  • A “declutter-with-me” video about “how” I’m decluttering
  • Before photos
  • During photos

All. Before. Saturday

…AND all of these photos had to be staged. Why you ask? Because instead of taking videos and journaling my journey from day 1 of the process (which would be Saturday February 2nd), I had a seminar I was attending all day that Saturday, that I had agreed to attend weeks earlier.

So, I stood there in the kitchen, with B helping me, and laid it all out. Tuesday morning I would wake up at 3:30am, he would go to the gym, while I got ready. I would then take videos of myself pretending it was Saturday and showing me declutter. After I completed all the “before,” and “during” shots, B would take photos of me pretending to do all my declutter prep, which I would post Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, to get everyone excited and ready to start decluttering Saturday (even though I wouldn’t be starting that day anyway because I had a seminar to attend).

The following days, I continued to wake up at 4:00-5:00am every morning to plan and prepare my instagram posts for that day, before I would go to work and stay until 6pm. Not to mention what I gave up that week to work on this series, that I couldn’t even participate in myself!

You know what milestone I skipped? My 2 year anniversary with B on Friday night…yep. We didn’t celebrate our 2 years of dating because I had to stay in and edit fake videos showing me decluttering, when I literally only began the process for the camera, and had to leave all my clothes out in a pile in our bedroom, because I didn’t have time to follow through with the actual declutter process, something I love.

In the past week since the Declutter series launched, I haven’t posted ONE THING about decluttering since that Saturday, Feb. 2. I had such high hopes, the first weekend would be clothing, the second weekend would be makeup and beauty, and so on throughout the weeks, but I didn’t get there. I didn’t plan. I didn’t schedule. I didn’t have the time nor the energy. I felt unproductive, worthless, and inferior. But you know what? That feeling lasted for about a day, because you know what I did about it?

I let it go.

I didn’t let my “shoulds” take over my life.

I didn’t let “shoulds” take control of my emotions. I didn’t give in to feeling worthless because of not following through on something I had originally created. YES, it’s important to follow through with your promises and YES it is important to follow through with your ideas, but if it’s affecting your health (mentally or physically), your sanity or your self worth, IT’S NOT WORTH IT.

It’s time to take CARE of yourself.

Take care of your health and your emotional well-being, because if you aren’t at your highest frequency and if you aren’t recharging the way your body and mind needs to, how are you supposed to help others? How are you supposed to help the people who depend on you? How are you supposed to live your life to its fullest, every single day?

Today, I want you to remember:

Your self worth isn’t determined by your status, your connections, or your comparison to your peers; your self worth is determined by how you feel about yourself on the inside, what moral compass you follow on a daily basis, the kindness in which you treat those around you (as well as how you treat yourself), and by how you are taking action every day to follow and achieve your dreams.

What action steps do you take to help yourself first? Let me know in the comments!

5 Life-Changing Tips to Help You Declutter Your Space For Good!

5 Life-Changing Tips to Help You Declutter Your Space For Good!

I don’t know about you, but if you’re anything like me, you like to organize…and organize again, then re-organize everything in an infinite cycle of organizing chaos, because it’s continually a mess, and there MUST be a better system.

Let me tell you, I’ve read A LOT of books, A LOT of blogs, and watched A LOT of documentaries, tv shows, and YouTube videos about decluttering, but only one book truly got into my head and made me discover the “why” behind the decluttering and organization.

The one book that finally inspired me to declutter regularly, the only book that I’ve ever re-read 8 times (or listened to on Audible) was also the book that taught me lessons about tidying, lessons about myself and lessons about life, that I had never known before.

If you didn’t guess it already, this book is called, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” I’m sure you’ve heard of it throughout the past several years, and now that they’ve created a show called “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” on Netflix, I’m sure you are well aware of this tidying way of life.

So, the reason I am telling you all of this is because I am launching my #DeclutterWithA Series on Instagram and the blog, starting this Friday, February 1, which will continue throughout the month of February! I will be taking you on my journey of decluttering my space and minimizing my belongings while sharing tips and tricks along the way.

PS: Did you know that the decluttering process is SO much easier when you prepare first?

To make this process easier for you to start, I’ve created a FREE Declutter Prep Guide to help you this week, before you start the decluttering process in YOUR home!

CLICK HERE to get your own Declutter Prep Guide.

Since I’ve read and re-read this book SEVERAL times, I honestly think it’s a great one for you to pick up in store, online, or even download on Audible (I’m a HUGE fan of Audible’s audiobooks), so you’ll always have it in your arsenal, but I figured I’d list a few tips and tricks I learned from the book, that I found extremely beneficial.

A Few Helpful Tips I Learned:

  1. Every item needs a home.
  2. Pick up each and every item, one at a time to see if it “sparks joy” within your heart.
  3. For the items that don’t spark joy, you must thank them for what they have brought to your life.
    • This could be the knowledge of knowing you shouldn’t buy similar things anymore, since you won’t wear them, or it could be that this item lasted a long time with you, and has already proven it’s worth, so now it’s ready to bring joy to another home.
  4. I found that when I wasn’t using an item, I felt more of a desire to part with it than I had anticipated. This was because it started to make me think of the items as I would think of people.
    • I began feeling bad that they were made for a specific use that I wasn’t using them for. I want them to fulfill their purpose, and if I couldn’t do that, they needed to go help someone else who could or would use them.
  5. Going through your home by category, rather than by room, truly allows you to see and lay out EVERYTHING you have from one category.
    • ie: if you had 1 junk drawer in every room, but tidied only by room, you would think you had the right amount of pens, post-it notes, & scissors. However, when you tidy by category and put all your office supplies in one spot and then realize you had 12 pairs of scissors, 78 pens and unlimited post-it notes, you can easily keep the best ones, eliminate the ones you constantly reach over, and have only one or two office supply drawers rather than 9 junk drawers throughout the house.

I can’t wait to start my first decluttering journey of 2019, and I hope that you will join me in the process and start decluttering and minimizing your home too! If you do start your decluttering process in February, please tag #DeclutterWithA so I can see what items “spark joy” in your life!

Always, your constantly decluttering friend,

A



51 Reasons to Be Grateful Today

51 Reasons to Be Grateful Today
  1. Your physical health that helps you live a long life
  2. The time you’re able to spend reconnecting with those you love
  3. Your friends: the family you choose
  4. Your family and the support they are able to give you
  5. A safe place to live; a place where you are warm, protected and able to sleep in peace
  6. Your legs that help you walk, jump, run and explore life’s adventures
  7. Your creativity; the imagination only YOU have
  8. Your eyes that help you to see the vast world around you
  9. The ability to do anything or be anyone you want to be
  10. Your ears that help you hear the wind, the ocean and the music around you
  11. Your mental health that allows you to function easily in the world
  12. Your ability to make a change in your life if you aren’t happy
  13. Your arms that help you carry all of life’s necessities
  14. Your hands and fingers to help you write down your passions
  15. The childhood that made you into the person you are today
  16. The unique traits that make you, YOU
  17. The freedom you should never take for granted
  18. The kindness of humanity that resonates within your soul
  19. Your heart, the constant beating that reminds you that you are alive
  20. The inner peace you are able to channel when you are alone
  21. The excitement you feel when things are going well in your life
  22. The miraculous sound of the rain as it cleanses the world around you
  23. The restlessness in your soul, that keeps you always moving forward
  24. The ability to learn from your mistakes
  25. The abundance of love inside you, radiating from your core
  26. The emotional release you experience when you laugh & when you cry
  27. Your shoulders that support you, even when you feel like you’re holding up the world
  28. The consistency of time, to help you form a routine and prioritize your passions
  29. An incredible fear that drives you to succeed
  30. The support system you are able to reach out to when you feel like you can’t do it on your own
  31. The helping hand you receive, even when you’ve hit rockbottom
  32. The resources that always seem to be there, even when you least expect them
  33. The resiliency you have to pull yourself out of the low points in life and create a better path for yourself
  34. The ownership you have over your life and career
  35. The quietness your soul feels when you are happy and content in your life
  36. The ability to ask for help when you are struggling
  37. The freedom you feel when you’re creating something meaningful
  38. The passion you experience when you are doing something you love
  39. Your ability to see the world, to experience this entire planet
  40. The faith you have, knowing something out there is bigger than us
  41. The decisions you were able to take, that led you to where you are today
  42. The lessons you learned and the guidance you received in order to create this beautiful life for yourself
  43. Your endless pursuit for knowledge, and your ability to learn 
  44. The acceptance of Mother Nature’s wrath, amidst all her glorious beauty
  45. The ability to forgive, along with the ability to not forget
  46. The knowledge that you’re only one decision away from changing your entire life
  47. The bravery to follow your dreams
  48. The lightness you feel when you fall in love
  49. The ability and strength you have to stand up for what you believe in
  50. The memories you can return to instantly, just by closing your eyes
  51. The endless possibilities that await you

DIY Christmas Gifts

DIY Christmas Gifts

Some years I go crazy with the gifts during Christmas, and end up with a lot of debt in the new year, but this year is different. I love my friends and family so so much, but my “love language” is definitely spending time with my loved ones or spending time making them something they will truly enjoy, rather than just giving them random useless things because “it’s the thought that counts.”

I thought I would share some tips for gifts you can make for your friends and family that they will love, as well as some that are budget friendly!

  1. A Statement-A-Day Jar: This year for B’s birthday I made him a jar filled with 365 notes that included different sayings, things I loved about him, things I wanted to do with him, and memories or funny anecdotes we shared throughout the past year. This really is such a great gift idea, because they will have something to open every single day until the next year.
    •  What you’ll need: 
      • 1 large jar (I recommend this 64oz. jar for the size)
      • Ribbon (I used this to put at the top of the jar so it looked “finished;” you may have this laying around your house, or you can pick up from the 99c store)
      • Gift Bag (A gift bag is easier to wrap the jar with, than wrapping paper, but you can do either; you can pick this up from the 99c store)
      • Tissue Paper (I use this to fill the gift bag with; you can pick this up from the 99c store)
      • Stationary Paper (I chose this Christmas one, but they have so many other decorative papers online or at Joann Crafts or Michael’s)
      • Pen (I love these felt tipped pens with different colors, but a regular pen or Sharpie works just fine too!)
      • Scissors (I cut the paper into strips 1″ x 3″, so you will get 12 strips for every sheet of the 6″ x 6″ paper I linked above)
      • Time! This project took me several hours, making sure I had enough topics to write down as well as counting and re-counting the papers to make sure I had 365
  2. Hand Made Photo Album: I made this gift for my parents a few years ago for Christmas and it was so simple and appreciated! We all have our phones attached to our hips, which means we always have our cameras with us at all times, THEREFORE, you probably already have a ton of candid photos of your family and friends. To make this album, I took scrapbooking cardstock, printed out my favorite photos of them and glued them on the pages. I secured the album with ribbon and it was so simple. 
    • What you’ll need: 
      • Scrapbooking paper or Craft Paper (This will make up the pages of your book.) 
      • Glue-stick or Washi Tape (to hold images down; if using washi tape, I recommend sticking the corners down on a diagonal, or taping only the top and bottom with smaller strips.)
      • Photo paper & printer (or you could have this printed at a photo developer like CVS or online)
      • Hole puncher (use this to punch three holes in the side of the paper and thread with twine or ribbon to create a binding.)
      • Ribbon or Twine (to secure the book together, I’ve linked thin satin ribbon, because that’s what I prefer, but you could use curling ribbon instead (it just needs to be small enough to fit through the punched holes.)
      • Scissors (to cut photos out)
      • Sharpie (to write words, or make designs around the photos)
  3. Personalized gift cards: When I was younger, I obviously couldn’t work, which meant I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on gifts, but I could gift “acts of service.” An act of service is a practical gift that enables the recipient to basically get time back for themselves. (and who doesn’t need more time?!) Since this gift is really up to you, I am going to list a few things you could “gift” your friends and family. However, in making these certificates, you could either create them on your computer using Photoshop or Word, online through a program called Canva, or by hand on nice cardstock.
    • Some examples could be: 
      • Washing their car
      • At home manicure/pedicure
      • Picking up their mail, groceries, dry cleaning, etc.
      • Running errands for them
      • Walking their dog
      • Bathing their dog
      • Pet-sitting
      • Cooking a nice dinner for them
      • Their sober chauffeur for the evening, instead of Uber
      • If you have experience: Wardrobe Styling, home organization, makeup application, hair styling/blowout
      • If you are knowledgable on a subject they are interested in, you could give them a 1 on 1 lesson
      • The list could really go on and on…

I hope these few ideas gave you a little DIY gift inspiration this year, especially if you’re short on time! Let me know what DIY or low budget gifts you have planned this year!! 

4 Tips for Maintaining a Work/Life Balance

4 Tips for Maintaining a Work/Life Balance

Whether you work from home, at an office, or as the CEO of a multi-million dollar company, maintaining a work/life balance is always a difficult issue we deal with. When you’re at work, you’re worrying about your home life, and when you’re at home, you’re feeling guilty for not working. 

I decided to make a list of a few tips to help you more easily maintain a work/home life balance.

  1. DO NOT multi-task at work: Did you know you could finish the same amount of work in 30 hrs (or less) that normally takes you 40 hours to complete? This is because you are multi-tasking, which is not efficient long term. When you’re at work, focus on one task at a time, and complete it before moving onto the next.
    •  When you’re trying to focus on the task at hand, while having 30 tabs open on your browser, and checking your email, during a weekend conversation with your coworker, you aren’t able to complete the one most important task at hand, but instead, you feel like a chicken with it’s head cut off bouncing from one screen to the next, not knowing what you’re doing or why.
    • When each project has a deadline associated with it, do you usually focus only on that project until it’s complete? This will free up 10+hours in your week to spend with your friends or family. Maybe that helps put it into perspective?
  2. DO NOT multi-task at home: When you are home with friends or family,  don’t spend your quality time with them checking email or texting your coworkers about a project you could’ve discussed at work. Doing this makes your family feel like a second priority, and you won’t be able to get the time back that you wasted talking to a colleague about an “emergency” that we BOTH know is not a life or death situation (unless you’re a doctor, then please, take the call).
  3. DO set a “phone free” time: When you are with loved ones, set aside a time to be “phone free”. This allows you to be truly present with your partner and to enjoy the time you spend together without being distracted by irrelevant issues.
    • When B and I go out to date night, or spend time at home at night, we have a specific time where we leave our phones in the other room and are completely present with each other to give one another our full attention. This allows for each of you to share your day, laugh a bit (or a lot in our case) and really bond on a deeper level, everyday.
  4. DO use your vacation time: If you have a company that compensates you for vacation days (or even if you don’t) take a vacation with your partner. Whether you are taking a “staycation” together or actually getting out of town, take the time off work to disconnect with the trials and tribulations of office drama, and reconnect and rekindle that fun or intimacy you had when you first started dating.
    • This is when you want to engage in “phone free” time too. 

I hope this helps you more easily navigate a work/home life balance! If you have any tips or tricks you would like to share, please let us all know in the comments! 

-A

The Body Butter You NEED For Fall & Winter

The Body Butter You NEED For Fall & Winter

Let me be honest, I am obsessed with my skin. I’m always trying to stay hydrated and attempting to look younger than I did yesterday (gotta prevent that crepey skin, #amiright?), so body lotions and body butters are a VITAL part of my everyday routine! I vary my lotions depending on the time of year, so I thought I would share my favorites for Fall and Winter with you!

Right now, it’s Fall going into Winter, so I really like having something a little thicker and more hydrating on my skin than what I wear in the Summer. These are the only two body butters that I use this time of year, and lucky for you, they fit any budget since they are at two drastically different price points.

Product image of Josie Maran whipped body butter and a bottle of organ oil on a fluffy, cozy blanket.
  • Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Body Butter: This body butter is made of some amazingly hydrating and natural ingredients like Aloe Vera, Argan Oil, Sunflower seed oil and Shea Butter. This body butter is extremely hydrating and goes on smoothly. It does take a while to sink into the skin, so you may want to rub it thoroughly and wait a couple minutes before dressing. (My favorite scent is Vanilla Bean, it smells like you added a bit of Pure Vanilla Extract to unscented body butter. It seriously smells INCREDIBLE!)
  • *PRO TIP: for extremely dry skin, I love adding a few drops of Josie Maran’s 100% Pure Argan Oil to the Body Butter before applying to my skin. I literally stay so hydrated until the next time I shower!
  • Price Point: $35/8oz
Photo of girl's hand holding of Trader Joe's Pumpkin Body Butter with marble tray, candle, and crystal decorative jars.
  • Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Body Butter: I just found out about this body butter THIS year! Yes, I know, I know, I’m so late to the game with Trader Joe’s beauty products, and this is the first and only product I’ve tried, so I definitely must try more! This body butter is extremely affordable and is so hydrating! Made with coconut oil, shea butter and pumpkin seed oil, this body butter is full of some amazing natural ingredients, and smells incredible! For all you PSL lovers out there, this one’s for you!
  • *PRO TIP: buy this body butter in store only; it will be FAR more expensive online.
  • Price Point: $4.99/8oz.

Directions for best use of body butter:

  • Apply immediately after toweling off from a shower or bath. This is when your pores are open and your body will be able to absorb the most moisture. Think of your skin like your thirst, once your skin is dry, it is already dehydrated (Just like when you are thirsty).
  • When you apply body lotion/body butter immediately following a shower or bath, you end up using about half the amount of product to hydrate your skin than if you were to wait until your skin was dry (or thirsty) and it would STILL hydrate better than if your skin was dry to begin with.

What are your favorite body butters or lotions for Fall and Winter?

Oh, and don’t forget: be your most amazing YOU today!

–Ashley

We are all in this together.

We are all in this together.

I can’t believe I’m typing this right now. Today has been a struggle. 🙈 I honestly feel completely distracted and unmotivated, despite hitting a major goal on Instagram last night! 550 followers, I feel truly grateful that I’m able to bring value to your life, whether that’s in beauty, fashion, lifestyle, motivation, or just entertainment…I AM a goof sometimes! (or all the time) 😜

But today feels different. I go through these stages every once in a while where something, somewhere inside me starts feeling completely lost. I feel numb to my surroundings, I feel alone in my thoughts, and irrationally misplaced in this world. This happens to me about every couple months, pops up without a warning and lasts anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks.

Besides feeling completely disoriented, nothing seems to be sticking. I’m sitting at my computer trying, wishing, PLEADING my mind to focus and get something done, but there are constant, irrational noises permeating everywhere around me, and I keep seeing distractions from my peripheral. My head feels like it’s tuned to 37 different TV channels and it keeps flipping back and forth between them all, as they each play louder and louder until I can’t remember what I’m doing (or trying to do) in the first place.

I’m bringing this to your attention to let you know that, although most of my days are filled with sunshine☀️, rainbows 🌈, and immense belly laughs 😂, it’s not always like that. We ALL struggle with our own inner battles, and we have to remember to take care of ourselves. Sometimes this lack of consciousness passes in a day or two, and sometimes it truly feels like walking around with 15 monkeys and an elephant on my shoulders for almost a month, but IT DOES PASS.  In the meantime, I pop on my noise cancelling headphones, turn to my “instrumental” playlist on Spotify, and try narrowing my task list down to one tiny step at a time.

What are your best coping strategies for your inner battles?

How long do you usually feel that way?

And what is your best advice for someone going through their own internal battles today?

Let’s help each other, because WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.

 

Universal Studios Hollywood: Tips & Tricks to save money and have more fun!

Universal Studios Hollywood: Tips & Tricks to save money and have more fun!

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

My boyfriend, B, and I absolutely LOVE going to Universal Studios! It’s a really fun date-day and with our annual pass, every visit is about $25 for parking and then any other money spent is on food or drinks (which we always pack protein bars anyway, so food is never something we buy).

I’m going to share with you, a few of my tips for having the best experience at Universal Studios as an adult couple!

  1. Get an annual pass. If you are a California resident, and live close enough to go more than twice a year, you will definitely get your money’s worth with an annual pass. They have a few different passes to choose from, varying between $179 – $609 depending on blackout dates, but when daily admission is between $109 – $124 per day, why wouldn’t you get an annual pass? Personally, we work around the blackout dates, (except this year when we were planning on going for my birthday, and then while on our way, we found out the entire month of July was blacked out) so we get the $179 pass and make sure to go at least 3 times a year, to really get our money’s worth. Plus, it’s such a fun date that you could go on for less than $35/time including parking and gas (depending where you’re driving from).
  2. Go on a weekday if you can! When school is in session, go on a weekday! You have less crowds, less lines and overall less people, which means you can go on more rides and tours than you would be able to if you went on a weekend. Wait line times on weekdays average about 0-30 mins, where weekend lines can be up to 2+ hours for one ride.
  3. Save money, pack food and drinks! You can bring water bottles (plastic or stainless steel; NOT glass) into the park, so I recommend bringing water with you, otherwise you will have to pay up to $10 for a bottle of water! We also bring protein bars to eat during the day in case we get hungry, since food is always expensive in there too. *If you drink, we usually bring a small plastic water bottle with vodka in it, JUST in case we need a little pick me up during the day. (because why not?) 
  4. Get there early. We usually aim to leave our house after the morning rush, and get to the park around 10-11am (the park opens at 10am). Getting there early allows you to go on more rides and experience more shows than if you were to wait until the afternoon to go, plus there are much less people in the morning.
  5. Wear comfortable shoes! You will be walking A LOT, since the park is so spread out. Universal Studios has both an upper lot and a lower lot you will want to experience, so your feet need to be comfortable!
  6. My top favorite things to experience!
    1. Upper Lot
      1. Universal’s Animal Actors: If you like animals, this is the show for you! This Animal Show highlights trained animals that currently work in Hollywood. It is so funny, and always the same, yet different based on how the animals decide to react to the trainers.
        • PRO TIP: We ALWAYS stop by Mulligan’s Irish Pub and grab a drink before heading over to the show, it’s literally our FAVORITE part of the entire day at Universal Studios!The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: The ride, “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” is a 4K HD Ride that takes you into Hogwartz and throughout the entire world that is Harry Potter.Processed with VSCO with m5 presetThe Walking Dead Attraction: only if you aren’t too afraid of horror mazes…
      1. Universal’s Studio Tour: This takes you through the backlot of Universal Studios, where you can see the sets and soundstages of popular movies and tv shows, as well as experience some crazy things while you’re on the ride.
      1. Simpsons, the Ride: This ride is really fun, but it does jerk you around a bit, so don’t go on this one if you are nauseated or have a headache.
      1. Kung-Fu Panda: This attraction is new, and B and I went on this for the first time on Thursday and it was really cute. Highly recommend taking part in this attraction if you haven’t seen it before.
    1. Lower Lot
      1. Transformers: The Ride: This experience is very fun, and SUPER realistic, but like the Simpson’s ride, make sure not to go on this one if you are nauseated or have a headache, it will only make it worse (at least it has for me).
      1. The Mummy: This is one of my favorite rides in the whole park! It’s a cross between Space Mountain and Indiana Jones at Disneyland, and I LOVE it!!Stranger Things Maze: So this one is a last minute add-on since it will only be an attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood until Nov. 4, 2018, but I HIGHLY recommend going through this if you are a “Stranger Things” fan and if you are going to be there before tomorrow. *and if you can’t make it, check out this link to see what it’s all about! Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

I hope this helps you plan your time at Universal Studios Hollywood! I can’t wait to see your pictures, and let me know if I’ve missed anything you would recommend!!

Cheers!

Ashley

Don’t be afraid to be yourself: “What’s the WORST that could happen?”

Don’t be afraid to be yourself: “What’s the WORST that could happen?”

Be a sprinkled donut in a world full of bagels! ⠀

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When I was 8, I lost all confidence and stopped talking, not altogether, but I would mostly speak only when spoken to. I tried to fit in, I tried to act “normal” so I wouldn’t be made fun of anymore. I went from being a loud, goofy and weird “wild child” to being the most shy and quietest person in the room. ⠀

I lived like this for all my teenage years and into my early 20s, where I started drinking alcohol to loosen my shy inhibitions a bit, until I finally cut ties with that shell of a human, and started living my whole life again. ⠀

Let’s backtrack a bit, I was 23, in a bad relationship at the time, living in a different state where I had no friends and was completely miserable. I was quickly losing faith and hope in my own happiness and I didn’t know what else to do until something unexpected changed my life.

One day, I was cleaning our apartment and an infomercial popped on the tv talking about Tony Robbins. (I must have been living under a rock, because I had no idea who he was at that point.) I bought the tapes, figuring it couldn’t hurt, all those people seemed SO happy, even though I knew it was an infomercial. ⠀

As I was listening to the tapes, he said something that changed my life forever. I honestly can’t remember exactly what he said, but I FINALLY realized that I could change my life, and be happy. I don’t know why I had never thought of that earlier; that I could always move back home, that I could always turn my life around, that I could always BE HAPPY, I just had to make the decision to do so. ⠀

I ended that relationship, moved back home to CA and regained the confidence in myself that I had lost 15 years earlier. I finally realized that I CAN be my weird, goofy self and walk around with confidence because I am a worthy human being and SO ARE YOU! I’m not saying you’re going to grow your confidence overnight, it’s definitely been a journey, but every day is another step closer to being your true self and speaking up for your own beliefs. Honestly, I look at every decision I make and everything I say as “what’s the worst that can happen,” and that motto has TRULY changed my life for the better.

As an example, you go to your boss to ask for a raise, “what’s the WORST that could happen?” You COULD get shot down, you COULD be embarrassed, or worse yet, you COULD be fired (which, let’s face it, if you’re asking for a raise, you probably haven’t done anything worth being fired over), but IF you were to be fired, you’ll find another job, you’ll do something else, no one is dying, this is not the end of the world. Stand up for yourself, because no one will stand up for you. Same goes for being honest in your relationships, both familial, friendships, and romantic relationships. If those people don’t like you for who you truly are, you’re better off without them. There are so many GOOD people out there who would love your crazy, goofy self!

I’m now in my forever relationship with the love of my life, and if I hadn’t shown him my true colors at the beginning, if I hadn’t turned away all the other suitors I’d been dating, because I was looking for more, someone WORTH investing my time in, someone WORTH investing my vulnerability in; if I hadn’t shown the confidence in myself and if I hadn’t been completely insane and goofy every day of my life, I may not have landed such an equally weird, supportive and loving partner in crime.

Every day is a chance to be yourself, stand up for what you believe in, and to not settle for anything sub-par. You are worthy, you are deserving, just prove it to yourself. YOU GOT THIS, Girl!!

With love and strength,

Ashley

PS: I’m always on your side, just think of me saying to you “What’s the worst that could happen?”