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Happy New Year!

Hi, everyone! Can you believe it’s 2014? It felt like 2013 went by so fast. And what a fantastic year it was! 2013 was a very transformational year for me. I was able to move forward doing work that I love, I learned how to knit, I fell in love with yoga, and even tried a meditation or two.

I haven’t made any specific resolutions this year, except to continue doing what I’m already walking on the path of: a healthier, happier life filled with love, laughter, and ease.

What are your 2014 resolutions? Did you make any this year?

Wishing everyone a blessed, blissful, and beautiful new year,

Ashley

Gratitude is the Attitude

It’s November, and I’ve been noticing on my social media feeds a rise in posts about what people are thankful for. I love the idea of sharing something everyday that we’re thankful for, no matter how big or how small.

Gabrielle Bernstein has a great quote about gratitude in her book, “May Cause Miracles”: “Gratitude creates a domino effect of love.”

I know that when I’m feeling down, stressed, panicked, rushed, irritated, or just not feeling “OK,” I’ve been forcing myself to remember gratitude. To be thankful for the small things. I’m thankful for my beautiful apartment, my loved ones, but I’m also incredibly thankful to the pen that doesn’t run out on me, or being able to have the time in the morning to write this post. When you set your mind to being thankful all the time, it’ll leave you feeling less panicked, stressed, or irritated, even if only for a minute or so.

Today, I’m sharing my gratitude for yoga and my breath. I’ve been trying to sit in stillness each morning to center myself before heading into my work day, and I’ve noticed that with yoga and focusing on my breathing, I feel stronger and more confident.

I’m also thankful for chai lattes, which basically captures the entirety of the holidays and places it in a single cup of steamy tea with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Mmm.

I found this coconut chai latte last night from Oh She Glows and it’s my inspiration for this morning’s chai latte. And sometimes, I like to make my chai lattes more chilly (yes, even in winter) and I make this chocolate chai banana smoothie.

Remember Your Blessings

Remember to count your blessings, every day. No matter how small, they are still blessings. This week is a special one; tomorrow is Good Friday. I haven’t been feeling the best all week. I’ve been slow-moving and incredibly tired for no good reason. I’ve slept a lot and woken up not feeling rested. But then I remember what I believe, what God did for me, and how He’s an active participant in guiding my life. I’ve been listening to Gabrielle Bernstein’s en*theos May Cause Miracles conference, and the main points I’ve been taking from the series of interviews is to never give up, because you are here for a purpose. Every where I go I hear this same message: You are loved and worth it. And sometimes, we lose sight of that. And that’s why you need gratitude lists, prayers of thanks, and countings of blessings. And that love, above all, is the most important. Love conquers all.

Beautiful You: Spring in Your Step

Spring has sprung! Today it’s supposed to be about 70 degrees, and I felt it was the perfect time to bring along another “Beautiful You” post.

I came along this verse while doing my devotional yesterday morning:

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances.” -1Thessalonians, 5:22 ESV

To be the most beautiful you, you have to live with a positive attitude. I automatically knew this verse would put a spring into my step. I mean, how could I not have a positive attitude after reading those nine words?

Living with a positive attitude will put a spring in your step. You’ll wake up feeling light, rather than burdened down. It’s not just about seeing the bright side all the time; it’s just being thankful. Even when you don’t think you can see a light at the end of the tunnel, all you need to do is remember those nine words, or whatever words speak to your heart. It could be a favorite passage from a book, a prayer, a meditation, a mantra, a song lyric, etc. What words put a spring in your step when you feel as if there’s nothing you can do to bring your shine back?

Be the most beautiful you today. :)

~Ashley

The Little Things

Today’s post is a quote that I repeated to myself throughout the day:

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. ~Robert Brault

Let this quote sink in. Think about the moments that have made you smile. Write them down. Celebrate them!

Have a great night:)

Ashley

Happy Valentine’s Day

Things I’m loving today:

This Twitter party today at 2:30 p.m. EST from Operation Beautiful.

This recipe for calzone hearts.

This card.

This song by Colbie Caillat.

Here’s something to remember for everyone:

Find something in every day that makes you smile, even just once. Capture that memory somehow. And remember it. No matter what day it is.

Today I’m thankful for all of the people in my life who love me, and I extend that love back to all of them.

And a little shout out to my boyfriend. :)

I hope you all have a wonderful day. I plan on eating plenty of chocolate.

So, here’s the question for the day:

Candy hearts: Love ‘em or hate ‘em? ;)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

~Ashley

Daily Discovery: “Happy” Playlist

This song makes me laugh.

This song makes me cry. The good kind.

This song instantly puts me into a good mood.

And I only discovered it this week. Thank you, Pandora.

Take a moment to listen. It’s lighthearted and simple. It’s easy to listen to. And it says so much.

Share in the comments below what song or songs put you into a good mood :)

Here are a few more songs which have been on my playlist this week:

“Thieves,” She & Him
“Be OK,” Ingrid Michaelson
“Brighter Than the Sun,” Colbie Caillat
“Black and Gold,” Katy Perry

(Side note: I’ve been loving the She & Him station on Pandora. Instantly mood-lifting music.)

Have a great Saturday night!

~Ashley

Happy Holidays

I hope everyone has had a lovely holiday season. If you make New Year’s resolutions, what will they be for 2013? I’ve been thinking of a few, including a plan on reading more books this year. I love the new year (even though it takes me awhile to remember to write “2013″ instead of “2012″).

I had a wonderful Christmas! We had two of them, one with my father’s family (a birthday surprise for him) and one with my mom’s family (our three cousins all got marshmallow guns, and yes, you can imagine the hilarity that began then). We had plenty of sweets, laughter, and of course, making new memories (and taking the pictures to remember).

As this new year rolls around, I really want to live in the moment. I spend way to much time worrying about tomorrow, the future, and even the past. So, even though it’s going to be one of my resolutions for the new year, I’m going start living in the moment now.

What are your resolutions for the new year? If I remember, I’ll share mine here. You should too!

Happy Holidays!

~Ashley

Recipe for the Season: Linzer Cookies

I have always wanted to make Linzer cookies. I see recipes for them each year, and every year I tell myself, “I’m going to make these.” And I never have.

Today I found the perfect cut-out with several attachments for the middle (heart, diamond, flower) and I cannot wait to bake a batch. I’m planning on using orange marmalade or I might buy raspberry jam.

Have you ever made these cookies? If so, what flavors have you tried? I’m thinking a chocolate one might be delicious, or even a pumpkin one?

Anyway, I hope you are enjoying your week so far, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving for those in the U.S. I cannot wait to make my pecan pie! I’ll share another family recipe here this week, and I’m sure you will love it.

Thanks for reading!

Ashley

30 Days of Gratitude

“Gratitude” : the state of being grateful : thankfulness.

#1. I am grateful for my ability to work.
#2. I am grateful to have a safe and stable home.
#3. I am grateful for my family and my friends. You are blessings with unique talents and personalities. Embrace them.
#4. I am grateful for my wonderful and kind boyfriend. He gets me.
#5. I am grateful that I can buy the food I enjoy eating.
#5. I am grateful that there are opportunities for me back to give back to others.
#6. I am grateful for my pug. She is my example of a self-less and peaceful life.
#7. I am grateful for all of my blog readers :)
#8. I am grateful for my faith. Without it I would have nothing.
#9. I am grateful I have lots of warm blankets for colder days.
#10. I’m thankful for my family, and how well we get along.
#11. I’m grateful for my parents who’ve taught me how to be a good person and to work hard.
#12. My sisters are the best,and I’m forever grateful I have them around. :)
#13. A little silly, but I really am grateful for coffee.

I noticed that Dennisse Lisseth, who runs the page Exceptional Living on Facebook, as well as her website Dennisse Lisseth, wrote in her newsletter the other day that she’s always wanted to do this but never made time for it. I couldn’t help but want to share as well, but thought a blog post which I could update each day would be better. I think you should join in too!

(Side note: I started following the Exceptional Living page about three months ago, and am inspired everyday by the motivational quotes and pictures she’d post.)

Have a great Thursday!

~Ashley