Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Joy List

Life is a balancing act . Without sadness how can one understand the joyfulness :)♥ I am just saying ...:

...The Joy list....

Charles Stanley Youtube Channel

Anyone going through a hard time? Trust that God is still working.  Inspirational quotes - Inspired wall art - Charles F. Stanley:
I currently go to Buckhead church which is led by Andy Stanley but I've started listening to Andy's dad, Charles, on Youtube and I feel like a kid in a candy store. His messages have been like hope in word form these past few weeks. I'm so glad there's so many on Youtube; it's like a good book that you don't want to end.

Speaking of good books...

My Aunt Robin is a published author!
My Aunt has been a writer for awhile now but recently her first book was published and, you guys, it is SO good! I read it before it was released and couldn't put it down which, if you know me, is a big deal since I average about 1.5 books a year. (I am the worst book club member of all time.) If you want to check it out, you can do so here. So excited for her!

Ilene and Puppies 
Ilene has been one of my very best friends since I was 6. And even though we've lived hundreds to thousands of miles away from one another, we've always kept in touch and somehow, managed to land only about 45 minutes away from each other now! She and Ryan (her husband) recently lost their sweet puppy Zooey which was so heartbreaking. But...on the same day...little Taylor Swift was born and I'm so excited for them.

I think Taylor is a fan!

Talking of puppies always makes me miss my little O'malley....this very much and appropriately reminds me of him....
@shannon2846  @ktk5  Mals! :):

Kayla Itsines BBG
app, kayla itsines, and breakfast image
The highlight of my day is typically always going to the gym. It just starts my day off right and I feel so accomplished after a good workout. I've been challenging myself more with the BBG HIIT workouts, added in about four two-a-days and more cardio in the mornings but I truly do love it. It's definitely exhausting though...I think I've been averaging a 9:30PM bedtime (I am a billion years old.)

Passing Tests
Very proud of this girl (my chocolate milk twin ha!) She had a big test that we've been anticipating and praying for for awhile and today....SHE PASSED!


I really hit the mom jackpot when it came to moms. Sad I can't spend Mother's Day with her but so happy I get to have her every day in my life (or that she puts up with me every day! haha) Also glad we both gave up 80s hair and Big bangs!

What makes you joyful?


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Come like hope again

It's been really difficult to write on Run With Me as of late.

I keep coming back to this place and opening up a blank page and just nothing seems to come.

 This space used to serve as a distraction and an outlet in all seasons of life. The past couple months have been incredibly challenging and hard and sad. I find that the things I hold most dear, I am no longer so anxious to share in public. I'd rather keep them close to my heart instead. 
girl, apple, and bed image

I've even thought long and hard about perhaps retiring Run With Me but, I don't think I'm quite ready to say goodbye to this place I've called mine for 7 years now. Sunday will mark 7 years that I started Run With Me.   

I've been looking back on posts from just a year ago and am so fascinated at the person I find there behind the words. It seems I do not know her. A girl so intent on staying busy, on having plans, on making things happen in her life only to realize she could not. 

I've been learning a lot these past few weeks, mostly about patience, and God's timing, about waiting for the desires of your heart. 

Waiting is a word that has such a terrible connotation to it these days. We're such a non-wait culture. We encourage each other to move on to the next so quickly, convincing one another there's something better if we just press on, that blessings are certainly not found in the silence. 

But what if they are?

I've found that sometimes someone or something captures you so deeply, it becomes worth the wait. 

So, I'm learning patience. Which means most days I go kicking and crying to the place of understanding this is a time of patience. I can be a slow learner. :)

And more than that, more than the wait. I'm learning trust in a plan and timing that may not be my own. Which is hard for me. I've always been a "work hard and achieve your goals" kinda girl. Instant gratification. This is why me and microwave meals were tight friends for so long. 


Charles Stanley said that a problem will usually challenge our faith in some way. And my mom said that it's usually when we give something over to God and trust Him with it, that's when He gives it back to us. Mom and fridge is literally sticky-note-littered with their wise statements! Learning trust. 

And let me tell you, calculus and economics are way more fun lessons to learn than patience and trust. But are probably lessons I'll actually use in life. 

Admittedly not the most "fun" post to mark 7 years, but a glimpse into life lately. 

Take this mountain weight
Take these ocean tears
Hold me through this trial
Come like hope again.

  XO, A

Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter Things

Hi Old Friend......long time no write. 

This long weekend was truly just that - long! And for the most part largely uneventful but in efforts to redeem my terrible blogging status, I did snap a few random pictures for a recap.  

Friday I spent all day in Pure Barre training in northern Atlanta. We did so much tucking and pulsing I lost count. (That's not true, we did 24 thigh sections and 22 seat sections.) But who's counting right?!  We learned so much which is what we came to do! So fun to connect and reconnect with other teachers too.

 About hour 6 of working out training. Nice form ladies!

This one is KILLER! 

Saturday I did my one of my favorite HITT workouts of all time which is a 600 rep challenge in under 30 minutes. Beat my time by 27 seconds. Not a lot, but it's still progress. I also celebrated 24 weeks of BBG. Along with pure barre, it's totally transformed my fitness game. It's also transformed my fitness look from cute to gremlin sweaty. Sorry to all the people next to me. #splashzone 

I spent some time in the sauna which I am slooooowly starting to like. I like it a lot better when there's less random naked ladies in there.   

The rest of Saturday was errands, cleaning and then another trip to the gym for some cardio. Like I said, it was a long weekend and this girl was bored. I ended up ditching the elliptical and ran outside even though it was gloomy and rainy. I caught up on Fuller House too which is pretty cheesy but I used to love the old Full House,  so, I have to say, I'm hooked. 

Sunday included this beautiful sunrise on my way home from working out! (Don't worry mom, I was at a stoplight). 

And Easter Sunday at Buckhead Church. Just love this church! 

Busting out all the pastels. Now I just need to bust out a tan!

The rest of Sunday included food prepping for the week....

Don't be's not always veggies. Snagged this amazing sour cream doughnut and those pretty flowers at Trader Joes. I'm pretty sure I could live off doughnuts (and chocolate milk.) 

I also finally got a chance to make MySweatLife's protein balls which I've been wanting to try for awhile. These basically take list cookie dough - Dangerous! 
Recipe Here. I'm not convinced on just how healthy these are but, they're probably better than handfuls of m&ms and cadbury eggs yes?

Caught up on some Bible Reading too. I'm reading through the Bible in a year but since I didn't start until mid-February, I have a little over a month to catch up on. I'm using this app called YouVersion which I love - breaks the Bible up into readable sections each day. 

 Also soundtrack to the weekend has been this  song. Taylor Swift and Jessica Simpson will always hold a special place in my heart but DJ Ashley has been spinning some different tunes lately. 

  How did you spend your Easter?


Tuesday, March 15, 2016


This is about the third blog post I've written but not hit "publish" on. 

Sometimes it feels dis-genuine to write about "happy" things when you're going through something really, really not happy. Sadness can feel productive. Living joyfully can feel like you're not as passionate about your desires anymore. 

But, I'm realizing that there's something to be said for choosing joy even when inside you feel joy-less.  

Today I just wanted to write down a few things that have been giving me joy. 

Box Jumps
I have been spending a lot of time in the gym lately. Like, I should be paying LA Fitness rent. As many of you know, I do Kayla Itsines BBG program in addition to Pure Barre and the last few weeks the circuits have called for box jumps....which I rapidly replaced with tuck jumps. I've been terrified of these. Something about jumping up with both feet at the same time is frightening. But last Friday afternoon I decided to just do it. Did I miss the box? Heck yeah I did. Did I look silly? You betcha. 

Bend and Snap friends. Bend and snap. I'm a new box jump fan. 

This song. 
So much. I thought I had exhausted the Meredith Andrews Pandora station but Friday night as I was folding laundry (I am 87 years old), this song came on and I just stopped and listened. 

I've always loved the song "It is well," mostly because I can't fathom how the author wrote it under his circumstances. But just adoring this new version. 

Far be it from me to not believe
Even when my eyes can't see
And this mountain that's in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well, it is well, with me. 

The Bachelor Finale

Thank goodness I didn't go to a viewing party because I was a sobbing mess Monday night. I have a love-hate relationship with the bachelor finales. I love seeing two people fall in love but I also feel so deeply for the girl that doesn't get chosen; the one who has to sit on that couch after the show and say how happy she is for the new couple. And see this person she loved with the person he loved more than her. Ugh keeps my stomach in knots. It makes me so emotional. But, I'm super happy JoJo is the next bachelorette because....obviously I'll be watching. I can't quit you Bachelor! And she has amazing hair and clothes. Such a beauty! 


I have an opportunity this summer to go to San Francisco with work for a photo shoot and I plan on staying a few extra days to explore as SF as been on my bucket list for ages. Anyone want to come explore with me? (cough cough Gal Meets Glam cough cough). 

Also Utah. 
Every year I meet up with my Dream Team girls and this year we've picked Utah and scenes like this make me so happy inside. 

What brings you joy?


Friday, March 4, 2016

Life Realizations - the good, the bad and the now

Clearly me and the blog have been in struggle station for the past couple weeks but, some random thoughts for a too-long-in-coming Friday. 

1. Facebook Timehop reminded me yesterday that 3 years ago I went on a 7-mile run in the snow. Thanks for letting me know Facebook that I was either way cooler or much harder three years ago. Anything under 40 degrees and you can find me running on a treadmill inside the warm LA Fitness. 

Back in my running days (and my tan days)...come back summer!

2. The past two years, I made it my life mission to become part of the "it" crowd in this town. Not because I have a dire need to be popular. I'm actually kind of shy around people I don't really know. But because I thought I wanted to be out and doing things, meeting people all the time and this crowd looks like they are always having fun. But what I learned is that it is exhausting being in this crowd. Because well, you are always doing something. And more than that, you are constantly worried about your appearance, your weight, your clothes, For the first time in my life, things like Botox and bandage skirts and thigh gaps become very real and relevant things in my life.
party, music, and fun image

A few days ago a photo album of a "blackout brunch" appeared on Facebook. It was an event that 6 months ago I would have exhausted my phone book looking for someone to go with me to and scoured my closet for the perfect little ensemble. Instead, I saw those photos and thought "That looks awful." I'd much rather be at home cleaning out my closet (mostly of said LITTLE ensembles) which is exactly what I did last Saturday. It was a nice (lengthy) little life lesson I suppose but man, just be who you are kids. It's way easier when you remember you were created to be exactly who you are.  

#3. I know a blog is supposed to be words and sentences and things but, this picture, couldn't better depict where I am in life more than any words ever could. I just like it.

#4. I don't know how to use Linked'In. I got a promotion a few weeks back and was trying to update my LinkedIn profile and apparently sent all my contacts an email telling them about my new promotion. How.embarrassing. Basically...please congratulate me. 
bottles, prep, and champagne image

#5 This song for this week. Perfection.

Happy Friday! 
What's everyone doing this weekend?! I have big plans to continue on my cleaning circuit. Watch out laundry room..I'm coming for you.  I'm also teaching 937 classes at Pure Barre  over the next 3 days so if you're in the Atlanta area, come tuck with me!


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Plan B

I think it's a little vogue these days to be that girl that never had weddings on her mind. To be so caught up in playing sports or building a career that when Mr. Perfect comes along you're all like "Oh a wedding? I have no idea where to start."

It may not be cool, but that is so not me. I love weddings. Growing up my favorite board game was one called Perfect Wedding in which a series of dice rolls helped you collect the eight most crucial components of your wedding, grab your man and make it down the aisle before all the other brides, all on a budget. It was Every year my mom would get me the biggest Bridal magazine for my stocking and Shannon and I would spend hours clipping out dresses and bouquets and rings.

By the time I graduated college, I was on track to my Perfect Wedding. I had the boy and the wedding binder and the 1 year plan to get engaged and married, most like everyone in my small-ish town. I would have four kids by the time I was 30. Plan A was locked and loaded. 

In the summer of 2007, my perfect plan came to a devastating halt when my would-be groom became a non-participant in my game of life. And after a few months (ok, it was more like a year) I realized that I needed a plan B.
boy, girl, and love image

I see many girls these days reaching that final year of high school or college and seemingly just waiting. I am completely sympathetic with someone's heart's desire being to get married and have babies (it was mine too!). But after finding my 23-year-old-self living at home with a job just to get by, zero interests, zero hobbies and zero friends I didn't have a direct blood line to, I realized it is essential to have a Plan B....and finding that became my new Perfect Passion. 

This is not meant to be a feminist post about how you don't need a man in your life. It's meant to be a reality statement that while you're waiting for certain heart's desires, you should be investing in yourself and what makes you "you." 

Andy Stanley wrote a whole series last year on becoming the person you're looking for, is looking for. 

I doubt you're looking for a man who lacks passion and interests, ambition and genuine relationships just as much as I doubt a man is looking for that type of girl. Be the girl who knows who she is through and through. Who has friendships and hobbies all her own, and isn't waiting on someone to define those for her. 

So what was my Plan B you may ask? 

I had three things in mind #1 A new job in a new city #2 Friends #3 A hobby. I randomly said yes one day to a birthday party invite of a girl who was the ex girlfriend of my ex (talk about 6 degrees of separation.). I knew no one but the birthday girl and the party was two hours from home. But I went.  It was through that party that I met one of my very best friends who happened to live in the same town as me. (Check #2.) 

Me and Kristin....adore this girl to this day!

Both Kristin and I were looking for new jobs together and over the next three years I interviewed everywhere from Florida to North Carolina and back. In 2011 (yes that would be 4 years later...Plan B can take some time and patience people) I landed my current job in Atlanta (Check #1). 
coffee and photo image

And somewhere in between all that I just started running. I mean I hate to be all Forest Gump but I literally one day did just start running....which led to 5Ks and 10Ks and eventually half which I collected so many friends along the way. Most of my friends in Atlanta I met running the streets of Atlanta. I just showed up at the ungodly hour of 5am to run in the freezing cold. And let me tell you, you really get to know the heart of people when you're trying to make the miles pass. I also started to write....Oh Hey Run With Me! Remember when you were born?! (Check #3)
forrest gump, movie, and running image

So today, I am Ashley...a Pure Barre Instructor, fitness enthusiast, friend, data marketer who loves her job, discovered she likes to travel and write, is still terrible at cooking but tries, is still working every day on items 1-3 and is a billion times stronger person than she was at 23.

I know it may seem like I just checked all my boxes and tied this life story up in a nice little bow. But honestly, Plan B is still a work in progress.....and in between here and now were a LOT of tears hard work and waiting. And some of those heart's desires are still just that...but in the meantime, I'll work to be the best version of myself.  

 I hope we see a generation of girls who are so fiercely themselves with plans and goals and dreams unique to who they are. 

XO, Carrie Bradshaw A

Monday, February 8, 2016

Friday's Letters....The unimpressive elevator, Superbowl Thoughts and Hair Behind the Ears

On a Monday...we post Friday's Letters.
Which I'm not even mad about this time because I can include my thoughts on the Superbowl!

Dear Elevator at Work...You've been closed for six months now for "modernization." At long last, you opened this week and I got in you in anticipation. Like what was going to happen in this modern elevator? Would I come out with Judy Jetson hair? Are there snacks in there? Turns out...modernization means you push your floor number on the outside of the elevator instead of the inside. And there's a TV screen inside that shows the outside of the building. Hate to be a Debbie Downer but I'm not going to lie...a litttttle anti-climactic.

Dear Ashley's Ipod of 2006. With the crash of my iphone Monday night, you were my option for working out Tuesday morning. It appears I was into a lot of awesome music like Ke$ha and Heidi Pratt back in the day. Oh you didn't know Heidi Pratt wrote a song? I wish I didn't either. 

Dear This Picture....There has never been a truer statement. 

Dear Charlie Puth....I am IN LOVE with this song. I think I've listened to it about 47 times this morning alone. 

Dear The Super Bowl...I'm super glad you only come one time as a year as we ate too much and stayed up way too late. Your commercials were unimpressive but you were a fun time all around. 

Best times with this cutie, always. 

And his sweet family! :)

Dear Lady Gaga...I surprisingly really liked your version of the National Anthem (minus the chest pounding) but amazing. 

Dear Cam Newton....I think you are such a man-brat. How about, you take your hoodie off like a professional, answers questions with respect and not storm off the stage like a kid who was told he couldn't have the oreos. I hate to punish a whole team for a single person's behavior but SO glad the panthers didn't win solely because of you and your poor attitude.

Dear Readers....Tell me something about your weekend!!


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