Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Giving Thanks

It's that time of the year when we all give thanks for everything we have. Clothes, car, house, family, friends, etc. I wonder, why don't we do this ALL the time!? 

Why does it take one specific holiday to put this in perspective? 

As I thought about this over the weekend and heard about a horrific tragedy, I was able to realize just how thankful I am.

It takes one accident. One mistake. One wrong turn. One moment. For someones life to be turned upside down.

I don't want to go into to much detail and this is not about someone I was particularly close too, but I do have to say one thing I am extremely thankful for is the the things I learn from my students.

I learn just how strong a 14 year old girl can be when her life is turned upside down. I learned how one community can come together and support one another. I learn that students are able to put their differences aside and be their for each other in a time of need, yet adults have a difficult time doing so. 

I learn about the perspective of a 14 year old and the innocence they bring to the table. I learn the persistency and capability a young child has at dealing with heart ache.

It amazes me to see how strong these young adults are, because if I lost a love one I know that I would be a mess. I wouldn't be able to walk into a classroom for days maybe even weeks; yet these kids are capable of handling way more than I would ever be able to handle and do so with a smile on their faces.

They tend to amaze me Every. Single. Day. That is what I am thankful for. I am thankful for each and every student I have had thus far and I will have in my future, they teach me way more than I will ever teach them

Monday, November 25, 2013

December: the Month of Change

I LOVE December. For many reasons! Christmas, bday, graduation, its is full of it all. So what exactly am I looking forward to this December!?

1) First and foremost, my golden bday! I am turning 24 on December 24th! You may not know this about me, but my birthday is celebrated for a whole month. So to answer your question, no, I do not hate having my bday on Christmas Eve. In fact I love it! Who else gets to have their family together every. single. year to celebrate? My parents created a bday diva in hopes of separating the two holidays. They were successful, hence why I believe I deserve a full month to celebrate the day I was born. 

 23rd Birthday

22nd birthday, yes I am wearing a onsie in preparation for a party later that night. And yes that man is about to shove whipped cream in my face. Birthday celebrations at Mexican restaurants are greater than everything! 

2) Graduation!! December 7th I am graduating college! Seriously, it is about time. 5 1/2 years later! Check out my two part story here. This weekend I spent time with my best friends decorating our graduation caps! 

3) Christmas! I am seriously in LOVE with Christmas. I have been listening to Christmas music since November 1st. Plus, my mom goes ALL out for christmas time, and by all out I mean 5 Christmas trees....Although some would say she is slightly on the crazy side she is an interior decorator and our house looks like it came from Pottery Barn, but I absolutely LOVE it! 

What are you looking forward to this December!?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dating Disaster

Wow, check me out blogging up a storm this week! You all might be sick of hearing so much from me, but I could not pass this up this link-up: online dating disasters....

Lets not just go for the onlines, lets really take a look at my past and go through the fine men I have dated shall we.

1) The football star. Cool you won a state championship....8 years ago. Yes, we went to the same high school, and sure I knew who you were on our blind date due to your dazzling football days. I just didn't realize we were living in the past. But watching your football film on our second date for hours and calling it a movie night....

2) The cheater. At least be smart about it! Calling me over when your ex is there and locking your bedroom door pretending to "not be home" was not your smartest move. 10 minutes later exiting the building with said girl and looking me in the eye as you walk down the stairs. HA, you couldn't figure out why I was upset...maybe you should be considered "The idiot" rather than "the cheater." 

3) The fixer-upper. It was my goal to fix you. Man, your life was a mess! I just wanted to be that girl who you would give up all your bad ways to come around to the nice young man I could see you becoming. Except I am not that girl, and you will not give up those ways, and this cycle will repeat for 6 years...

4) The non-committer. Scared to be in a relationship? Scared to use the gf/bf words? Have no fear, the non-committer is here! After months of "being together" and "hanging out" but refusing to commit I decided to move on. Except you thought we were actually dating and described me to our group of friends as a "really mean girl" (okay, maybe you used harsher words) but seriously, talk about mixed signals! 

5) The younger guy. I really have no complaint about you! You were fun, great to hang out with, and could always make me laugh. The only downfall, wrong age at the wrong time. 

6) The poser. Oh yes, here is the online dating story. So my wonderful roommate decided to put me on some online dating site. I really can't remember which one. After she made my profile she showed me and we laughed at all the weirdo guys we were finding (seriously, I got a hit from a guy named Mr. Peepee....he was a bachelor...only on the weekends when his wife was out of town) What a joke! Any how, I tried to delete my account but apparently there is some online dating you rule you have to wait 24 hours. 

So the next day I went back to my account to delete it and had a message from some guy who seemed halfway normal. I responded to him and we had a nice 15 minute chat. 

Let me inform you he could see the pictures of me my roommate had posted to my profile but I couldn't see any of his. We talked for a good 30 minutes. He told where he went to college, how old he was, blah blah blah. He finally allowed me to see his pictures and I realized....I had already gone on a date with him a year and a half before this!!! 

Seriously, he asked me to his fraternity semi formal a year and a half prior! And now he not only could see my pictures and realize he was talking to but he lied about EVERYTHING he told me! 

Never again will I online date, or for that matter date any of my above fine men. 


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Simply Sweet

The benefits of living with my parents? Sure its cheap, I save tons of money, but how about how well I eat....

My sister is one of the most AMAZING bakers/cooks/chefs whatever you want to call her.

The fact that she is also living at home right now means a few things:

1) I have been eating SUPER well
2) I really need to start working out more

My sister ALWAYS wanted to go to culinary school, and although she passed it up for multiple reasons, she still has kept her passion for the Kitchen. 

If you want some good recipes, easy appetizers  and simply sweet desserts, check her out

Monday, November 18, 2013

Part Two

Sorry about the wait for part two of my life journey! I am sure you were all hanging on to the edge of your seats waiting for this post to come out ;) 

If you missed it, here is part one

Part Two:

So I told you all that I hated law right? Well I HATED it. I was three months into this job, sitting at a desk, looking over papers and writing briefs. I can't remember the exact day, but I woke up one morning and thought, wow if I hate this job THIS much right now, how will I feel 30 years from now?

I thought maybe it was just a rough week, that I would get over it. The money would be worth it, along with all the benefits. But it wasn't. It didn't get any better. 

I was 21 years old, making VERY good money, and hating every. single. moment of it. Something had to change. 

This story kind of flows right into my testimony, because it was at this time that God was working wonders in my life. My un-happy money hungry self was not feeling fulfilled, I needed something more. 

I will never forget it. November 7th, I sat at my desk one morning listening to the radio on my computer when it hit me. My passion was not in law. My passion was a career that would allow me to influence and impact children. My whole life I was becoming prepared to be a teacher, why did I give up that passion? When did I become so focused on money? 

Three weeks later I put in my one month notice and I quit my job. I was 3 months away from graduating college, three months from a stable job, three months from affording my own home and buying a new car. Now my future consisted of another year and half of college, of thousands of dollars in student loans. Was it worth it? 

I hoped it was. I prayed it was. And all I can tell you from this story is that God is AMAZING. I would not be here with out him. By becoming a christian God changed my entire career path. 

Was it worth it? You tell me. Is having students thank you for helping them succeed worth it? Is inspiring kids who have nothing that they are capable of achieving something worth it? Is receiving letters and christmas presents from students thanking you for helping them succeed worth it? Now I am not trying to say that the legal world is a bad thing, because it is gratifying to A LOT of people! But for me, these little things are worth 100000 legal briefs! 

So yes, the change was worth it, the thousands of dollar loans, the almost dropping out of school, the major changes, the accepting christ as my savior. All of that have led me to where I am today. They have led me to my December 7th graduation date, and I could not be more excited and proud of myself for getting there :) 

Monday, November 11, 2013

One Door Opens

I have briefly shared this story, piece by piece through out my blogging. However, as graduation approaches, I feel the need to share the complete story.

This story is rather long so I broke it up into two parts:


Yes, graduation is a big deal. Yes a lot of people graduate. However, this is a TRUE accomplishment for me. There were plenty of times I almost didn't get to this point.

It started when I needed to choose a college. I really wanted to go out of state, except I am the oldest child and my parents were helping me with college my first year so they asked if we could compromise. I agreed and narrowed down my options between 2 schools. CMU (Central Michigan University) or GVSU (Grand Valley State University). I knew I was going to get into both schools so I decided whatever school I heard from first I would choose....except both acceptance letters came in the mail the EXACT same day.  I ended up choosing:

The only problem was I HATED my freshman year. HATED it. I went in blind and was assigned a roommate. I thought we would become best friends, like all the movies showed girls staying up all night and talking from their bunk beds. Except we didn't. She would stay out all night and sleep all day, I would go to class and try to sleep when she had numerous people in our dorm room at 3am.  I wanted to transfer. And I wanted to go out of state like my original plan. So I looked into two Florida colleges:


I flew down to Florida and went on college visits to both. I LOVED FGCU, but was so far away from home. My parents didn't really want me to move so after much consideration, and viewing what credits would transfer and what wouldn't I decided to stay. 

I got a job at Aeropostale as a part time manager my sophomore year. I worked ALL the time, and made pretty good money for a 19 year old! In fact, I made such good money that with a promotion I decided that maybe school wasn't for me. I called my parents and told them I was dropping out. They immediately got in their car, drove to GVSU and said,

My dad somehow found the time to make a spreadsheet of all my payments I would need to make and how much money I would actually be making in the car from my parents house to my college. He told me if I wanted to drop out, this would be my responsibility. I realized quickly, this wouldn't work out and I needed to make more money.

So I decided that I needed a job that would make me tons of money. After all, to my 19 year old self money=happiness. I decided to go into law. I changed my major my junior year in college and switched to pre-law/political science. I took all my political science classes my Junior year and LOVED it. I thought I would go to law school and eventually work in the government. 

Senior year came around and I started taking my pre-law courses. I took family law, writing in law, criminal law, and real-estate law. I also got a job at a local patent law firm making really good $$$. I thought, man this is the life! I will be financially set forever! 

Except there was a slight problem. I hated law. Read part two of this story later this week! 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday Fun Day!


I can't wait for a relaxing weekend.....of lesson plans and working out ;) 

However, just 1 month stands between the way of me and no school!! I can't say no school ever again, because I am a teacher, and it's where I will spend the rest of my life. But I am done with undergrad, FINALLY! 

My exciting news to share with you today stems from this question...Do you like food? 

My sister, the best cook ever, no in the blog world! She has taken many different cooking classes, cake classes, and cake decorating! Check her out! Her recipe up right now is seriously, delicious! 

Last but not least, keep entering the Blog giveaway! I am having so much fun participating! 

$75 Target Gift Card Giveaway
I can hardly believe it, but it's already that time of year again. Time to start the Christmas shopping season, and who couldn't use a little extra spending cash. Use it to help cross some people off your shopping list or use it as an excuse to pamper yourself {:hey, you deserve it…shopping is seriously hard work:}. 
Mer in America Erica Ashley My Life in High Heels Afternoon Espresso Image Map

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Genuine Fears

It's about to get REAL in here.

Normally I am all fun and games. I like this spot to be free and fun, nothing to heavy, nothing to serious.

Except, tonight I am REALLY struggling with something, that in reality isn't a huge deal. I am wondering if anyone else out there is struggling with this issue either...the fear of being alone. 

Okay, this kinda sounds dramatic, and to be honest, if I was reading this I would reassure myself that no, it probably won't happen. But then I sit here with the what if it does...

I like to think of all of the things I do have. Like an amazing family, awesome friends, a very fulfilling career. Yes, all of those things will keep my fulfilled in life, except I will always think that one piece is missing.

I am a hopeless romantic. I am not just going to settle for anyone. I am going to be head of heels in LOVE before I make serious commitment. Yet I genuinely get nervous that love like that isn't out there for me. 

Yes, it might be all of the recent weddings and engagements, or that fact that out of all my super close friends I am THE only single person. I guess I am just worried that I will miss out on that experience in life.

Sure, I have so many wonderful things that I listed above, but I WANT to experience a love like that. 

Now, I am not saying I am unhappy, because I am defiantly happy. I just think I could be happier...is that bad!? 

So at this point, people can tell me "Don't worry, you are only 23! You have so much time." I realize that, but it doesn't really ease the fear. So I will focus on what I do have, and wait patiently (like I have been) to see if and when that part of my life will happen! 

Forever alone (haha okay I am done being dramatic now)

Check out the Giveaway still happening!!!! Seriously, sign up now! 

$75 Target Gift Card Giveaway
I can hardly believe it, but it's already that time of year again. Time to start the Christmas shopping season, and who couldn't use a little extra spending cash. Use it to help cross some people off your shopping list or use it as an excuse to pamper yourself {:hey, you deserve it…shopping is seriously hard work:}. 
Mer in America Erica Ashley My Life in High Heels Afternoon Espresso Image Map

Monday, November 4, 2013


My weekend was quite boring, finishing up major projects due for school. ONE MONTH till graduation! I am dying!   

The most exciting part of my weekend was waiting in anticipation for this AWESOME giveaway!!! 

Sami's Shenanigans

Amber, at My Life in High Heels, is doing her first ever giveaway and guess who she asked to join her...me! 

Check out this $75 Target Gift Card!! Seriously, who doesn't LOVE Target? Especially around christmas time! 

Follow these wonderful ladies and get as many entries as you can! 

Also, check out my monthly goals link up, its time to get motivated! 

$75 Target Gift Card Giveaway
I can hardly believe it, but it's already that time of year again. Time to start the Christmas shopping season, and who couldn't use a little extra spending cash. Use it to help cross some people off your shopping list or use it as an excuse to pamper yourself {:hey, you deserve it…shopping is seriously hard work:}. 
Mer in America Erica Ashley My Life in High Heels Afternoon Espresso Image Map

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Monthly Goal Link Up

It is time to link up your monthly goals again!

Let's see how well I did this past month:

1) Complete my half marathon...Check! Not only did I complete it, but I beat my time by 6 minutes. Check out my story

2) Keep saving money...I failed. Miserably. After a trip up north to a winery with friends, many school purchases, certification purchases, and sub permits. My very part time nannying job didn't allow for much saving this month :( 

3) Complete 3 more observations...Check! I only have two more! P.S. 1 month till graduation! I literally Can. Not. Wait.

4) Keep up food logging. ehhh failed. However, I have noticed a change in my diet even though I haven't been keeping track of it. I did use the loose it app one whole month and although I haven't used it the past 2 weeks I eat a ton less, drink a ton more water, and have noticed more toning and less bloating! 

So what are my goals this month? 

1) Keep working out at least 3-4 times a week. 

2) Prepare my resume for graduation! 

3) Save, save, save! One month till I am completely Miss Independent. 

4) Drink lots of water, 3 water bottles a day! I feel so much better, I eat less, and my skin feels great! I want to keep this up!

What are your goals? Link up here! I am also linking up with Stephanie and her wonderful goal link up!! I love goal setters :) 

Erica Ashley