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The Big 28!

Hey friends! I took a little break from blogging recently, which was slightly planned, but I didn't know it would take me so long to come back! For this I apologize and hope today's post makes up for my absence.

Tomorrow, I finally hit the big 28! Woohoo! Right about now, I'm at JFK with my sister and brother (yes I wrote this last night) laughing at something completely inappropriate which is what we usually do. We are currently on our way to beautiful San Francisco for a fun and laid back weekend filled with bottomless brunches and a whole lot of site seeing. I'm so excited! [Watch out for a blog post on my trip soon]

As I sit here and contemplate my birth, I've come to realize that while most people think of January 1st as the New Year, for me, it really falls on my birthday. It's the one time of the year, I LITERALLY, start new.

2013 was a year of SO many lessons. Both personal and professional, some good and others sad and frustrating.  I've never expected anything to come easy and I've come to realize that I enjoy the challenge. I've gone with open arms and an open heart to places I've never imaged and am proud of where and who I am today. So with this, I'd love to share with you all the 14 things I've learned and look forward to in my new year. Warning: It's about to get personal!

Photography by Jessica Oh

#1 Stop Planning: As they; easier said than done. I've spent most of my life setting goals for myself. It's always been, "I'll do this before I'm 21" or "By the time I'm 30..." It's time to let that mentality go! As much as I love to plan, life is just life. Unpredictable, un-explainable and simply remarkable. It's not worth planning every little thing because as with every single event, it never goes as planned. And that is just flippin' fabulous.

#2 No More Noise: My good friend Brandi and I have been using this phrase for a while now. In a nutshell, focus on the things that matter. Ignore the things that make you feel like you're not good enough, that you're not doing enough or simply aren't "cool" enough. It's all just noise that distracts you from being the best you. Let's all do it. #nomorenoise

#3 Social Media Truth: The truth? I love social media. I may even be a little bit obsessed. But the absolute truth is that social media is not the truth. It's so easy to post pictures of the beautiful weddings I get to produce and all the beautiful behind the scenes events. BUT just like reality TV, it isn't real. This job is not always pretty. It's hard and messy and extremely stressful. It's just not fun to share that stuff. I mean, no one wants to hear me rant right? So with this I say, don't compare your pretty with someone else. It's not fair and it's simply not always the true truth.

#4 Comparison is the Thief of Joy - Theodore Roosevelt.  Go back to #3

#5 Growth: I chose this word to be my word for 2014 and honestly it already has been an evolving concept for me. I used to think that it meant, "This year I'd book an X amount of weddings", or "I'll get published on X blog/magazine". But right now, growth means something completely different. It's more personal. The kind of growth that makes you realize what is important to you as a person, a woman, a friend and an entrepreneur. Growth from the inside is so much better than what I had anticipated and that, I can not post on my Instagram feed. #6 Letting Go: Another work in progress. I can't do everything and I don't know everything. That my friends is A OK. I'm human and it's wonderful. BOOM!

Iphone pic. Behind the Scenes of my first shoot!

#7 Learning to Say No: It's it funny that the one thing we are taught as children to do, gets harder and harder to do as we get older? Nope. Not funny. I'm still learning this one guys.

#8 Accepting Failures: Much harder than it sounds, I know! But you know what? Everything I've deemed a "failure" has been an amazing lesson. Every opportunity and experience I am a part of this year, I go in with a much clearer head and have a better picture of the direction I want to go in. Growth. Boom!

#9 Keep Your Friends Close: Let go of the ones who don't want the best for you. Keep the rest close. That's it. This was a hard reality check for me. Especially last year and it broke my heart in a million pieces. Thankfully I had some pretty awesome friends put it back together and for them I will always be grateful.

#10 Staying True: Go back to #4. I compare myself constantly. It's so easy to do it so I won't try to deny it. But after a few minutes of agonizing I realize, wait, "but that's not me". I wouldn't make the same decisions as other planners. I don't write the same as other bloggers. I don't dress the same or have the same style, so why does it matter? And even if I did, would it matter? NO. I am me. And staying true to who I am is probably that best gift I can give myself ever.

#11 Have Faith: Close your eyes and jump. I know it's so cliche, but sometimes, in business and in life, it's SO hard to make decisions when it involves not just you, but the things you've worked incredibly hard for.

#12 Me Time: I used to tell myself that I didn't have time to do things because I was so focused on my business and clients that I could take a break when everything was 'where it needs to be'. Wrong guys. Simply wrong. How can I be the best planner, business owner, friend, or person, when I'm a mess? As crazy as it sounds, sometimes you just need to put yourself first. I truly can't be the best version of myself when I haven't had a chance to sit, grab a glass of wine and laugh with my friends.

Iphone pic from my trip to Mexico. August 2013

#13 Experience:  Nope, not the kind of experience you obtain from an internship or from a managerial postilion at the best bank on the planet. I'm talking about that other kind of experience. I'm thinking more of the "Eat, Pray, Love" kind of experience. THAT I intend to pursue for the rest of my days.

#14 Live and Pursue Happiness. And that my friends, is what I am currently doing. Excuse my Instagram feed with sunny posts from San Fran.

xoxo Ashley