Oh God, I’m One of Those

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You know those people that will do anything for a buck. Well almost anything, short of selling their grandmother or selling crack  or walking the street. Those people that come up with the next big thing and it’ll just take them a few more tries until they get it just right. I’m one of them. Or was one of them until came to my senses.

I’m tired of “chasing the dream” when I can’t even remember what the dream really is anymore. I’ve done everything I’m supposed to in life, thus far at least.  I’m chugging right along, but I’m not happy. I’m not fulfilled. I have a decent paying job that pays the bills. I have decades ahead of me that can be wasted at this job but I don’t want to continue on this melancholy existence of working for “The Man.” But, I don’t want to be one “those people” that others refer to as a fast talking, money chasing, failing entrepreneurs. At least I won’t sell my grandmother or sell crack and I’d never walk the streets.

I know at heart I’ll never really be content sitting behind a desk in a room filled with cubicles being washed over with fluorescent lights humming throughout the silent screams each person makes while they type and click for 8 hours a day five days a week.  I tally the days on a 3 by 5 card at my desk, slowly counting until I’ve had enough and grow enough courage to just call it quits and finally do what I want in life.

I don’t want to be one of those people either. One of those people that give up on life and succumbs to the mundane existence of attempting to live the “American Dream.” I fight day in and day out to maintain some kind of sanity while I commute even though I have an epic battle within myself. A part of me says, “Just don’t do it. Quit. Stay home and start writing instead. You can make a living blogging and you can finish that book you started years ago. What about the mobile boutique you wanted? You can live off of saltine crackers and everyone will understand if the wedding isn’t as lavish as they thought it would be.”

Then there’s the rational side that screams,” GO TO WORK. You have to make a living and no you can never make it as a writer. There are already so many of them. No one reads your stupid blog anyway and you have to work. All of your previous ‘businesses’ have failed. SO GO TO WORK.” That side always wins and I find myself pulling up to my job, getting out of my car, and sitting in my cubicle pretending to be fulfilled.

Either way, I am one of those and worst of all I’m both. One day I’ll be neither, eventually. /rant

Until then I’ll keep on keeping on and promise to write more on the blog.

Cheers,
EA

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Nine Years and Six Months

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“The future for me is already a thing of the past –
You were my first love and you will be my last” – Bob Dylan

We met when we were young. I was fifteen and she was seventeen turning eighteen. We hid our love, or so we thought, for years from others but reminded each other daily. I have never been so close to another person in my whole entire life and although many thought what we share was momentary and would fade with time has only grown stronger.

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While others gave up on their journeys and have grown accustomed to failing or giving up, we continue on. At first we were against the odds, people doubted, we fought more than we should have but it gave us perseverance. The beginning was tough.

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There were times when we both gave up. Distance drove us apart. But those times we weren’t together were only passing moments because we always found our way back to one another. There were times when I hated her and when she hated me. Times when either one of us wanted nothing more than to throw in the towel and wish it all way.

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A few times money got the best of us and drove us apart. We let little fights turn into full fledged wars and we wouldn’t talk to each other for days. But through it all we’ve managed and we communicate on another level. Many people believe that we are still young and don’t know any better. We both know they’re wrong.

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We have had our fair share of rough times. We’ve seen the good and the bad. We share more memories of pleasant times when we were both content with life. It’s those things that we cherish and remember best.

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In our nine and half years we’ve already accomplished so many milestones. Graduations,  God children, puppies, buying our first home and our engagement to list a few.

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When Justine kneeled down and proposed at Disneyland it only confirmed more, if that is possible, that I’m meant to be with her for the rest of my life. This picture, as horrible quality as it may be, doesn’t do justice to the amount of sheer joy and admiration I had at that very moment in time.

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Justine, I love you more than words can express, more than stars in the galaxy, more than life itself. Six more months until the rest of our lives.

Happy nine years and six months.

Love always and forever,
Erika Ashley

Holidays & Ahas

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I’m the kind of gal that loves “The Holidays.” No, I’m not referring to an indie rock band you probably haven’t heard of, but the time of year between the Wednesday before Thanksgiving up until New Years Day.

It gives me a sense of comfort and joy. I love the cold weather and the emails about sales every other day in my inbox. The fact that everyone just accepts that they are probably going to gain at least 5lbs. I especially love the music. This year I started listening to Christmas music almost immediately after Halloween. I paced myself though, by only allowing myself to listen to an hour of the Michael Buble Christmas station on Pandora. (Which you should probably add to your Pandora stations if you haven’t already.)

 

This holiday season I will probably listen to these albums over and over and of course many more not shown. My Pandora stations will range from jazzy-holiday mixes to pop versions of Santa Baby and with every song my soul with glow with Christmas cheer.

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On Black Friday I partook in the shopping festivities however unlike last year I actually slept until 8am, rolled out of bed and then went shopping. I wasn’t about to jump head first into the craziness alone two years in a row. I’ll wait until next year when hopefully I have a shopping buddy to go with me. Once shopping was over I busted out the good ‘ole Christmas box, dusted it off and began to decorate our humble little home, while listening to Christmas music. Duh. I remembered that the following weekend I had opened a bottle of my favorite wine and didn’t want it to go to waste. So, I had a glass. Or two. Or three.

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Justine and I went out and snagged a pretty cute tree and I dressed it up in our Christmas best. Zoey thinks it’s the most amazing thing she’s ever seen because unlike the last few years we didn’t put it up on a side table so the dogs can’t get to it. Instead this year we placed it on the floor and so far so good. We still have a month until Christmas so believe me I’ll be watching those bad pups like a holiday hawk.

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Enough with the holidays already, let’s move on to the aha moments I had this weekend. On Saturday evening Justine and I headed over to our close friends, Adam & Laura’s new house. We ate, drank and played board games. As the night progressed we were tipsy and dancing and talking about life. Even while being fairly intoxicated I had an “aha! moment.” I realized a lot about how I’ve been living my life in beast mode. Head down, moving full force forward not taking time to actually enjoy being in my twenties.

My teenage years were a blur because all I wanted to do was get out of high school, get out of college, and be an adult. Well here I am. I’m an adult and what have I been doing? Trying to conquer every major life event so that I can feel accomplished and successful. But, I haven’t taken a moment to step back and think about how far I have come and reflect on what I have accomplished.

 

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Being 24 years old, I’ve already done so much and I have a lot to be thankful for and proud of. I need to slow my roll and enjoy the little things.

I’m thankful for everything I have and for all of you.

Cheers,
EA

Fatty-Fatty-Boomba-Latty

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Hello, I’m Erika Ashley and I’m fat. Not circus fat or “Holy-Fat-Batman!” but if I don’t getting my eating habits under control I might be headed in that direction. We’re almost 6 months until the wedding and a few months ago I attempted to count calories and exercise religiously.

I did really well for two almost three weeks. I weighed myself often (I know strike one), didn’t consult my doctor (strike two) and then tried to keep up with those skinny fit bitches in the P90X dvds (strike three). I burned out because of over doing it. I binged on anything and everything I could eat and didn’t stop. I haven’t gained any weight and haven’t lost so there is an upside.

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I thought I was doomed to be fat for the rest of my life and in a way I gave up on trying to be a healthy fit bride. Then recently a few subjects about eating habits and health have began to arise. The best man of our wedding and good friend of ours told us that him and his girlfriend have gone vegan because of a documentary they watched.

WHAT?!

This guy, who can eat two double bacon cheeseburgers in a sitting, went vegan over a movie?! I mean I’ve seen Food, Inc. and went pescetarian for a few weeks, but full fledged vegan? I found that hard to swallow.

Then my mom told me about a documentary she watched- Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and how she juice fasted for 10 days and lost nearly 15 pounds. She added that she hasn’t felt this good in a long time and that I just had to watch the movie. Mom emailed me the trailer and I watched it on my phone in between television commercials. I gave in a few days later and watched the entire film with Justine.

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Immediately after finishing the movie I turned to Justine and proclaimed that I will too take the Reboot challenge. I continued to research the ins and outs of this temporary diet and found nothing but positive results. Being that the entire diet is 60 days I think I can stick with it especially because of the overall payoff.

I’m starting to practice my juice diet fast by drinking my lunches and I’ve done it for the past two days. Given that tomorrow is the day of all feasts I won’t start completely going juice only until December 2nd.

I’m excited. I think I can really do this. Have you tried juicing? What are your thoughts? I’d love to read your insight.

Cheers,
EA

Hey There Honey Boo Boo

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I really have to stop this disappearing thing, I mean really. Anyways, during my prolonged hiatus a lot has changed.

For starters I’ve gone to Disneyland, twice. Justine and I renewed our annual passes so we took the time to escape from the day to day and head down to our Happy Place for a weekend at a time. Justine loves the Pixar movie Cars & Cars 2, so we were obliged to visit Cars Land now that it is open in Disney California Adventure. It was simply amazing, plus we got to wear our matching Disney t-shirts.

Also while I was gone I baked a little bit, a bunch of mini apple pies here and a batch of banana bread muffins there.

We sent out our Save the dates and I finally stopped gnawing at my stubby finger nails and let them grow. Thanks to Pinterest and Instagram I was addicted to changing my nail polish every few days or so. Unfortunately a little over two weeks ago I started to chew my nails again. But, I know I can stop again and I will.

I got a new job. After being a college graduate for a little over two years I finally earned a job where I can start my career doing what I went to school to do. I have a title and I’m finally salaried. I feel so grown up and so far I’m enjoying the environment and challenges it brings. The only downside is that I work full time now and barely have time to bake or run The Beast Bakery. Frustrating to say the least but at the current moment we need a stable income so that we can have our wedding and pay the bills.

 

On a lighter note, I dressed like a Zombie for Halloween. It was a little last minute but I think I pulled it off pretty well.  My new co-worker turned me on to a new craft which I have began to practice and master. I love learning something new and it doesn’t help that it can actually come in handy some day.

Justine’s cousin invited me to vend at her Annual Holiday Home Boutique. It was fun and my mom attended with me and it brings me great joy to spend time with her.

Overall, I’ve been living life and trying to stay on the brighter side of life instead of dwelling on the negative. I’m not going to sweat the small stuff and continue to persevere. One day I’ll have my bakery one way or another. In the mean time you should head on over to The Beast Bakery’s Facebook page and take a gander at what I’m offering.

Holiday Gift Baskets anyone?

Cheers,
EA

So You Failed Kid, Now What?

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Hello. My name is Erika and I’m a failure. In so many ways I’m coming to accept this statement. What did I fail at you ask? Oh just my campaign to raise funds via “Crowd Sourcing” or “Crowd Funding” whichever you choose. Basically, a little over 50 days ago I set up a campaign through IndieGogo.com to raise enough money to start a business. At first I was determined to have a mobile boutique, but unfortunately thanks to local and state regulations I was given a no-go on permits and licenses until further notice.

I quickly bounced back from that minor setback and decided that I would go all in, I mean really go big or go home, and change-up the campaign to fund my ultimate dream of owning my own bakery and having it be mobile at that! Genius! Ideas were flowing through my mind like butter through the nooks and crannies of a waffle being absorbed and turning something good into something great.

I was unstoppable. Well kind of, road blocks started popping up but I didn’t let them stop me. I kept on persisting, plugging away telling everyone and everything in my immediate path about my campaign. I reached out to a local mobile food truck and they allowed me to tag along one evening to give away cupcakes and fliers.

I crashed another local food gathering to hand out fliers. I left them on tables and even with a few vendors. I was on a mission to succeed. For a long time I thought I would. I believed 110% that I would get funded and be able to make my business a full-time job. The song “Eye of the Tiger” played in my mind 24/7 and I’m sure that if there was a set of particularly high stairs I would jog up them and triumphantly pump my fists into the air while jumping.

About two weeks into the campaign I was 1% funded and things came to a screeching halt. No more donations were coming in. I thought it was a lull. I kept on promoting and giving away freebies. I talked everyone’s ear off about my business and campaign. Still nothing. I even reached out to a local radio station that has a very funny and helpful morning show. They denied me any assistance and I went on my merry way.

I thought it was a rough patch and I would get through it. As time went on and still no donations were coming in I made a last-ditch attempt to getting funded and began seeking loans from small business associations and banks. Nope. Dry as the Mohave Desert.

As my deadline approached I came to accept that regardless of how hard I tried I wasn’t getting any farther and with that I laid my head in shame and took my lashings of failure. Now, don’t think I’m bitter or giving up in any way. Not at all. In fact I am taking the donations that were provided by my truly amazing supporters and putting it towards the Beast Bakery regardless.

I am rethinking and re-evaluating my initial plan and coming next week I will be announcing my Beast Bakery 2.0 plan. Plan B if you will.

I’m just as excited and eager to get this show on the road. Someday I will have my mobile bakery. You will see me rolling down the streets of Sacramento selling cookies and various baked goods.

Until then I want to thank my true supporters: Jayme Burnside, Sam Barnes, Kelly Dunham, Douglas Craig, and my mom and dad for donating to the Beast Bakery. Your perks will be in the mail shortly!

Cheers,
EA

Evolution of a Beast

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Hey Beautiful,

I know I haven’t been around for you. I’m sorry. I truly am. I’ve been working, I’ve been working really hard. Not only am I working my regular 9-5, but I’m trying to grow my dream into something real. No, no, no you’re my dream too. I promise. It’s just that this other thing I’ve been working on is a little bigger than just us. Don’t give me that face. You mean a lot to me too, don’t you ever forget that.

I promise I’m going to come around a lot more because I have some really exciting things to share with you. I know you’ll like them. Let me tell you a little about what I’ve been doing while I’ve been gone…

I know I said I wanted to start a mobile boutique, well thanks to city and county rules and regulations it’s a little too complicated to get that going at the moment. But, I’ve decided to bite the bullet and just do what I’ve always wanted to do. OPEN A BAKERY.

Beautiful, don’t you dare think I’m going to have just another run-of-the-mill-cupcake-making bakery. This bakery is going to be a BEAST. LITERALLY. I started The Beast Bakery. It’s still a baby beast at the moment. So far I’ve had two real orders. I am still working out some kinks but believe me this is going to be something big.

Hopefully some time at the beginning of 2013 the bakery will be MOBILE. The Beast Bakery will be a mobile food vendor and it will roll through the streets of Sacramento offering sweet baked goodness to the masses. Every item baked will be made in small batches to guarantee top notch quality and maximize deliciousness. Everything is made 100% from scratch from real recipes that I have and continue to perfect.

Gorgeous, take a moment to check out the website. It might be changing soon but that’s only because evolution exists and in order to get better you have to go through some trials and tribulations. At the moment things are a little difficult because I’m doing them 100% on my own so please be patient.

Here’s to the future, our future.

Love always and forever more,
EA