Small Breasts and Crooked Teeth

We all have something that we feel vehemently about or, if you’re anything like me, a multitude of things. But, there is one thing that I have felt the same way about for as long as I can remember:

Love and accept the body you were given - unconditionally. 

Kids don't usually know that there is something "wrong" about their body until someone points it out to them. They happily go about their day not worried about the shape of their body, the contours of their face, or the size of their appendages. 

The real shitty thing is that there is nothing wrong with their body (or their face), it's completely perfect just the way that it is. You know the saying, "humans are perfectly imperfect." It isn't until some arbitrary fucked up societal and cultural standards are called out to them do they then start to feel like something is wrong with them... something different... something inadequate. And if they feel that way, then they better make their counterparts feel just as shitty. And so, the cycle begins. At a very, very young age. 

Biased comparison isn't innate. Babies and toddlers simply take note of differences and process them as neutral differences. "I'm this color, they are that color;" "my nose is shaped this way, their's is shaped that way;" "my hair is this color, their's is that color." They have a genuine curiosity but typically don't associate their observation with something negative until someone else like a parent, sibling, or playmate teaches it to them. They make simple and objective observations without viewing one as desirable and one as less desirable or undesirable. 

When I was about 12-years-old I was at a routine dentist appointment. The dentist started talking to me and my late step-mom about orthodontics and straightening my teeth. We were both a little confused as to why this was brought up and asked why he was giving us information on "fixing my teeth." His answer beat around the bush a bit. I was taken back. And, well, offended. We asked if this was medically necessary or if this was strictly cosmetic. He confirmed it would simply be to straighten my teeth for aesthetics. 

F-that. I was a tough little horse-riding BB Gun shooting cookie infused with The Doors, Metallica, and Alice N' Chains.

I laughed and told him I didn't need or want to have my teeth straight. My step-mom laughed with me and reflecting back, I think she was pretty damn proud. 

Before that visit to the dentist office, I didn't think much of my teeth. I smiled in pictures and laughed without concern of someone looking at my crooked teeth. But after that visit, there was little voice inside me that whispered..."Your teeth don't look like they should. You don't have a pretty smile." I increasingly become self-conscious of my teeth and smile. I compared my teeth to my peers, my siblings, and girls in magazines and on TV. In family photos, you can see me going from a teeth-showing smile to a subtle smirk, or pursed lips (before it was a raving trend), or even no smile at all. Thank God this was before the likes of Facebook and Instagram or even wide-spread internet adoption.

I even rocked my unibrow

I even rocked my unibrow

My siblings and I, me, far right

My siblings and I, me, far right

Of course, I negatively compared myself to others before then (like when I hit puberty and broke out with acne before other kids my age in elementary school resulting in relentless teasing by older boys), but this was certainly a time in my life when I became even more concerned with my looks. And, started to consider whether or not I was pretty enough just the way that I was. 

Thankfully during this time of my life, I didn't only listen to classic rock and metal. While I was questioning my beauty and uniqueness, Jewel was breaking records with her album, Pieces of You and my sister and I had her hits on repeat. 

Jewel's face was all over magazines and VH1, and although most images and clips of her were with her lips closed or slightly parted, there was the rare few that showed her now famed crooked teeth. 

I was affirmed. I wasn't alone in letting my teeth be au naturel. 

Jewel's teeth have been the topic of conversation on more than one occasion in the entertainment industry. In writing this post, I came across this interview were she intimately discusses her stance on her teeth. 

When I first got signed to a recording contract, I saw other girls in my industry getting nose jobs and boob jobs and chin jobs, because they wanted to gain an acceptance they were unwilling to give themselves. Of course I considered having my teeth fixed. But I knew that if I started down that path, it would be a slippery slope—having come from a broken and dysfunctional home life, I was not the picture of high self-esteem. I was, however, the daughter of pioneers. In Alaska, I was raised on a homestead. We lived off the land, which taught me that hard work pays off. It also taught me one of the most important things I have ever learned, something I still try to live by to this day: Hard wood grows slowly. I know, that isn’t a very flashy life motto, but make no mistake, it is profound. If you want something to last, it has to develop over time. An oak may take a long time to grow, but it lives for hundreds of years. Country living taught me that there are no shortcuts or quick fixes for a meaningful life. I had to figure out real solutions to my problems if I wanted them to be permanent. If I wanted to build a healthy new life, it meant learning to love and accept myself, and to be a friend to myself. It meant forgiving my short comings, accepting my flaws, and finding the courage to not make decisions out of insecurity. It meant letting people call me “snaggle tooth” or anything else they wanted, without losing my pride. Happiness and self- acceptance wouldn’t come overnight. They were a process, and if I wanted lasting results, I had to commit to that process—even if it was a public one. I had to define beauty for myself.
— Jewel

Jewel beautifully and profoundly states what I have come to fervently believe for myself.

You cannot fix the way you feel on the inside by changing something on the outside. Learning to love and accept yourself unconditionally is a feat most people will never conquer. 

Looking in the mirror and saying "I am beautiful," is fucking hard. Looking in the mirror and saying, "I am beautiful, I love and accept myself," is really fucking hard. Embracing it is really, really fucking hard and takes massive work. Work that is internal and that no one else can do for you or validate. This isn't to say that you are alone in the process, I've received massive support and guidance. I've asked for help in my times of darkness and visceral feelings that I was the ugliest human being on the planet and I was met with empathy; though I was alone the work to pull myself out of despair.

It's hard work that needs to be done over and over throughout our entire life. Through aging, illness, weight changes, injuries, depression, stress, and heartache. It's a practice that takes humility and it's work that I don't believe is ever finished or fixed. Certainly not through cosmetic surgeries, anti-aging bullshit, airbrushing, or “beauty” products. Time and time again, I've thought I fully accepted my body and then wham-bam I have some jiggly skin out of nowhere and my thighs have a couple more spots with cellulite that can be seen from my neighbors house. Some days, I am more accepting and graceful of myself than others.


The next big kick to my self-esteem was when I was 19. My college boyfriend and I were laying in his bed one morning and I asked him (oooooh the naivety!), "what would you change about me if you could change something?" Fully expecting him to say "absolutely nothing baby," or something sweet and ironically complimentary like "the way you're so hard on yourself." Yeah, there is no Relationships 101 in college. 

No, what he said ( I still remember nearly 15 years later) was, "I'd have your teeth fixed and get you some bigger boobs." 

My dropped-jaw and complete silence must have signaled to him to backtrack. He then said "you know... if you want to keep modeling." At the time I was doing some modeling but little did he comprehend that the type of fashion modeling that I was doing gave a shit about my small breasts and actually preferred them small and rarely wanted a smile. Thin? Yes (which is one of the reasons I did not pursue a career), but big boobs and tattoos? No. Smile? Not really. Stone cold or seductive smirk, please.

I quickly left his bed and called my sister balling while I drove to go ride my horse to blow off steam and center myself. Riding always reminded me of who I was and what truly mattered in life - similar to how yoga does for me now. 

The paradox was that before that moment, I hadn't really ever thought about my breasts in a negative light before. I have small frame and for the most part, have always been slender. Having small breasts just kind of made sense. In fact, I found them to be sexy. I could go braless and wear plunging neckline shirts and chic dresses that some of my friends couldn't "pull off" without being judged for looking slutty (you can't win). Up until that moment, I felt quite confident with my breasts. They were perky and just... fit. I was never teased for being "flat" so maybe they are a cup bigger than the "pancake"? So, this was a big WTF moment for me. 

You can imagine what that did to my confidence. Despite how much I wanted to not care what other people thought about me, I did. Especially, my then boyfriend. And, despite his comment and pornography addiction, I stayed with him for four more years. 


Along with my horse and sister, music came to the rescue once again and this time it was India Arie. Her Grammy winning songs helped to lift me higher and continuously  gave me the message that I needed to accept myself, even if others didn't. 

Her lyrics from  'Video' ran through my head day-in and day-out.

Don't need your silicone I prefer my own
What God gave me is just fine

Yet, I still had that tiny voice inside my head. This time it said, "no one will ever love and accept your body just the way that it is." The abstruse thing being that I really did prefer my own. Not once did I look in the mirror and long for bigger breasts - or straight teeth for that matter. 

Each time after that when a man told me, "I love your body," the thought inside my head was "yeah sure, you love parts of it, but what would you change to make me perfect?" And each time he said "I will love you forever," I told myself "yeah, he'll love me while I still have the elasticity in my skin or until he finds someone 'like me' with bigger boobs...or straighter teeth... or straight hair... or who is taller... or skinnier...or younger." I never believed that anyone could love and embrace all of me and continue to through the changes of time be it aging, illness, injury, pregnancy, and all of the other things that life may throw my way.

I have experienced the heaviness of infidelity, verbal abuse, manipulation, anger, rape, and yet something came up recently that caused me to discover that I had never forgiven that young man all those years ago. An incident that is seemingly very insignificant in comparison and nevertheless, has impacted my life, self-esteem, and relationships for years. Since that discovery, I have forgiven him and feel completely unattached to that moment and his immature sentiments. I had no idea I had been tied to that moment for so long. It has me pondering the notion of forgiveness and do we sometimes tell ourselves that we have forgiven when in actuality, we have only attempted to forget?

It took me many years of internal work to get to a place where I could welcome love into my heart and it's an endless practice of opening. Years of self-help practices, energy work, yoga, solo travel, mediation, living alone, and mindfulness (I'm starting to not like that trendy word but it is valid).

I’ve learned walls are actually the least protective. When you let your walls fall down and stand naked and vulnerable, raw intimacy blankets you. 

BIG crooked smile with the man that loves it

BIG crooked smile with the man that loves it

Now in my thirties, I have a loving and gracious man in my life who embraces me fully and it's still difficult for me to be vulnerable and trust that he will continue to love me unconditionally as the years pass. Trusting your partner is a recipe I'm still learning but what I've found is that it's a concoction of a leap of faith, benefit of the doubt, conscious forgiveness, respect, reminding myself of who he is (rather than grouping him in with men from my past), reminding myself of who we are together, communicating my concerns and insecurities, and giving him the trust that I wish to receive. 

While that's a nice ingredient list, it's the relationship with myself that allows me to open myself up to my partner, to love him unconditionally, and welcome imperfections with myself, him, and us. I thank my 12 and 19-year-old self for staying true to myself and not giving into cultural and societal ideals and pressures. 


I do not believe myself to be better than those who have made permanent changes to their bodies, I too have made changes to my body albeit temporary, such as dying my hair and wearing hot pink lipstick. There is a fine line and I try to understand my motives of any change I make to my body. Who is it for? Why will this make me happier? Is there something going on inside that I am trying to fix on the outside? What example will this set to those who look up to me? And, I do not think less of anyone who chooses to permanently change their body - men or women (because poor body-image does not just effect women), that's their prerogative. Though, I do wish for them the same thing that I wish for myself and that is the ability and willingness to love and accept their body unconditionally and the strength to do the ever-lasting internal work that makes that more attainable. 

With love, 


You Did Sign Up for This

No, you did not sign up for emotional or physical abuse so let's just get that out of the way. And to be clear, infidelity, lying, secrecy, illegal activity, and otherwise malicious and/or immoral behavior would fall under emotional abuse.

I've heard people in committed, romantic, and monogamous relationships say: "I didn't sign up for this." Or worse, after the relationship falls apart, I've heard: "I didn't sign up for that."

Actually, you did. By saying yes, you signed up.

You signed up for depression. 
You signed up for tears.
You signed up for demotions. 
You signed up for less pay. 
You signed up for shitty jobs. 
You signed up for failure.
You signed up for unanticipated expectations. 
You signed up for disappointment. 
You signed up for weight gain. 
You signed up for weight loss. 
You singed up for confusion. 
You signed up for anxiety. 
You signed up for miscommunications. 
You signed up for uncomfortableness. 
You signed up for awkwardness. 
You signed up for illness. 
You signed up for struggle. 
You signed up for a low sex drive. 
You signed up for wrinkles. 
You signed up for stretch marks. 
You signed up for thinning hair. 
You signed up for sagging body parts.
You signed up for unknowns. 

Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 11.06.21 AM.png

You signed up for all of it.

You also signed up for happiness. 
You signed up for laughter.
You signed up for promotions. 
You signed up for celebrations. 
You signed up for amazing opportunities.
You signed up for success. 
You signed up for reliability. 
You signed up for self-improvement. 
You signed up for surprises. 
You singed up for change.
You signed up for clarity. 
You signed up for communication.
You signed up for trust.
You signed up for connection.
You signed up for comfort.
You signed up for playfulness.
You signed up for vitality.
You signed up for break-throughs. 
You signed up for being sexually desired. 
You signed up growing older together.
You signed up for a companion.
You signed up for an adventure. 


With love, 


Kids on the Yoga Mat

Kids are funny in the way that they become intrigued by just about everything that you do. While natural, it’s really very powerful. As adults and influencers in children’s lives, I believe that it’s crucial that we are careful about our actions, reactions, and daily activities that they see us take part in as it is inevitable that they are going to replicate the language and behaviors around them or at the very least - take note in what is acceptable and appropriate.

Being sans children myself, I was constantly reminded of this dynamic when I was visiting my brother, his wife and three children for a month this past April. Their ages are 6-months, 4-years and 6 -years-old. Obviously the 6-month-old wasn’t doing too much when it came to activities but he was watching – I assure you.

I love to do my yoga outside when the weather permits. There is something about being under the sun and practicing that makes me feel a bit more connected and free.

One afternoon while I was out practicing, the 4-year-old, Grant, came to see what I was doing out in the back yard.

“Aunt Ashley, what are you doing?”

“I am doing yoga.”


He stood there looking down at his feet and then my mat and then back at his feet.

“Would you like to join me?”


“Ok, there are some rules that I will explain but the first rule is that there is no shoes on the yoga mat. Or socks. Bare-feet only the yoga mat.”

He looked up at me and giggled and then proceeded to take his shoes and socks off and hopped on the mat.

“Great job Grant! Now you are ready for yoga!”

He seemed a bit surprised at how excited I was.

We started off with some breathing exercises. I talked a bit about some of the guiding principles that come into my yoga practice such as breath, calm, inner peace, manifestation, affirmations and reflection.

We went on to Half Moon and he seemed to really enjoy this pose. I talked to him about the importance of being able to find calm anywhere and to use yoga as a technique to releasing anything that causes anger or other feelings that are upsetting. This seemed to resonate with Grant. Grant is one of the sweetest boys I have ever known – but let’s just say, that he has inherited my brother’s temper.

To take the breathing to another level I introduced a ‘full body exhale.’ This was new to me and was a perfect way to add a light-hearted element into the practice. On the exhale we let out a shake through our whole body from head to our arms to our feet – accompanied by a loud release in our breath. He really liked this and while he giggled and I did to – he was right back to wanting to learn more. I explained that this breath can be used “when you REALLY need to just let something go that is bothering you.” He loved this. 

We went through a few more poses and then his older brother, Carter, became interested. Grant let him know what rule number one was (no shoes or socks) and he looked at me to confirm. Once Carter was on the mat, it was a full house. To let them feel the space of mat, I moved to the grass.

We discussed the importance of “centering thoughts” and affirmations such as “I am kind.” For this practice, I helped them choose their centering thought and it was “I am kind.”

I was impressed by Carter’s naturally ability to move into Warrior II with ease. And I was also impressed by the amount of time that they stayed on the mat with me. Some other 'rules' I put into place was no shouting at one another or pushing and respect everyone else's space. This worked out very well - as if the yoga mat was a special bubble. 

Virabhadrasana II | Warrior II 

Eventually, they decided that they wanted to put their shoes on and go play.

Throughout my stay, Grant really took hold of Half Moon and the concept of breath. When he would get upset and was given options on how to handle his emotions, a few of his first choices would be “breathe” or “do yoga” or “go outside.”

This made me a proud Aunt and Yogi <3

In another yoga session of just Grant and I, we talked about the concept of Zen. Zen is not an easy concept to articulate to anyone – but it was especially challenging for me to describe the concept to a 4-year-old. But, let me tell you, Grant is a special boy and he seems to really be able to understand the concept of peace (my inner hippie is very happy at this ;)). “Zen, is a state of being where you feel at peace and calm no matter what is going on around you. So, Carter could be doing something that would normally really upset you but because you are ‘zen,’ whatever he is doing isn’t disrupting you or making you angry. It’s kind of like you are in an imaginary bubble.”

“Like a Zen bubble?”

“Yes, exactly. A Zen bubble where you simply feel at peace and breathe easy.”

He smiled and seemed to really like that. 

We also discussed 'Namaste' at the end of our practice. I explained this to him as "the spirit in me honors the spirit in you. Meaning that we are all one. I respect and honor you." And to practice love and compassion to all things living. 

In this practice, I had Grant come up with his own centering thought. I shared mine with him which was "I am graceful as I transition in life." After a moment of pondering, he said "I help others." 

My heart melted. 

Later, when his Dad came home, he couldn’t wait to tell him about the new words. (He needed a bit of help recalling what them and their meanings but once he did – he was all excited about Zen and Namaste all over again!)

To keep things interesting and fun, I came up with a new pose for just Grant and I. It kind of happened on accident. As I was in Ardha Sarvangasana (Half-Shoulder Stand), he thought it would be fun to climb on and let me be his lever so I asked him to be careful of my knees and hold on. He did. I slowly lifted him up until he was vertical, holding gently on his shoulders so that he didn’t fall incase he let go – he laughed and so did I – a big belly laugh. He loved that! “I like when I make you laugh Aunt Ashley!” Haha… “So do I Grant!”

So this was pose was named, “The Laughing Grant.”

My brother and sister-in-law have done an amazing job at giving their children tools to handle their emotions and feelings. We talked in great detail about this and I am so very grateful that I had the opportunity to bring more tools and concepts like breathe, centering thoughts and yoga to the table.

I have found that yoga isn’t just for the 20's, 30's, 40s or 50 something’s. It’s not just for retired folks kicking around in the sand. Yoga is for all ages. Yoga is a grounding practice for all. Yoga is not just for the lean and thin or fit and muscular – yoga is for all shapes and sizes. Yoga, is for all. 

With Love,


My Battle with Orthorexia:Tricking Myself with Bananas

I keep saying "I'm going to write a blog about this." "This" being, the past year, my struggles with living in a new city, living alone, charges in my career, developing and pursuing my passions, battling my eating disorder, the ups, the downs, the in-betweens ...  I've just been bouncing words around in my head that barely form sentences. There is so much to say, so much I have learned, so much that has changed, so much that I want to share, so many feelings I want my readers to understand and so many messages that I wish convey. 

The year 2014 was by far the most challenging year thus far - in my life. Wait, didn't I feel that way about 2013? Certainly in 2012? Maybe even 2011? Perhaps the years do continue to get more challenging. Wouldn't one expect for life to get a little easier as you learn a little more each day on how to navigate through it? You're all LOL'ing right now I'm sure. Because yes, isn't there a popular saying "No one ever said life would be easy" or something like that?

Ah, yes.

life is hard.png

Is what we strive for in life ease? Does ease equate happiness? I'm sure you're all shaking your head 'no,' because of course ease does not equate happiness. Happiness is a state of mind - or a state of being - happiness can be embraced in the midst of struggle and when life is difficult. Or, not easy. In fact, there is another popular saying suggesting that easy is quite boring and that we should continuously challenge ourselves.

So you know what I mean when I say that it (2014) was a challenge? That it was a massive struggle? That it was difficult beyond comprehension? That is was hard?

What the !*$# happened?!? You may be wondering. Well, I'll tell you what happened. There were shifts in my life that I hadn't expected. In fact, just about everything in my life changed dramatically. My move from sunny Boulder, CO to the enlightened Bar Harbor, ME was a beautiful and transformative journey with many ups and downs. I met some of the most incredible people and embraced the sacred land of Mt. Desert Island. From there, I went to West Palm Beach, FL after falling deeply and madly in love (or so I thought)- and when that came to end, I started anew in not so sunny (but shockingly authentic and charming) Philadelphia, PA to take on a new career endeavor and start my 'new life.'

That is where my 2014 began. So, not only did I have a heart wrenching break-up from a man that I thought I would spend the rest of my life with, I was working in a new career and living in a new city. And, I was lonely (not be confused with being alone as I have come to find that we are never truly alone). Needless to say, there were times that I not only felt uneasy, but I felt unsafe, unloved and unworthy. That's a lot of un's. And un's weigh us down. Un's trigger all sorts of physical, spiritual and emotional responses.

What happens, when we are not at ease? Let's say, we are not at ease for an extended period of time. What happens? Disease.

When we simply examine the word, we can see how very true this concept is:

Dis• ease = disease.

Louise Hay, the great Metaphysical Teacher and motivational author, explains this concept at length.

There were moments through the changes in my life that I started to feel at ease -  comfortable, safe, confident, loved, and deserving. And it was during those times that I naturally took care of myself in all areas of my health. Physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially and so on. It was during the times that I felt uneasy or was at dis-ease, that I neglected each area of my health - some more than others and it was during those times that I began to feel particularly unwell (aka malaise) and unbalanced.

If you've been reading my blog over the years, you know that I have struggled with an eating disorder known as Orthorexia for quite some time. After my initial breakthrough in recovery, I was able to stay true to myself, listen to my intuition and my body and stay in recovery for many months. However, when certain things in life started to feel 'out of control,' I relapsed quite heavily. An eating disorder, like an addiction, does not simply go away. It is always with you and you have to learn how to overcome the antagonist (for lack of a better word) day-in and day-out. Some days, weeks, months and years may be better or easier  than others

In 2014, I relapsed a few different times throughout the year, with the latter part of the year being the most devastating. It was difficult for me to recognize when I fell back into old behaviors because I went about it differently than I had in the past. The obsessive compulsive and destructive behaviors and patterns were present but the methods were different. In other words, the what and why where the same, but the how was different.  I thought because I wasn't 94 lbs and starving myself that I didn't have a problem. 

In essence - I very strategically yet subconsciously tricked myself.

In fact, I actually gained weight and lost muscle with my new way of restricting. Instead of restricting carbohydrates and sugar, I restricted my intake of other foods like protein and fat and increased my carbohydrates and sugar (fruit) but the underlying pull was the same - a desire to be clean, pure and healthy. At a glance, these don't seem like bad things to desire. Doesn't everyone want to feel healthy? So, looking at it the other way, it is an obsession and feeling that you are dirty, impure and unhealthy and unwell. Now that...that feeling will not only bring you down but disturb any shred of peace and confidence you may have.

So when does this obsession fire a trigger in my brain? Well folks, as I have said in previous posts, it doesn't have anything to do with food. These thoughts and behaviors rear up on their hind legs when things in my life feel out of control and I am frightened or uncertain (aka fear of the unknown). Food is something I can control - of course this is a false sense of control because it actually ends up controlling me. I touched on this in my previous posts on Orthorexia.

Mind you, restricting is never a good idea, but restricting protein and fat is especially detrimental and the crux of it is that I would NEVER coach anyone to do what I was doing.

Red flag number one. I had gotten so wrapped up in this new style of eating (remember, desire to be pure and clean) that I had transitioned to Vegan then onto Raw Vegan and then nearly Fruitarian following an 80/10/10 lifestyle spear headed by Dr. Douglas Graham and his practices. In fact, I did actually try 'The Banana Diet.' What happened? Well, I truly felt like I had gone...bananas. All the while, I had this nagging thought in my head that I needed to heal my body. That there was something wrong with my body.

I'm not going to say that those styles of eating don't work for some people - I'm not them. But the simple fact of the matter is that these styles of eating were extremely detrimental to my health. In fact, I function very poorly on them and become very sick. I actually lost strength and energy and literally felt down-right loopy. Some people DO thrive on beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and very little or no animal protein. I on the other hand, do not. I actually have a true sensitivity to nuts and seeds especially sesame and flax and have a very difficult time digesting beans and legumes. But I ate them anyway.

I ate them because I wanted to be able to, I ate them because I was rebelling against my body and angry at my body for all of the food intolerances that I have (like gluten, dairy, sulfites). Let's back up a moment though, I wasn't only angry at my body for these food intolerances and allergies... I was angry at my body for much more than that. And this is deeply rooted to my past of sexual assaults, abusive relationships, body shaming, and low self-esteem. I was trying to design a diet for myself that screamed health to me - that let me know that I was OK - and in my mind, that was strictly plant-based.

After a just a few months on a strict vegan diet, along with the loss of muscle and disruptive cognitive function, I also developed cystic acne, my eyes become very bloodshot surrounded by dark circles, extreme fatigue, headaches, my hair dry, I become more depressed and increasingly irritable. And, because I was consuming foods that didn't agree with with me and perpetuated inflammation while depriving myself of the foods that I thrive on (like properly sourced animal protein), I started a cycle of binging; which I had never experienced before. I would be floating along 'just fine' and then I would find myself out and about or invited to a dinner and my hunger and cravings would be so extreme and out of control that I felt like I could eat through the night. And then I would leave feeling bloated, with heartburn and full of guilt and shame for eating so much and being that out of control. 

I had this picture perfect image in my head on what health would look like in my life. 

Smoothies every morning! Wheatgrass shots! Green juice and salad for lunch and dinner! Plant-based! Cleanse, cleanse, cleanse! Detox! Alkalize! Doesn't paint a picture of health in your mind?

healthy greens.png

Now, some advocates from those types of food lifestyles (aka diets) may argue that I wasn't doing it right or that I didn't give myself enough to heal. That I still had toxins in my body or that the feelings I was having and physical difficulties like fatigue and trouble concentrating were just the side-effects of detox and that I needed to push through.

Some "Food" for thought: This Will Change Your Mind About Hunting

This 21st century notion that we are walking toxins and need to constantly detox is part of what is wrong with the world (I'd say mostly in America). If we go about thinking everything that we eat is going to have a negative impact on our health - well it probably will just by detrimental emotional impact of fearing the food that you are putting into your body. Don't get me wrong, I will always lean toward buying organic and I will do my best to always by properly sourced animal meat and fish but that apple at the airport that surely had pesticides at one point is NOT going to kill me - in the scheme of things, I am better off eating the apple than: a) Starving or b) Eating some gluten-free vegan processed junk. This constant 'oh, I need to detox' or 'oh, I need to cleanse,' is a vicious cycle in our society.

We need to eat a diverse selection of real whole foods as close to their natural state as possible. And we need to be grateful for our food while honoring our body and our hunger. That's it. It's really not that much more complicated. The human body is well equip to take care of any toxins that we encounter and if we are eating real whole foods that are nutrient dense, then we are giving our body's what they need to naturally and continuously cleanse and detox.  

I was not honoring my body and I certainly wasn't honoring my hunger. I lost all sense of when I was hungry and when I was full. I had to get real honest with myself. Smoothies generally make me feel sick, I'm not sure if it's the concentration of fruit and vegetables all once or what but smoothies off all kinds will usually hurt my stomach no matter how slowly I drink them. I seem to be able to tolerate them better during the hot summer days and in the morning. And juice (you know the Cold-Pressed, Fresh-Pressed, High-Pressured, Organic, Non-GMO, Enzyme-rich, Juice Frenzy of the decade) unless it's mostly vegetables spikes my blood sugar - even green juice I need to be careful and drink sparingly. And most nuts and seeds cause digestive distress if I have a lot them.

So, what is this desire to be clean and pure really about it?

Well, I already told you that it really doesn't have anything to do with food and is more about control. Yes, this true but that only grazes the surface. The desire to be clean and pure doesn't even have anything to do with the physical body at all. This desire is deeply rooted on a spiritual and emotional level. This past relapse has shown me that while I made great progress uncovering old wounds that need to be healed and made strides in my recovery, I still have a lot of work and healing to do. This type of emotional healing is a continuous process - though sometimes... we need to go back further to points and times in our lives that may have been too difficult or painful for us to deal with it when it happened.

There comes a time when your soul has to let your mind know that you the issue can no longer be pushed aside - the memories can no longer be suppressed. And that in order to fully heal on a physical level, you need to heal on the emotional and spiritual level first.

Those of you that know me on a personal level, know that I have a tendency to build walls. OK - THICK HEAVY walls. And I tend to keep things inside - only opening up to a few if that - and have a very difficult time reaching out to others for help. I don't even like writing that word. Help. Ah, yes, "I Am a Rock," by Simon & Garfunkel comes to mind.

A winter's day
In a deep and dark December;
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
I've built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
Don't talk of love,
But I've heard the words before;
It's sleeping in my memory.
I won't disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.

Transformation is a funny thing. A year goes by and at first I think, "Wow, that went fast." And then, I really think about... and I'm like "Wow... I feel like I've changed so much in last 12 months. Certainly 24 months. And 36 months? I feel like I was a completely different person. Actually, I take that back. I was not completely different but my life was different, the way I lived my life was different, my thoughts were different and my surroundings were different. But the core of me has remained the same - my roots - my values  - my morals. Yet there were moments... moments where I lost grasp of that core. I fell away from my Authentic Self and lived my life according to how I thought I should rather than how I wanted. Out of FEAR, I separated myself - from myself. 

Music is one of the elements that can bring me back to my Authentic Self - that core - and that bring ME back. In fact, sometimes, it is the only thing that will. I have a playlist that I have titled 'Authentic.' When I have that feeling that I have lost my roots and I don't feel like I can trust myself and have lost that connection with my intuition - I put on that playlist, sometimes for hours and slowly but surely, I come back around. I have quite a bit of Simon & Garfunkel on that list. I highly recommend creating our own Authentic playlist to tune into when you are feeling out of sorts - or otherwise 'not yourself.' 

"Just as one must not attempt to cure the eyes without the head or the head without the body, so neither the body without the soul. In fact, one must care 'first and foremost' for the soul if one intends the body to be healthy. If the soul is moderate and sensible, it will not be difficult to effect health in the body; if not, health be difficult to procure..." 

Ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates.

Most people think of health as one dimension: Physical. I tend to think of it as three dimensions: PhysicalEmotional, and Spiritual. Though, truly, it is more accurately six dimensions: Physical, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual, Social, and Environmental.

Where I get into trouble is when I focus too much on one of those dimensions and for me, that is typically too much focus on the physical. Then what happens and when I really get into trouble is that ALL six of my dimensions of health fall out of whack.

The first step for me in cure my 'dimensional upset' is to get grounded. Get back to my roots. I mentioned music as one way that I start that process. There are many others.

Things that I do to get ME back (aka Embracing my Authentic Self) and connect to my Higher Power:

1) Get out in nature
2) Do yoga
3) Listen to my Authentic Playlist
4) Talk to my family and/or close friends
5) Meditate
6) Get some perspective and read some books (books of all kinds!)
7) Write (non-fiction, fiction, free-form and all of the above!)
8) Play! Do something FUN like swinging on swings
9) Drive - anywhere
10) Indulge in something that I have deprived myself from (like a decadent piece of chocolate cake - yep gluten/dairy free chocolate cake does exist ;) )

Hiking may trump all others on my Authentic list

Hiking may trump all others on my Authentic list

Coming to the realization that I wasn't taking care of myself and that I had relapsed was somewhat devastating. How could I possibly help others if I was neglecting myself?  How could I, as a Health & Lifestyle Coach, create these beautifully healthy and balanced programs for other people and do the exact opposite and place extreme restrictions on myself? But then I had to remember something. I had to remember to love myself through it. To forgive myself and love myself. To honor my Eating Disorder Demon for serving a very important purpose of giving me a sense of comfort and protection in a time that I was uncomfortable and scared. 


Once again, I am so very grateful for the people that I have in my life. Some of you are dear old friends, some of you teachers and mentors and some of you are wonderful new friends - I lovingly embrace all of you and thank you for being along side me as I go through the many adventures that life has to offer. 

I find great comfort in knowing that I have a strong support system and I have great knowledge and resources around me to help me through this and keep me strong on my road to recovery once again. Part of this recovery includes abstaining from alcohol as well. Alcohol has a very negative effect on my body and my find and consequently, the other dimensions of my health. It is one thing that will very quickly disrupt the connection and communication with myself and my higher power. 

My Book 'stash'&nbsp;

My Book 'stash' 

I will be spending time reading through amazing and inspiring books. Some I have read before like Eating in the Light of the Moon by Dr. Anita Johnston and some of them are new to my collection. I've also been spending time on my creating a new Vision Board and tapping into my creativity.  

What's the moral to my long story?

Always, always listen to your body. Trust your intuition. Trust yourself.

Always, listen to The Wind of Your Soul.

I listen to the wind
To the wind of my soul
Where I'll end up, well, I think
Only God really knows
I've sat upon the setting sun
But never, never, never, never
I never wanted water once
No, never, never, never
I listen to my words
But they fall far below
I let my music take me where
My heart wants to go
I swam upon the devil's lake
But never, never, never, never
I'll never make the same mistake
No, never, never, never

With Love,


I Am Here (and how to get There)

"I am here." 

I use this mantra when I find myself full of anxiety, worry, and unfinished thoughts. Those times when I can practically see my heart beating through my clothing and the pulse in my wrists begins to swell. Sometimes I can't even pinpoint exactly what I am obsessing over or worried about and other times I am completely fixated on something that I feel like is unresolved or something that scares me.

If you are depressed, you are living in the past.
If you are anxious, you are living in the future.
If you are at peace, you are living in the present.
— Lao Tzu

When this happens, I must step back and take a moment to ground myself. Bring myself back to a place where things are calm and remember that right here, right now, all is well in my world. And know, that in 24 hours from now, 1 week from now, 1 month, and 1 year... all well be well. 

How do I know this? Because it always is. I am always protected. I am always guided. I am always with myself and all of the answers to the questions that I seek lie within me. I know that whatever challenges may arise, I am capable and strong enough to tackle them and that I have love and resources all around me. 

Suddenly, I am able to focus on the task at hand, listen to others, and express myself more clearly - because I trust that I am right where I need to be and that if there is something in my life that is uncomfortable, that it's just a moment in time. We are constantly evolving, learning and adapting. Our situations are always shifting. 

This week, I want us to live in the present moment. To release fears and anxiety and fully embrace the here and now. This doesn't mean that we will be happy and cheery all of the time, but we will have a sense of calm. We will breathe in and out knowing and trusting that whatever we are experiencing is exactly what we need to be experiencing in that given moment. If we feel joy - FEEL it! If we feel sadness - FEEL it! But know that the sadness will pass - that it is just a moment in time and that even though there may be clouds and rain, the sun will rise. We know this is so, even in gloom with cloud, because there is still daylight.

mandy hale.jpeg

"I am here." 

Part of being present is being comfortable in our own skin. Being accepting of not only our current circumstances, but of our body, mind, and thoughts. This acceptance can only happen when we embrace all parts of ourselves. Our quirky behaviors, our habits we are working to improve, our genetic make-up, our voice, our past, and our present... all of these things make us... us. Make you - You and me - Me. 

"I Am." 

Here are some songs I love to listen to that bring me back to the peaceful present, embrace myself, and my life. 

I Am Who I Am by Guru Singh
Deep Believe by Arnos Elias
Guide Me  by Arnos Elias
New Day by Buddha Bar
Odessa I by Bodhi
Spirit Bird  by Xavier Rudd
Follow the Sun by Xavier Rudd
Solitude by Karnunesh
Heroes & Saints by Nikoloj Grandjean
Time Of Your Song  by Matisyahu

Incorporate these songs in your yoga and mediation practices or just play them (maybe in the evening to wind down), sway to the sounds, and allow yourself to be free.

Once a day, look at yourself in the mirror and say out loud: 

"I am. I am here. I love myself. I am."

Repeat this at least five times.

Me. Grand Marais, MI, 2014

Me. Grand Marais, MI, 2014

With Love,


My Battle with Orthorexia: Living in Maine, Restoration

Sideways, upside down, inside out, whatever terminology you'd like to insert here, my life has had quite a shuffle over the past month. And to tell you the truth, it feels as though it has been a year. Not in time, no. In the way that feel.

I feel different. I feel calm. I feel at ease. I feel happy.

There has been a shift.

I won't delve into the details of what exactly went on over the past month, but I am now in a new home here in Maine. And, it is perfect for me right now. While a bit challenging at first, in the end, I am so very glad that this move happened. Not only because I'm in love with where I am now, but because there were some important lessons learned and growth had along the way.

My view

My view

Nestled in the lush woods, with views of rolling green hills, unique barns, sheep, and deer, I am resting easy and enjoying the sunrise and sunset like never before. My first night there, I stepped out onto the deck above the budding blueberry bushes to checkout the night sky. My roommate and I shut off all the lights so that we can see the stars more easily.

What we saw immediately went onto my informal list of the 'top most incredible things that I have seen.' The sky was clear, stars bright and appeared closer than I can ever recall seeing them. I was awestruck and then I shifted my gaze below and saw hundreds of fireflies sparkling beneath us. It was magical. Purely magical.

So here I am, going on my fourth month living in Maine. Wow, how very different my life is today than this time last year. Maine is serving a great purpose in my life. I believe wholeheartedly that this move was exactly what I needed. It has not all been beautiful, in the traditional sense of the word and it has not been all 'roses' and 'peaches,' nor has it been easy. There have been some struggles, some tears and some restless nights. Though through that, I have shown myself the strength that I embody, exercised the tools within me to carry me through some rough winds and came out stronger and more focused than I was before.


While there were some struggles, there were also great breakthroughs. And where there were tears, there were also deep soul-baring laughs. And now I sleep, sometimes for nine hours at a time.

There were two paths laid before me:

One was rocky, dark, cold, damp and full of cobwebs.

The other...

Clear, a bit sandy, some turns, subtle hills and full of sunshine.

I chose the latter, and it was just that simple.


Many of you know that I have been in recovery from an Orthorexia, a lesser known eating disorder, since March of this year; and near the end of April I made my move to Bar Harbor, ME from Boulder, CO.

The harvest of my pain was its own peace and remedy.

As low as I had sunk, I rose, faith restored from blasphemy.

Body, heart, and soul obscured the path, until

Body melted into heart, heart in soul, and soul in love itself.
— Rumi
Where I like to practice my yoga

Where I like to practice my yoga

I work daily in maintaining a healthy recovery from Orthorexia. Yesterday was the first time that I weighed myself since mid-March. I am up 13 pounds and at a 'healthy/normal' BMI of 18.7 (according to the Centers of Disease Control).

While emotional, this number ultimately makes me very proud. My yoga poses are becoming stronger, the muscles in my arms and legs are surprising the heck out of me and earlier this week I ran my longest run (non-stop running) of 5.7 miles. Think I could have been able to that a year ago? No.

The list of those that I am grateful for continues to grow. You all know who you are, and I thank you each day. Looking forward to seeing how this chapter unfolds.

With Love,


10 Ways to Appreciate Yourself

Who better to appreciate you than yourself? Sure, it's nice to have others appreciate us whether it be with words, washing your car, or buying your oh-so-delicious iced chai on a Sunday afternoon but who are we with 24/7? Whose thoughts are we entertaining day-in-day-out? Whose body are we carrying through illness and wellness? Whose emotions are we embracing and battling each day?


And, we deserve to appreciate ourselves. In fact, we ought to make it a priority. Men and women.


Below are some of the ways that I appreciate ME.

10 Ways to Appreciate Yourself

1). Give yourself a "free" morning

A free morning. What is a free morning? A morning in which you can do whatever you please that is free of obligation, free of timelines and essentially, free of duties. Your only duty being to do whatever it is that you want to do. This can of course, last all day if you have that luxury.

There are no rules with this free morning. If you want to lay in bed for hours with your coffee, comfy throw, good book, and indulge in some homemade muffins- go for it. Or, perhaps you want to take this morning to go for a long walk and then enjoy a nice home-cooked breakfast with your tunes playing.

Whatever it is, whatever makes your morning- yours. Do it.

For as long as you can.

Seem impossible with your lifestyle? Create the change you need for that one day to make it happen. Call in a baby-sitter or whatever it is you need to allow for your free morning.

2). 15 Minutes of Daily Vitamin D (aka SUN)

Daily. Give yourself AT LEAST fifteen minutes of sunshine each day (providing it's available). Whether it's popping out of the office and taking a stroll, stepping outside and sitting on a bench or sitting in your own backyard, get yourself under the sun. 

Vitamin D not only lifts our mood, it's essential to a healthy immune system. Go ahead, worship that sun ;)


3). Buy yourself flowers

I love coming home from the market with fresh flowers that I picked out for myself. A a simple bouquet that catches my eye and gives off that heavenly aroma.

They are yours to look at (and smell) as reminder to yourself of just how much you matter.  And what a difference they can make in a room! Place them in the room that you spend the most time in and stop to smell them and appreciate their beauty each day.

4). Decompress with a walk

I could go on and on about how much I love to walk. I've said for years, if I have adequate shoes and enough food, water, and lip balm, I can walk all day. And it still holds true. The benefits I find in walking are simply endless and, priceless.


Walking is brilliant because it can both help to collect your thoughts or clear your mind. I find it very meditative. I've had many clarifying moments during a walk. And although I love to be walking somewhere in nature, such as alongside the ocean or in the mountains, a walk can be healing anywhere. In fact, I also love to walk in the city as well.

Whether it's 10 minutes or 60, walking is a way to 'reset' your mind and undeniably one of the best exercises for your body.

5). Give yourself an hour to 'be'

Don't you ever just want to 'be' ? You know, that tranquil state when you aren't juggling multiple things between your activities and thoughts. When you can hear your own breath and your not worried about what time you need to leave your house tomorrow to beat the construction traffic, or what you will make for dinner or the bill you need to pay that keeps escaping your mind.

I'd love to say to do this daily, but I'll settle for an hour a week.

This, does not replace or cut into your free morning, decompression walk, or Time under the sun! This, my dear ones, is an hour all on its own. An hour for you to get away from your engaging life and racing mind.

The beauty of this  hour, is that it may take many different forms. It could be lying still in shavasana with a few stones, or under a tree in the woods. Or perhaps slowly walking or maybe some light stretching (I recommend if you are doing any movement for your hour, that is intentionally slow and gentle). Music can of course be part of your hour (it is your hour after-all). If I have music on during this time, I love to listen to artists like Dave Matthews, Xavier Rudd, Howie Day, India Arie, Bob Marley or soft classic rock like Simon & Garfunkel  &  The Moody Blues or classical such as Bach & Motzart, depending on my mood.

6). Indulge in a good skin cream (yes, you too Fella's!)

Skin is our largest organ. And it's the one that's exposed all of the time. And sometimes, out in that sun. Unfortunately, with those fabulous UV rays comes cause for concern. While your out getting your skin cream, pick up a quality SPF ;) I love Aloe Up, Resort Collection

Now, on to the skin cream. Our skin gets put through a heck of a lot throughout our lives . From scrapes, cuts, blemishes and sunburns, to sometimes more bothersome conditions such as eczema, bacterial infections, or fungal growth.

Having well hydrated and smooth skin is  one of the best feelings (IMO). And not just physically. When something is out of balance with our skin, it's not only annoying, it can also affect our mood and self-esteem.

While, I recommend something that is natural, this is YOUR indulgence. So, choose something that not only makes your skin feel good, but makes you feel good, with a scent that you love (or unscented if you prefer).

My indulgences?Artisana Extra Virgin Unrefined Coconut OilNubian Heritage Indian Hemp & Haitian Vetiver and, L'occtane Shea Butter (their soap is heavenly also).

Enjoy, indulge and celebrate YOU.

7). Smile at yourself (in the mirror)

Yep, this one is easy. Or is it?

Maybe you're standing in front of your mirror and staring intently, or maybe you are just passing by and glance over. Whichever the circumstances happen to be, give yourself a genuine smile. And not one of those fake "hi stranger walking by on the side-walk smile's," a real "hey there beloved friend of mine smile's."

If you feel silly, that's OK, do it anyway. But try, if I may suggest, to take a deep breath and really think about the love that you have for yourself. Think about something that you are proud of about yourself. Or something that you are really excited for that you did or are going to do such as buying your first car, training for a marathon etc.

Don't have anything to smile about? Do it anyway. Every single day. One of those days, you will cross a chasm, and have something to smile about.

Point being, YOU are the one that is getting yourself through the day. YOU are the one that crosses all of those checks off of your to-do list, accomplishes those goals (big and smile) and endures each hardship, each struggle, each obstacle. SMILE. You got this.

I love this version of the song, Smile.

8). Cook yourself a wholesome meal

It perplexes me that so many people go about life preparing wholesome, nourishing meals for their family and friends but when it comes to solo meals, it's cereal, take-out, or a blend of leftovers.

You've worked hard, and you've earned that awesome meal! If you feel like you are on constant overdrive, start planning this meal days in advance and make it count. Get fresh ingredients. Make your favorite. Or, if your like me, do some experimenting and play around in the kitchen for a while.

But most importantly, savor every single last bite. Appreciate each ingredient and the flavor it provides. And whatever it is, have zero guilt. This your meal. Your time. Your body, mind and soul.

9). Write yourself notes

No, not 'reminder' notes (at least not the kind your thinking of) or 'to-do' lists. I am talking about notes to assure yourself of how amazing you are. Notes that help you check-in with yourself throughout your busy and perhaps stressful day. Think of them as mantras or affirmations.

They can be brief, or long, the choice is yours. But use encouraging words and place them somewhere that you can see them easily like a post-it on your bathroom or bedroom mirror, on your dresser, your refrigerator, on your laptop or in your wallet.

you are lovely.jpeg

Do this weekly at a minimum, daily is even better. Start a collection. And when you feel it's time to move on, copy them down into a notebook so that you can go back and read them in the moments when life gets heavy. Those moments can come in as quickly as a storm, having that notebook can help to support you and bring you guidance.

Another way that I use my notebook is in my yoga practice. If I don't already have a mantra that I working with that day, I will open it up to a random page before my session and allow that mantra to guide me in my practice.

10). Wear your 'special occasion' clothes

Only, this time, wear them when it's not a special occasion ;)

Have a little black dress that you bought last summer and STILL haven't had a place to wear it? Wear it tonight! Heck, wear it for yourself while you cook your wholesome meal! Or, wear it this afternoon while you cool down with a beverage (your honey may really appreciate it too ;)).

And you too fella's! Do you have a nice blazer your bought and still haven't had the chance to wear? Throw on some jeans, nice (mmm Italian..) shoes, a white-tee, and your blazer and head out! Or, stay in. I mean really, who cares?!? This is all for you.

YOU are the special occasion. Give yourself permission to boost your self-esteem no matter where you are going (or not going). Wear them at home, to the store, to a cafe, for a walk- wherever you are, wear those clothes. 

Be you. 

Appreciate you.

With Love,


My Battle with Orthorexia: Recovery, Balance & Moderation

If you missed my two previous posts on my battle with orthorexia, you may view them here: My Battle with Orthorexia (first post), My Battle with Orthorexia: Epiphanies & Recovery, The move to Maine brought on a shift in gears for me. A healthy shift. Driving out here and now being here, I've been looking at food a bit differently. Nutritional therapy that I received before hand, helped with my new mindset. This has been a shift from thinking about food as a way to sustain me throughout the day, to food as FUEL.


Just as I had to stop to put fuel in Europa (aka my Jetta), I have to continuously put fuel into my body as well. Seems quite simple doesn't it? It is. Instead of obsessing over the amount that I was eating or the specific ingredients, I just ate when I was hungry and  didn't worry about the exercise that I was not getting. In all reality, driving in and of itself sucked the energy out of me and my body NEEDED and DESERVED the time off from cardio and lifting. Not only that, but the day that I moved out of my apartment, in a hurry, I slipped and fell on black ice, pulling a ligament in the back of my right (driving) leg. Coincidence? "Slooooooooow down Ashley," says the Universe.

I had boxes of food with me for my cross-country drive as well as a cooler for berries, meat, hard boiled eggs etc. There was one that that I knew and that was that I didn't want to be caught without food. Looking back on it, it saddens me to know that in my restrictive food behaviors, I was not only restricting the intake of fuel for my body on a 'weight' level but on a holistic level. My nutritionist helped to bring this to light for me. When we are not giving our bodies the proper fuel (from ALL healthy food groups), we are not only effecting our physical appearance but our organs (including our brain), muscles, hormone levels, and a slew of other parts of anatomy that allow for us to properly FUNCTION. When that took hold in my brain, after I welled up with tears, I knew that my behaviors had to change for the safety and comfort of my LIFE.

I eat when I'm hungry, I listen to my body and I try very hard to not dwell on things like why I am hungry when I ate just an hour ago, or why I am hungry before bedtime. I just listen, and respond to my bodies signals. This requires both balance and moderation. 

Balance & Moderation

I  constantly check-in with myself on my eating behaviors to gauge whether I am being obsessive or restrictive and WHY.  Am I afraid of something? Is it a rational thought? Is it a replace in thinking? Is it 'My Eating Disorder Demon' talking? 

These check-ins are subtle. Keeping a food log, journal, counting calories or weighing oneself is generally NOT a good idea for a person struggling with or recovering from an eating disorder. This is true for me. I do not do any of those things.

Eating foods in all food groups is something that have come to embrace (aside from dairy). In my past I have been quite an extremist. Oh, grains aren't good for you? OK, I will eliminate every single grain for the rest of my life. Oh, cinnamon is good for you? Great, I will start taking cinnamon every day until it makes me sick (even though I was indeed taking the 'recommended' dose). Oh nuts and seeds are amazing for you? Awesome! I will chow down on nuts and seeds all day long until those too make me sick.

I did all of those things. And more. Not quite that casually, no, as I did do my research but that's just it. Instead of researching within myself, listening to what I needed; I acted upon outside research based on others experience whom may or may not have had any sort of credentials.

My diet has been consisting of some non-glutenious grains (mostly rice), starches (like squash and sweet potatoes), meats (mainly fish, poultry, eggs and some red meat), all sorts of fruits and vegetables, some legumes and a few nuts/seeds (significantly less that I was). My diet is still clean, yet it is a healthy clean. A balanced clean.

Aaaah yes... and coffee... in moderation...&nbsp;

Aaaah yes... and coffee... in moderation... 

While I sincerely thought that I was embodying health before, what I was doing was actually depriving myself of the fuel that it needed to truly be healthy. Healthy for my mind, body, and soul.


And I've returned to my jogging ;) Food = FUEL = ENERGY

Where I once believed firmly that health began with nutrition, followed by physical exercise, I now believe that health in fact, begins with our state of mind.

With Love,


Maine Life & More Epiphanies

You know when you hear a quote, phrase, saying or what-have-you, over and over and you nod, appreciate it and then go on your merry way? Or maybe you really ponder it and try to allow it to sink into your being. Or perhaps you even say it aloud to yourself or others. Yet it isn't until that moment, that opening in the air where it really and truly resonates. Where the air feels less heavy, appears less hazy and suddenly you have found yourself stopped in your tracks.

All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take root in our personal experience.
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer, artist and politician

At least, that is how epiphanies usually feel for me. Especially these recent ones. And the timing of the following quote that my lovely brother-in-law sent couldn't have come to me at a more perfect time because it is exactly how I felt.

That quote gives my goosebumps, even now. We can hear something for years and think that we understand the meaning, and perhaps we do understand yet the words are not truly integrated in the way in which we lead our lives.

While hiking up to Cadillac Mountain and back last week, I had a few of these moments.

Epiphany #1

If you truly focus your energy  into something, you can and will achieve it.

Epiphany #2

You are the only person that owns you and the life you lead.

Epiphany #3

Your thoughts will dictate your life path.
Top of Cadillac

Top of Cadillac

When these 'epiphanies' came to me, it was as if I had never heard anything like it before in my life. I literally stopped mid-carriage road, looked out over the serene landscape around me, furrowed my brow and thought, "Wow..."If you (I) truly focus your energy into something, you can and will achieve it....huh.... so that 'saying' IS true."

I continued to repeat the words over and over as I ascended up to the top of Cadillac. And it made me smile.



It's like someone telling you your entire life that blueberries are a very tasty fruit. You understand what they are telling you, you may believe their words and you may even smell some blueberry jam and think "sure, yes, blueberries I think would be a tasty fruit," yet you never try them. And then one day, you taste them. You taste their subtle sweetness on your palate and feel a certain sense of refreshment that you hadn't felt with other fruits. Suddenly, you get it. You understand fully the essence of the blueberry.

The other two epiphanies came to me in a similar fashion, and all in that one day (oh yes, I'll be hiking as much as I can on the island this summer ;))

As part of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's quote entails: 

"...but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take root in our personal experience."

"Till they take root in our personal experience."

That my  friends, is the key. And perhaps the only way to have that happen is to act upon them - either consciously or unconsciously.

Carrying them out in our lives Living them. Integrating them into our life. Rooting them.

Now that I have written a novel on my experience on epiphanies, I'll give you all a little update on how life in Maine is going thus far.

First of all, "the people" are genuinely nice. Everyone that I have come into contact with has been not only nice, but completely selfless. Not that "hey let me know if you need anything," but the "You be sure to let me know if you need anything at all whether you have questions about the Island, the town, a personal problem, you call me..." And this hasn't been from one person. This has been from just about every single personal that I have met here.

Many have that 'Mainer' accent that some perceive as cold or harsh. On the contrary, they are gentle and sincere people. How very comforting it is to be immersed in a community that cares so deeply for others and for their island.

I continue to be amazed by the expanse of scenery that can be seen on the island. Roads that I drive on almost daily, will still have me pulling over on the side of the road to run out and snap photos. 

Hadley Point

Hadley Point

The Inn that I am working with for the season officially opens tomorrow (May 17th). I've been in training the past few weeks, learning the 'ins-and-outs' of how they operate; which has been both humbling and fascinating. When I attempt to explain what I did as a 'Product Marketing Analyst' at my previous work, I have to laugh at the sheer vast difference in the work that I will be doing over the next several months compared to my previous work. There is no good or bad in that statement- it is simply wildly different. And it has been inspiring to learn and experience the change in my environment.

View on my jog

View on my jog

Oh how I love my morning jogs with views of the sunrise shining upon the ocean, afternoon strolls and the space and time to focus on ME

With Love,


The Question & My Move to Maine

The question is always the same:

"Why Maine?" And specifically, "why Bar Harbor?"

Frenchman's Bay, Downtown Bar Harbo r

Frenchman's Bay, Downtown Bar Harbor

Why after 15 years living along the Front Range of sunny Colorado did I decide to go to a small town on and island off the coast of Maine over 2000 miles away?

In summer of 2011, I wanted to take a trip by myself. Somewhere that I could "reset" in the midst of my chaotic and confusing life. During this time I was writing a novel (one in which I may or may not still be writing...). In the novel, I have a couple of the characters from Maine. I decided then, that I would go there for my vacation. Not to research, no, it more or less just helped me decide where I would vacation.

So, I pulled up google maps and with the index finger of my right hand, I circled around the state of Maine, zoomed in and then stopped and said "There, that's it. Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island. That is where they (the characters in my novel) will be from and that is where I shall go."

The Shore Path

The Shore Path

I didn't research the island before I went though I knew that I wanted to stay at a Bed & Breakfast on the ocean. I chose the Shore Path Cottage. I booked my stay and then booked my flight (yes, in that order). And off I went for 7 days that July. Epiphanies came, clarity sparkled and I felt at peace. Perhaps those were the aspects that I couldn't shake.

When I left, there were no thoughts that I would ever move to Bar Harbor, but I knew one thing: I would be back.

February of this year, I found myself in a crossroads I had never experienced before. I knew that I needed a shift. A major, life altering, mind bending shift. Anyone that knows me, knows that I am generally a very happy, optimistic, lovin' life person. But, I was exhausted. Exhausted from pretending that I loved my life when I was struggling emotionally, physically, spiritually, and financially. Every aspect of my 'healthy' was...Broken. And, I wasn't asking for help.

I had to not only admit this, but allow myself to feel it. And accept it. I then had to also acknowledge that happiness is a choice. Just as our thoughts are a choice.

Working at a software company in Boulder, Colorado is dream to many. And it in many aspects, it was for me too. My time there was well spent. I learned, I grew and I met some amazing people that I still hold very dear to me. But after three years, my soul was telling me that there was something I needed to feed. Something I needed to explore. Or as I like to say, "feed the rat," an expression I picked up in Australia years ago.

There were thoughts of going back to Los Angeles, exploring San Francisco, New York City, or Washington D.C. And even some job applications that went out. But nothing resonated with me and the thought of actually moving seemed so HARD. Daunting. It came to me one day that what I truly wanted, was to just be. I can't explain that element so I will leave it up to your interpretation. Once I let go of the fear of not having money and the pressure of making other people proud and doing what I thought I should be doing, the decision was simple. I needed a place where I could just be and I needed to stop searching.

So I did. I stopped searching, stopped stressing about where I was working, what I was doing, my résumé, jobs, and what the next year of my life would hold. Soon thereafter, in my yoga session, it came to me. In hot yoga (triangle pose), "Bar Harbor. That is where I need to go. That's it." It was more clear than anything that had ever come to me before. In fact I saw a golden yellow aura around myself. That may be to out there for some of you. Anyway, that night, I began to put things in motion. That was in February. I made my way here the end of April. It took me 4 days and a total of 38 hours of driving to get here.

Below you will find 12 YouTube links to video clips that I posted along the way.

Part 1(Intro)
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12 (Finale)

In the three months prior to my move, I found movers, secured a temporary place to live, secured a job, and the various other odds and ends that moving entails. And although the time of my life was stressful and painful due to other circumstances, the move itself came quite easily. About a week after my move-in, the movers arrived with the rest of my belongings. My oh my, how I adore my own bed.

The view just down the hill from where I'm staying

The view just down the hill from where I'm staying

So, here I am in Bar Harbor. From an apartment (living solo, sans pets), in South Boulder, to a house in the woods on the ocean with three other people, a dog, two goats, and chickens. Three weeks ago, I was sipping my coffee-house Americano whilst checking my countless emails at the office, surrounded by technology. And this morning I was sipping my homemade coffee, outside in the sun whilst a goat attempted to eat my hair and then proceeded to climb into my lap, and spill my coffee.

A typical morning

A typical morning

My how the times have changed. As they always will. But I am me. And in ME, I will be. 

Just me, blowin' in the wind...

Just me, blowin' in the wind...

My gratitude goes out to many for helping me along in this journey. They know who they are.

I have no idea what the next chapter will be.

I'll let you know.

With love,