Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Anyone who truly knows me, knows I have a thing for quotes. It could possibly be considered an obsession. A good song lyric can be a quote I hold on to, a simple yet poignant idea heard from a stranger or line from a movie or book can draw the biggest breath of air from my lungs. I’ll write quotes on margins of books or magazines and when I get really desperate (and my Iphone battery has died) I’ve been known to steal pens and napkins or toilet paper just so I don’t loose the quote. Words are huge with me, so when I hear a group of them formed into a wonderful quote I have to have it documented and stored in my vault.

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I started my blog exactly one year ago today, and I’ve acquired so much. The only way I can truly express what I’ve come to find within the year is by writing about it with quotes that I’ve saved. These quotes pinpoint who I am, how I feel and what I have come to find. So here it goes…

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In 2015 I’ve come to terms that I really, really, like to write. It’s very therapeutic and as Ernest Hemingway said “my aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.” I plan on continuing writing for this blog, but also for myself. I love writing short stories and vow to take time in 2016 to continue to write stories on my vintage sea foam green typewriter I’ve named Steinbeck. (If you don’t know how I came up with the name my only advice to you is…read a book.)

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I’ve found that if “I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.” [Lord Byron]

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I have grown immensely this year learning about the different people that surround me each and everyday. But mostly I’ve learned about myself, and “like wildflowers; you must allow yourself to grow in all the places people thought you never would.” [E.V.]

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I’ve learned about the law of attraction and successfully put it to use, as funny lady Amy Poehler said, “you attract the right things when you have a sense of who you are.” I was told continuously this year that I’ve always had “that look of otherness, of eyes that see things much too far, and of thoughts that wander off the edge of the world.” [Joanne Harris] and have come to realize that my heart swings back and forth between the need for routine and the urge to run.” [Unknown]

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Thank you to the people who have allowed me to whisper and at times shout my dreams into their ears; always willing to listen to every detail I divulge. To all of you who have stood by my side and have help me grow, even if infinitesimally, thank you for opening my eyes when I’ve wanted to walk blindly onto roads that I didn’t see were that scary. As R.M. Drake wrote; “she could not make sense of the things that were meant for her, but she was drawn to it all, and when she was alone, she felt like the moon; terrified of the sky, but completely in love with the way it held the stars.”

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“I’m very picky with whom I give my energy to. I prefer to reserve my time, intensity and spirit exclusively to those who reflect sincerity” [Dau Voire]—to all those who I’ve spent time with in 2015, thank you. Thank you for simply letting me be me and sharing wonderful experiences and creating lasting memories I’ll cherish forever.

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I’ve learned that “I’m a simple person with a complicated mind”[Anonymous] and sometimes it just easiest to let go because “overthinking kills your happiness.” [Unknown]

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Like everyone in this world, I’m human; imperfect. I’d be lying if I said 2015 has been a year of daisies, cupcakes and rainbows. My road, like so many others, has had some dips and windy curves but they have all become lessons that I will never regret. I can proudly say that in 2015 whatever I’ve done I’ve given it my all and tried my best. As my ultimate heroine of 2015 Ronda Rousey said; “you have to be willing to get your heart broken. That’s just what fucking happens when you try.”12.30.15_019

Looking back there are so many things I wanted to happen that didn’t and vice versa- things that happened that I didn’t want or expect. I’m quite glad things played out the way they did because now I “consider that maybe God closed that door because he knew [I was] worth so much more.” [Unknown]

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So as 2015 comes to an end all I can confess is that it’s been a WILD ride; and as 2016 quickly approaches I can honestly say that it will be year unlike any other, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me. So many firsts, so many opportunities; I hope I take each given to me.

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An open road awaits me…cant wait to see what landmarks I hit, hidden treasures I stumble upon, U-turns I face and exits I’ll take. My wild ride continues and my car is loaded with fuel that will last until I reach 2017. “A lot can happen in a year!” [Anonymous]

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As a writer I’ve learned this year that “ some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity…” [Gilda Radner]

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 So long 2015! … 2016 I’ve buckled my seatbelt and am ready! Take me where you may. I’ll follow, but I’ll tell you now ahead of time, it’s not in my nature to always obey. 😉

 -xo ash

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Places I’ll Remember

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There are places I remember
all my life, though some have changed.
Some forever, not for better.
And some have gone, and some remain.

All these places have their moments
with lovers and friends I still can’t recall.
Some are dead and some are living.
In my life I love them all. [The Beatles]

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You know that experience when you leave a place and “say see you later”, but don’t actually know the next time you’ll be seeing it? Then weeks, months or maybe even years later you go back to that place and it’s as if nothing ever changed; didn’t skip a beat and just continued as if you had never left at all. Is there a word for this? Whatever it is, I simply love it. I love that you’re both so comfortable and know each other so well. I love having that connection, it makes leaving just a bit easier because you know when reunited what you’re coming back to. It’s almost a sense of safety and security.

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Cayucos: Summer of ’96

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Cayucos: Fall of ’15 [we traded in ice cream for ales]

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In this vast world it’s hard to find a place to make you feel comforted and special like this. I’ve traveled to many places and find this experience to be very rare. Two sweet beach towns that lie on the edge of the central coast of California have this very rare quality. Cayucos and Carmel have little pieces of my heart. Each time we meet its as if nothing has ever changed. These places played roles in making me who I am. They watched me grow.

But places aren’t the same as people, because when you leave a person you will not encounter the same one upon reuniting. They’re always slightly different. They’ve changed; even if it’s a minute shift. When we leave people, we take with us visions of how they were; memories that help when that persons gone and far away.

People evolve. They are ever moving. No person will be the same way they were when you left them. They meet new people that open their eyes in ways they never thought possible. New experiences change them and the way they see the world can slowly shift as well. So as I begin to embark on a new phase in my life I can’t promise that when I come back I will be exactly the same person. No, that would be ridiculous to assume. But I can promise to take all that I experience and learn, and make it a beautiful chapter in my growing story. I can only hope that when I return I will be an even better version of myself.

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❝So, what if, instead of thinking about solving your whole life, you just think about adding additional good things. One at a time. Just let your pile of good things grow. ❞Attachments, Rainbow Rowell

 

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To those I love, just know I’ll be back. Like an old Australian Proverb says: “We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.” Remember this isn’t goodbye; its see you later.

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-xo ash

ps: To those who have helped shape me like the places and people in these pictures, thank you…in my life I love you all. (Anna, my kindred spirit, thank you for giving these places that much more meaning. Promise to let Tommy dance with YOU next time 😉 )Anna and Me


Carmel Favorites:

  • While in Carmel-by-the-Sea save your appetite and check out my favorite little Italian restaurant, Little Napoli. It is seriously the best! I always order the same thing and it never gets old. Be sure to order the crab bisque, steamed manilla clams and of course Chef Pepe’s famous garlic flatbread. Made from a 100 year old family recipe it will transport your taste buds to Italian citys like Rome, Naples, Sorrento or Capri! If there’s still room, have a cappuccino and share the Tiramisu..you wont be sorry.

    Cayucos Favorites

  • Run off all the food you ate at Little Napoli and take a jog on my favorite stretch of beach, Sand Dollars. Perfectly named, this public beach is littered with little white sand dollars early in the morning and has the best view of both Morro Bay and downtown Cayucos. I love getting up early and jogging on the sand, or finishing the day watching the sunset and strolling.

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Everyone’s Irish on March 17th

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My journey to the serene and magical isle of Ireland didn’t start on the best foot. As I traveled to my last destination on my three-month journey I awoke excited but slightly groggy. London threw a temper tantrum as I left the city, making everything in sight damp and cold and giving me a parting gift I didn’t want. I sat on a train destined for Wales where I would catch a ferry and pass through St. George’s Channel and sail across the Irish Sea to dock in a small town minutes from Dublin.

I maneuvered through passengers and took a seat near a window. Kids of all ages ran through the halls of the boat, giddy to explore the different rooms and space that surrounded them. As I sat on the ferry the temperature from my fever had increased, and I found it hard to get rid of the worse migraine I’d ever experienced in my life. The loud screams and laughter of the children echoed through my head. All I wanted was a quiet room with a soft bed and a cup of tea. I was upset that I had allowed myself to get sick. I racked my brain trying to figure out what I had done wrong. I had been keeping hydrated, I was washing my hands and staying clear of germs, but as I yawned I was reminded that I was not getting enough sleep. I had stayed up the nights prior, trying to organize and make room for the clothes and souvenirs I had purchased in London. (Thanks to London, I have come to realize that I can’t be trusted on a street full of amazing shops.)

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I never fall asleep in public, I have this real fear that I will start sleepwalking or talking in my sleep and that I’ll be videotaped and whined up being YouTube’s next big Internet sensation. (Don’t get me wrong I’d love to be famous and remembered for something great, but I wouldn’t want sleepwalking to be my claim to fame.) I pushed through my silly fear and made a pillow out of my 25-pound backpack that was bursting at the seams with a collection of clothes and keepsakes from my travels through Europe. I slept for 45 minutes, long enough to catch my breath. When I woke my fever had subsided and my migraine settled into a good ole fashion headache. The luck of the Irish had already started to rub off. I heard the captain announce through the overhead speakers, with the most amazing Irish accent, that we could begin to see the island on the starboard side. (For those that aren’t well versed with sailing terms, like me, the starboard side is the right side) Finally, we had reached Ireland and it was just as I had envisioned it. Clouds rolled passed lush green hills and choppy water splashed onto jagged rocks that hugged the shore. I had made it and couldn’t wait to get on shore to begin my explorations!

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We stayed in Dublin while visiting Ireland and explored the city. I am not much of a beer drinker. I usually stick to vodka based drinks, margaritas and wine but will occasionally step out of my comfort zone and try something new. I had promised myself that on my travels I would do my best to live like a local, really capturing their culture and adjusting to their way of life. Drinking is definitely the Irishman’s way of life and I wasn’t complaining. I knew I had to visit two places in particular while in Dublin: The old Jameson Distillery and the famous Guinness beer factory.

Before heading to the Jameson Distillery I decided it would be great to visit Trinity College. What was it like for students in Dublin to attend such a famous and beautiful campus full of history and prestige I thought? Trinity Library was a place that was quick to put on my bucket list the minute I found out I would visit Ireland. The bookworm inside me was doing back flips and shouting at the top of its lungs as I step foot into the legendary building. I saw the Book of Kells and was forced to lift my jaw off the floor as I made my way through the Long Room, an old chamber of the old library that held thousands of books. Books, everywhere, as far as the eye could see! Ladders laid against shelves of books begging me to climb up and pick one to read. This mecca for book enthusiast was filled with 200,000 of the library’s oldest books and smelled of must and old wood. Large white marble busts lined both sides of the enormous room. I could sit and relax; I could check this off my list of things I had been dreaming of doing.

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I continued my journey, walking around the campus. I sat on the steps of a lecture hall and studied the campus, imagining for a split second that I was a student at the college. I would ride my bike to class, attend long lectures, have discussions with professors and analyze old Irish novels. Of course I would spend hours quietly studying in my favorite library. I had just graduated from Cal State Fullerton but I suddenly had the urge to get back into the classroom.3.17.15_028

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As I sat across from some guys hooting and hollering I wondered what a crazy college party was like in Dublin. Did they have keg stands, play beer pong except with Guinness or was that something only Americans did? I decided the best way to end a day of touring a college campus was to pretend I had just finished all of my imaginary final exams and celebrate by sipping on Ireland’s oldest and finest whiskey.

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I made my way through the streets of Dublin and found the Old Jameson Distillery. I purchased a ticket to tour the distillery and watched a short yet entertaining movie about John Jameson. We walked the grounds and learned about how the famous whiskey was created. I can honestly say the tour guide didn’t have my full attention. I love learning, but listening about barley, yeast, milling and malting bored me to death. I’d rather drink the whiskey than hear about how it was made.

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My ears however weren’t quite tuned out because I do remember hearing the guide say that “Jameson was the only whiskey that was tripled distilled and that’s what made it so special.” I could take it no longer! I had to get my hands on the highly talked about smooth, gold libation! I was asked if I’d like to enjoy the whiskey neat as the connoisseurs of the drink usually drank it or if I wanted to try it with ginger ale, preferred for those not so used to drinking whiskey. Ginger ale? Yea and I’ll take it in a kids cup…No thank you! I drank the whiskey neat. I was told to swish it around in the glass, smell it and then take a swig. Oh My Goodness! The whiskey was strong, but I can say with complete confidence that it was smooth… and I liked it.

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It was better than other whiskeys I had tried in the states. Thanks to John Jameson, Jack Daniel’s and Makers Mark would never have a place on my table. I had chills every time I took a sip, but that soon slipped away and was a memory. I made my way through Irish bars continuing with my study on the triple distilled liquid gold. It had always been on my bucket list to stand along side the people of Dublin trying my best to keep up with popular Irish jigs and pub songs being sang. I could officially check it off my list! I had the best time, and Jameson was the perfect pub partner!

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Days later I decided I would visit another Dublin landmark; the greatness that was the Guinness beer factory. Like Jameson, I took a tour of the factory, but this time it was self guided meaning I could fly past the boring stuff and get to the beer! I did manage to stop and read, and learned that in 1759 Arthur Guinness had signed a 9,000 year lease on the ground the factory laid on ensuring that Guinness would be around for years to come. Arthur had to be very confident in his product to sign that type of agreement, and after trying his famous beer I understood where the confidence lied.3.17.15_011

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I made my way to the Guinness Storehouse academy bar where I was officially trained on how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness. I received a certificate, proof that I had graduated with flying colors through the intense academy. Guinness had a very specific way of pouring his beer and felt that if it wasn’t poured correctly it wouldn’t taste the way it was intended making it an undrinkable failure. Lucky for me the pint I had poured was deemed perfect!

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I made my way up to the top of the Guinness sky bar, a bar surrounded by large glass walls giving patrons a 360 degree view of Dublin and the factory’s surrounding area. It was the perfect place to enjoy my pint. I had never tried Guinness and was surprised with how much I liked it. It was rich and quite heavy but it was delicious! I’m not sure if it was the altitude in the sky bar or my general excitement being in the factory drinking with the Irish but the beer hit me quickly. I took a seat and sipped the beer slowly; I couldn’t let it go to waste. Visiting the beer factory was definitely an experience of a lifetime.

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Throughout the coming days during my visit to Ireland I continued occasionally drinking Jameson and Guinness with my meals. I don’t regularly drink alcohol with my meals but was reminded that life was short. I paired the drinks with famous Irish meals. I tried Jameson with salmon and potato pie while looking out onto the Dublin river and I enjoyed Guinness with beer braised lamb stew on a cold rainy day sitting inside a old pub watching rugby. Dublin was filled with amazing memories and some of the most warm-hearted people I have ever met. I am definitely lucky to have been able to visit such a beautiful country. I can just imagine the crazy fun that is being had in Dublin on this St. Patrick’s Day. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, remember everyone’s Irish on March 17th!

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-ash xo

PS: After enjoying my time at a pub I was walking down street and saw a feathered friend who had consumed one too many drinks. Note: Please drink responsibly!

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short video I shot in the middle of an Irish pub!

Lets Be Adventurers!

“I was always an unusual girl.
My mother told me I had a chameleon soul, no moral compass pointing due north, no fixed personality; just an inner indecisiveness that was as wide and as wavering as the ocean…”-Lana Del Rey

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As long as I can remember I’ve always been a dreamer, a wanderer and a lover for new adventures. As a child I was timid, very careful with every step I took, but as time has pasted I’ve learned to step out on the edge; chipping off layers and discovering a person who has been there all along. I’ve become an endless explorer with an aching desire for new experiences. While exploring I found I had “an obsession for freedom that terrified me to the point I couldn’t even talk about it and pushed me to a nomadic point of madness that both dazzled and dizzied me.”

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I believe that there are many definitions of what it means to be an explorer. Along my path I have made a list of what I do and how I explore and adventure. I continuously add to the list as I go.


  1. Walk as if you’re kissing the earth with your feet, feeling every rock and pebble.
  2. Breath in the sweet smells of Mother Nature and allow it to permeate through your lungs.
  3. If it scares you, say a quick prayer, and continue on. Fight through the fear.
  4. If it begins to rain don’t see it as a damper on the situation, see it as an opportunity for a second shower.
  5. Do not envy the birds that fly above your head, but be reminded that you are just as free as they are.
  6. Stray off the path as much as you can, creating your own. (Unless making your own path means ruining a critters home.)
  7. Be quiet and don’t interrupt, let the earth speak.
  8. Before reaching for the camera, take mental pictures that can never be recreated. (Because a great memory is so much better than any photograph ever taken will be.)
  9. Don’t be sorry or regret anything; tomorrow isn’t promised.
  10. Don’t go home unless a wild wind has blown through your hair, there’s dirt on your face, and you’ve discovered something new.

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If you find a kindred connection with my list I encourage you to let your desire to explore continuously shape and mold you. Through adventures and explorations you will find you learn lessons no school can ever teach. Like the trees of the forest know, “everything you go through… grows you.”

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Little by little the world that surrounds you will teach you the things you need to know. Remember to always keep your eyes wide open, with humble appreciation, because you never know what will inspire you next.

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All explorers realize along the way to live with a fire of fearlessness. Over time a true explorer will become a child of the wild. There’s nothing to lose when you believe in the freedom of the open road and its endless possibilities.

Live fast, feel young, be wild, have fun!

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[Side Note: Mumford & Sons always knows how to get my blood pumping for new explorations and reminds me to “keep the earth below my feet” –enjoy!]

 -ash xo