To say that it has been a while would be an understatement. It's been months since posting on here. In fact, this site recently went inactive because I forgot to renew my subscription to weebly. I felt guilty, like I was letting go of a child when I was notified that "the domain ashleys-plate is inactive". Even more guilty when the web link showed nothing but a blank screen, unable for the Internet to process. I felt crushed and at a loss- what if all of my content was erased forever? Especially from the Hungry College Girl? I couldn't give up on something that has been with me since my second year of college, something that has evolved with me as a person venturing through life.
So here I am. And a bit has changed since my last post on here.
I also discovered that Polish cider is the most delicious, refreshing drink in existence. Like...crave-worthy. And I never crave/want alcohol. (The middle photo was the best- I had 4 of these bad boys).
Aside from frolicking around Eastern Europe for a couple of weeks- I spent the rest of the summer working and going on trips up to Maine with Dylan. We, quite literally, ate our way through Maine. Plus, it was one of the most relaxing and enjoyable summers I've had in a long time.
Enjoyable yes. Stress free, no. I applied to over 50 teaching jobs during the summer. I heard nothing but denials; I couldn't even get an interview. I felt disheartened, but accepted that I was already hired as a long-term sub. It was not ideal, but at least I had a job.
It wasn't until the first week of August when I got a text from one of my coworkers telling me to check Schoolspring for a job posting in the school I was working in. I applied immediately and got an email for an interview a few days later when I was in Maine. Dylan drove me all the way home for the interview (2 1/2 hours), then we drove back after leaving the school. Of course I had NO cell phone/wifi service the next day- leaving me anxious for a phone call to find out if I got the job. Somehow the AT&T gods gave me service for about 10 minutes, enough to allow the call to come through from my principal- telling me I got the job. I was THRILLED! Who gets hired fresh out of grad school for their first teaching job? What are the chances!? I finally felt at ease by the end of summer. Plus, I already knew many of the people I would be working with- including one of my good friends from graduate school. I also learned that my classroom is the "nicest room" and "well decorated". I poured my soul into my bulletin board and plastered my walls with travel pictures and postcards.
A lot has changed since the Hungry College Girl back in 2014. I have my BA, my MA, and my dream job as a Social Studies teacher. For once in my 23 years I feel like I've accomplished something. Stay tuned for more ranting about life and recipes! Dylan and I have a nice kitchen ;)
H A P P Y N E W Y E A R!
As I reflect upon 2017 and think about my 2018 intentions, I thought I'd share a few memories from 2017.
2017 was definitely a year of changes and adjustments. I moved out of my college apartment after 3 years to come home and finish my last year of graduate school instead of driving down from Maine once a week (I think I drive/spend more time in my car down here then I ever did before though lol). While I truly miss Portland and Maine, I know that I have a handful of good friends I can always visit. Before truly settling into my mom's place, I also did some traveling with my brother to Eastern Europe in May. We went to Berlin, Prague, Austria, Budapest, Krakow and Warsaw. I swear every time I travel I realize how close-minded many people are towards the rest of the world. Besides traveling and whatnot I also restarted CrossFit this year. It has brought back loads of confidence and positivity that had been lacking in my physical and mental health and I've gotten stronger than ever before. I can do a pull-up or two!! #fitspo. Moving back home also allowed me to become more involved in Salem State and my graduate program. I've met a handful of great people in my program and finally feel like I've found my niche in academia. Career-wise, 2017 brought me closer to my goal of being a classroom teacher as well. Needless to say, I'm excited for 2018!
To look at 2018 and to sit down and write out intentions is a challenge for me. I tend to break things down into smaller time periods, like months and weeks. I don't really have any big goals planned out- just little ones along the way. To get a teaching job would probably be my only intention(s). On the other hand, I would like to tune in on my nutrition more in 2018. I'm not going to lie and say that my body is where I'd like it to be, but no matter how much I work out, eating is still a challenge for me. I eat whenever I'm hungry, don't count calories, and try to eat as many whole foods as I can, but for some reason I still feel guilty when I eat certain foods sometimes. This has been a long process, but I've overcome a lot of body issues over the past couple of years, so I think that changing things up in the new year will be good for me. I'm trying out RP templates, but I'm not sure how long I will do them for. I figured it would be a good way to get rid of some fluff before the CrossFit open and the summer. I know my body best, so whenever I think it's a good time to wane myself away from the templates I'm definitely going to do that.
2018 will also be my last year of college (probably ever...unless I get my PhD). I would really like to finish off my last semester strong, but it will be a challenge with four classes. I'll be traveling to Europe again with my favorite professor and some students in my program to learn about genocide history in Poland, Germany, and Austria. I'm hoping that this experience will give me a better perspective on the past and how, unfortunately, many people don't learn/pay attention to events that happened many years ago. Honestly graduation and the trip will most definitely be the highlight of 2018...unless something better happens..who knows!?
Like I said before, I'm not keen on making year long 'resolutions.' I think it's more important to ground myself on weekly and monthly intentions. I do hope that this year brings happy and positive changes and additions into my life. I already started to cleanse myself of certain things, like snapchat, and cleaned out my closet and desk of things that weren't necessarily impacting my life. Starting small and cleansing your life of the unnecessary is always a good way to start off the year. I do suggest that everyone starts to make their own list of goals and intentions. Get a blank piece of paper, some colored pencils & markers, and think about the things you want to do more of. Think of what makes you happy, think of negative aspects of your life you want to change and write it down. Cheers to 2018!
The gym. It can either be your biggest enemy, or your best friend. A place that induces stress and insecurity, or relieves anxiousness. Hell on Earth or a heavenly escape.
You get the point.
For many people, finding the motivation to step into the gym or muster up a workout pattern sounds far fetched. My outlook on working out is quite different though. Motivation and mindset is so important. The gym is my stress reliever, a place where I want to work on getting stronger, and somewhere I can push myself. I don't just work out to be more physically fit, I exercise because it gives me energy, I sleep better at night, and because it makes me happy, I look forward to working out, mostly because of the community, variation in workouts, and the individual challenges that my gym presents me with. I feel accountable for my workouts and there are always people there to cheer you on and recognize the hard work you put in. I literally look forward to the gym, making the regiment so much easier to follow (shoutout to CrossFit Wicked). For those of you struggling to get in the groove with your workouts, I'll present to you some ideas to get motivated for the gym, but ultimately this relies on you. I can't force you guys to exercise, but I can give you some suggestions that helped me along the way.
Making goals in an underrated habit. I try to make monthly and weekly goals/intentions on flashcards and sticky notes and put them in places where they are visible. Start small. Make goals like:
'taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator'
'stretch every morning after I wake up'
'park further away from the store in order to get extra steps in'
'go to the gym once a week' or 'take a walk every Sunday around the neighborhood'
Goals don't have to be long term unless you want them to be, but you have to start somewhere. I strongly suggest making a list of monthly intentions, regardless of the topic. I have been making one every month since the summer and it's helped me tune into my actions.
Pencil the gym into your daily schedule
I always get asked "how do you go to the gym as much as you do?" The answer is simple. It is a part of my weekly routine. I put it on my daily to-do list, and I give myself days off when I have class or if my body is sore af. I'm one of those people who is crazy about to-do lists, so crossing the gym off of my daily list always makes me feel a little better.
'Fitspo' or fit-spiration. Fitness inspiration or just general wellness inspiration. Instagram or YouTube will be your best friend for this one. I admire Revie Jane Schulz (@reviejane), Lee Tilghman (@leefromamerica), and Jeanette Ogden (@shutthekaleup). Each of these women are wellness centered, inspirational, and honest. They share their struggles and their accomplishments through their social media. Revie and Jeanette are both mothers too, and watching their journey into motherhood was pretty damn cool. It proves that taking care of yourself should never stop your ideology on wellness may shift many times throughout your life (I mean I don't plan on having a child ANY time soon but you get the point lol). All of their content is inspirational, from their food, their attitude, and their uniqueness. Having these outlets to admire makes my own journey really easy.
Try out different places
To your surprise, a workout doesn't have to happen at a gym. There are many online platforms that offer workouts, and even apps too like Nike and Kayla Itsines. You can workout at a yoga studio, orange theory, or your home. On my off days, I usually do stretching or bodyweight workouts in my room on a yoga mat. If you try out a few different gyms, you will know which one you feel comfortable at, what provides the best resources, and what price is the best. If you're a student, school gyms are a free and convenient place to workout and many cater to students through different fitness classes. Obviously I'm biased towards CrossFit, but I highly suggest trying out a box. Many places have free weekend morning classes, or will even let you drop into a class for free if it's your first time trying out a gym. When I was trying to find a CrossFit gym in Maine, I also found deals on groupon and tried out a couple different boxes until I found the one that worked best for me.
Get a gym buddy
Gym buddies are so important. Group fitness is an even better way to keep motivated and to stay accountable for your workouts. My two roommates in college were my gym buddies and I loved working out with them. Whenever one of us felt a little tired, the other always pushed to get both of our butts to the gym and just sweat a little, even if it was just a walk on the treadmill. Having someone as a motivator is really helpful. Now, I work out with my mom many days and it's great to have that bonding time with her for an hour a day.
Invest in some cute, comfy workout clothes
Having a few key pairs of workout clothes is a good idea. I try to stick with the same color scheme, mostly black. I absolutely LOVE Old Navy workout clothes. Their leggings are honestly the best. Second in line is Athleta. Their leggings are also amazing and their customer service is fabulous, they are always so helpful in store. C9, Target's brand, is another good company. All three brands are pretty affordable, Athleta being the most expensive for a student budget, but best sweat-wicking material. Having a few nice pairs of leggings and sports bras is important. Sorry guys...I'm not sure how to help you out with this one. OK long story short, invest in some good clothes that will last you. Comfy sneakers are always a priority too. My favorite brand of running shoes was either Asics or New Balance, and for trainers I love Nike Metcons.
Like I mentioned before, these are just a few ways that I keep motivated for the gym. Some days it's harder than others to motivate myself to workout, but I always know that I will feel better and stronger afterwards. Of all the ideas that I mentioned above, the one that resonates the most with me is goal setting. If you don't have a goal or something to work towards, it's hard to stay mindful of the things you want to accomplish. Set goals for yourself, always work to get better at something, and be proud of your accomplishments.
You may be thinking, "What's so wrong with being healthy? How can you get shamed for being healthy?"
Most importantly, I would like to address the fixation with being 'healthy' in the first place. For me, healthy means an equilibrium of physical and mental well-being. While it's important to remember that everyone has their own definition of healthy, being healthy literally does not mean eating a salad. Being healthy encapsulates much more than what you put into your mouth; it's about your mental mindset on eating, being aware of the foods you're eating and how your body reacts to them, working out to keep yourself moving, your heart beating, and your lungs breathing- whether it's running, CrossFit, Orange Theory, Zumba, walking, etc, and taking time to care for your body. For me, that is what 'healthy' consists of. People take many different approaches on being healthy, but I think the most important part of health is the mental mindset. My journey has come full circle within the past year and a half because I learned how to balance. When I started to become more focused on my eating, rather than working out and binging, I learned the value of my body and how if I properly treated it, my mindset would change in return. It has only been until recently, within this year, where I stopped guilting myself for eating certain foods and I realized that if I want a slice of pizza I'll eat that slice, and maybe a second. I stopped fearing that I would gain weight from treating myself and started to appreciate my body for reminding me that I work hard, and progress won't be reversed with an indulgence.
Entrenching myself in a healthy community is something I pride myself with. I love working out, I love meal prepping, and I love trying new brands of food that offer alternatives and more wholesome ingredients. While this is and should be a positive a positive aspect of one's life, it's where I receive the most criticism and doubt.
"What are you eating? It looks like bird food"
"Why do you eat so much green stuff, that's gross"
"Is that enough food? You should probably eat more"
"You aren't having a piece of candy? Well you're no fun"
"Have a piece of cake"
"What kind of diet are you on?" (Apparently, the food I eat looks diet-esque)
"You're going to hurt yourself at the gym"
"You should be more careful with all that lifting...."
"CrossFit is so dumb, why do you do it?"
"It's unattractive when girls have too much muscle on their legs."
"You're gonna look like one of those women bodybuilders if you keep working out so much"
This is literally just a sampling of the comments people have said to me, whether it's coworkers, classmates, or acquaintances. I get that some of these comments are not meant to hurt me, rather just be funny, but there comes a time when the line needs to be drawn. There's a reason why I eat the way I eat and I keep such a regimented schedule per week. For starters: It keeps me hella happy. I feel energized, motivated, and proud of myself by the end of the week. Secondly: it's all about self-care. I find it important to take care of my body, it's literally the only body I have so why would I not nourish it? I just can't seem to wrap my head around the reasoning behind people who shame others based on their eating or fitness regime. It bothers me that some people feel superior to me because they think I'm missing out on something. Some people genuinely don't care about what they eat and as much as I would love to remind them how important nourishment is, I don't. The people who tell me that I 'work out too much' joke about the last time they stepped into a gym. Something I do remind them is that I am happy and that's literally all that matters. I have progressed, I have grown stronger physically and mentally, and I will continue to do so.
So, if you are trying to improve your healthiness, focus on the positives. Think of what works best for you and stick with it. There will literally always be someone who is against what you do. There will always be a 'doctor' or a 'dietician' (sarcasm) who will try to out their two sense in, but it's your life, your body, and your happiness, not theirs.
Hello lovely people! For those of you who don't know me, my name is Ashley. If you followed my former blog, The Hungry College Girl, you probably noticed that I was M.I.A for quite some time. I posted a lot on my Instagram, but I was having a tough time getting creative content to post on the blog. It was hard to bounce back into writing and posting when I had so much to juggle, between work, school and moving preparations. Needless to say, I made it my goal nearly every month to post something on the blog, but I failed. My ideology around food and life in general also changed from when I started to post on the Hungry College Girl. I find myself now focusing not only on food, but life in general- including fitness, positivity, and all around-well being.
For quite some time, I was considering changing up my blog in some way. I had some hesitations before changing my Instagram handle from The Hungry College Girl to Ashley's Plate; it was like relinquishing a tiny piece of my identity. I absolutely loved my page, and I owe so much of my dedication to my lifestyle change to that blog. I didn't realize how much of an impact it had on so many people until I read old comments and cards written from girls in my sorority, friends, random followers and even family members. I often referenced pictures of my food to coworkers and friends who were looking for some inspiration. But at the beginning of this summer, I decided to switch it up because I needed a new beginning. I needed a name that would grow with me once I graduated college. As I look to my future with only 2 semesters of graduate school left, I'm also looking to my own personal future. I want this blog to be a part of it, since it has traveled with me for so long now.
There are a few new beginnings starting for me. One is my new and improved blog-- so welcome! I customized the pages to be simple, but reminiscent of my own style. Can you guess what colors saturate my wardrobe? (Pink and black!) Another new beginning starts with my departure from Target. As I continued to work for this company, I realized that my job was only temporary there. I felt like I was staying in my comfort zone because it paid decently well, and I could get any day off that I requested. Plus, the work wasn't challenging. Even though the work was easy, I did not feel appreciated nor was I using any skills at my job. I would wake up and dread driving into work and often times I would have to force myself out of my car in the mornings. Even though I met so many great people at that job, it wasn't for me. I watched a lot of coworkers get sucked into the simplicity of the work and not strive to do something better for themselves. I noticed this pattern at both of the Targets I worked at. At the end of the summer I took a shot in the dark and applied for a few paraprofessional jobs at the suggestion of a few classmates.
I was completely shocked that I received a handful of callbacks the next day and had a few interviews set up by the end of that week. For once, I felt like I was worthy to do something more for myself and my qualifications were more than enough for the position. I gratefully accepted one of the jobs at a middle school, and here I am. The schedule is perfect, my coworkers are supporting and encouraging, and I feel valued. Plus, I don't ever have to wear red and khaki ever again. Well....I do wear a cuter pair of khakis now. I spend more time on myself and I make sure that I'm at the gym 4-5 times a week, give myself facials, do my eyebrows, and get gel manicures. I've become so much more focused on list making and meal prepping as well. I have time on the weekends for dinners with friends and trips to Maine. I'm feeling great.
In just a few short weeks, I've been learning more than ever- about kids, myself, and my classes. I've put much more emphasis on my grad school work. I took classes this summer and I feel much more motivated to keep my grades up; this year I will pursue an extra certification and acceptance into the History honors society (last year I didn't have enough credits -_-). I'm savoring my last few months in academia, because a PhD is the next step and let's be real...who the F can afford that. Don't get me wrong, I could change my mind and apply for a few programs..don't put it past me. For now, my goal is to have my own classroom next year.
"So, what do you expect from this blog?"
My short term goals have culminated into this blog. I intend to post twice a week, dependent on my graduate school work load. I will touch upon meal prepping at the beginning of the week and share ideas, inspirations, and recipes. Later in the week, my posts will recap my feelings, stress levels, and anything else worth noting. SO! Thanks for reading (if you got this far) and I shall leave you with a few questions and thoughts to either ask yourself..or to ask me!
What changes are you making in your life?
What type of posts would you like to see from Ashley's Plate?
Enjoy the weekend, friends!