I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well. -Thoreau
Hi, I’m Ashley.
A little bit about me: I’m almost 6 feet tall. I cut off all my bangs. I drink lots of iced coffee from McDonalds. I collect quotes and I’m obsessed with organizing. I love to read memoirs and I love to make stuff. I’m a cancer survivor.
a Christian committed to Christ (read my testimony here). Jesus alert.
First of all, don’t be fooled by all pretty pictures you see on my blog….my life is far from perfect. I struggled with a lot of things in my 20s. I had severe anxiety and panic attacks. I struggled with ADHD and social anxiety for almost 20+ years. I’ve lived through years of eating disorders and alcohol abuse. It took me a long time to unlearn a lot of things. Oh, and I’ve had cancer…and now I’m navigating the world of infertility. But I wouldn’t change a thing……I know everyone says that…but it’s true: anyone who is the least bit interesting has a past. I’m not saying I’m interesting….but I do have a story to tell.
The one big turning point for me in my life is when I learned to embrace “the dark side”…..and I did that through journaling. It became a new addiction. I would be on a corporate jet with CEOs of billion dollar companies and I had no problem pulling out my journal and crayons to write down a quote or something I wanted to remember. (yes CRAYONS) I glued bits and pieces of my life into notebooks trying to sort things out and figure out who I was. I turned sadness, anxiety, insecurity, addiction and anger into a creative process. I collected questions, random facts, quotes, people, words, receipts, websites, photos and drawings. I didn’t write in order. I skipped pages. If I didn’t feel like writing I would just draw a map of where I was or write down what I had for lunch.
I slowly became less anxious, I stopped worrying about what other people thought about me. I spoke up and welcomed the consequences. I became more compassionate and I sought out people that were real and interesting. I cut ties with people who were toxic. I became obsessed with memoirs and movies and when I connected with something in them, I wrote it down. I read all of Sylvia Plath’s journals and underlined so much I might as well have underlined every word. I met Johnny Cash in a dream.
Have I lost you yet?
Anyway, sometimes the most random of stories just come pouring out…and so Lil Blue Boo has slowly become a random compilation of life. I spent 6 years in a lucrative investment banking job, getting my MBA in between, and I quit on a whim to pursue a more simple life as a “maker.” I love reading odd news, observing strangers, and being imperfect.
In 2011, my father died unexpectedly on a plane. Choose Joy was born. A few months later I had what I thought was a miscarriage but it turned out to be cancer. I’m still here. The turning point from those events is that I now write more.
In 2014, my family and I sold everything we own and moved across the country to Bryson City, NC to live at a 1950’s motor inn. We decided to stick around and are now renovating The House on Hospital Hill and an old train depot that I had moved 50 miles on a whim. It’s small town USA, we don’t even have a Walmart or a Target. It’s my kind of place and right smack in the middle of one of the most beautiful places on earth: The Great Smoky Mountains.
<—– This is Brett. Everyone thinks he looks just like Matt Blashaw. We’ve been married for 14 years and together for 18. He has more patience than anyone I’ve ever met. He’s always onboard for my random detours. He’s given me 93.2345% of our home to devote to my painting, journaling and projects. “Big D” likes him the best, he doesn’t like when I cook brussel sprouts, and he drives an enormous truck that I’m deathly afraid of. He brushed my hair when I was really sick and does everything else around the house so I think it all cancels out. He’s a partner in Bryson City Outdoors…recently renovating the most dilapidated building in town using primarily recycled and salvaged materials. You can read all about the renovations here!
<—– This is “Boo”….we started calling her that when she was little. She “legally” changed her name at school. She loves to paint masterpieces (watch her in action here) and cries at movie scores. She bravely shaved my head when I was losing my hair. She loves history and stories of people. Especially Presidential Museums. A few years ago her dream was to see the Statue of Liberty and visit the Holocaust Museum…she had her chance recently. She is my witness-in-training.
<—- This is Diesel. He may look cute packaged in that 2 pound body but he’s a raving lunatic (just ask the exterminator and the postman). He has a liver issue and requires a homeopathic diet with no protein. His biggest enemies are the postman, owls, and hawks. When he’s sick he has to sleep on the very tippy top of our pillows and he doesn’t apologize for accidents. He even has his own little movie.
Thanks for reading. I’m thankful you’re here!