Sunday, September 28, 2014

How to Follow Your Dreams

Hi there,
Today’s post is one from the 2014 Blogger Challenge. Gaby asked us to do a tutorial and while I could do one beauty or food related, as I’ve done here and here, I wanted to do something closer to my heart. Today’s tutorial will teach you how to follow your dreams.
I realize that sounds incredibly cheesy. Really, how could I teach you to do that?! Here’s the thing, I have JUST gone through this process and it took me the entire summer to get here, to the other side of that dream. Was it easy? No. Was it quick? It took a few months of stressful work. Was it worth it? Without a doubt.
These are the types of things you need to ask yourself when going into the process of pursuing a big dream or reaching a lifelong goal. As silly as it sounds, where there’s a will, there’s a way. If you really want something and show that through serious actions, and by overcoming struggles, you truly can achieve whatever it is you want to do!
I hope you find this information useful. With each step, I’ve included how it fits into my personal example.


Step 1: Dream up your biggest dreams! Really look deep down. What do you want to do that seems impossible? 
Over a year ago, I started a list of things I want to accomplish. One of those things read, "Move to Europe." I left it vague because I had no idea how I would make this happen, where in Europe I would go or what I would do once there.  
Step 2: Imagine yourself already achieving that dream
I often caught myself imagining I was already in Europe, in various countries. In my head, I was in Germany, Italy, France, Croatia and Spain and I was either studying at university, or working in a school. Before I had any concrete plan, the idea of being an au pair presented itself to me. Once that spark was there, it ignited a fire inside me to pursue that dream. I spent time on websites for au pairs, researching how it worked, and about families in several European countries.
Step 3: Form an action plan on how to chase that dream through to completion
Then something life changing happened, I met a family who was about to move home to Barcelona after being in the U.S. for four years. They wanted an au pair with them in Spain, and they wanted me! As soon as we made the decision to be a part of each others lives, there was no turning back. We both began investigating what we had to do which included a lengthy, tiring and expensive visa process on both ends. 
Step 4: Squash doubts, haters and negativity. You CAN & WILL do this!
Naturally, anytime you deal with government, there are bound to be hiccups and stressful times. Literally EVERY step of this process has had a challenge attached to it. I was constantly asking myself, "Do I really want to do this?" and the answer was always "yes." Though the challenges were numerous, my will to follow through with this was infinite. 
Step 5: Work hard and see your success! Enjoy it then repeat the process with a new dream! :)
After making my choice, I only found myself about to give up once and it was a dark moment. Yet, I made it through (with money haha) and now I am here! I made it! I've been here for just four days so far and getting settled has proved difficult in itself, but I've already been reassured that this was the right choice. I'm so happy to be here. 

What advice would you add to someone trying to chase their big dreams?!

Ready for the next one,
Ashley 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Creative Collective: New Direction

Hey everyone!
I’m back with another prompt from Melyssa’s challenge called The Creative Collective. So here’s the gist on this month’s post: It’s called “random word story” because you’re supposed to go to the word generator website she lists and get two random words that you then use in some creative writing. The two words I generated were ‘calm’ and ‘perch.’
It was hard for me to get my creative juices flowing on this one! Let’s just say completely changing my surroundings from Midwest, USA to Barcelona, Spain made a huge difference. I hope you enjoy my story.


New Direction
She is lost.
She has been wandering for days.
Alone, she finds herself
Brought to a fork in the road.
A choice
What should she do?
Which will she choose?
Which choice will she make?
Questions.
Anxious.
Not trusting herself
Nor her intuition
She calms her mind and perches herself on the ground to meditate on it.
She knows it won’t be easy.
She knows it will take hard work.
She knows there will be times
In the future where she has doubts
But she will also knows it is worth it.
She will work hard.
She will not let her doubts overcome her.
She will progress.
She is found.

I’m not one to dabble in poetry often so please let me know what you think!
How would you use those two words to tell a story? Did you also participate in this challenge? Leave your link below!

Calmed,
Ashley

Friday, September 26, 2014

Book Trade: Insurgent

Hello,
Today’s book trade follows another I did earlier this summer for the book Divergent. I read that book just in time to see the movie in theaters and have since watched it several times. There is no denying, I’m hooked. After reading several books since Divergent, it was time for me to come back to this trilogy and read the second book.


Insurgent picks up right where Divergent left off, with Tris, Four and a few others riding a train to the edge of the city. They jump off of the train in Dauntless fashion and make their way to Amity Headquarters. After regrouping there, they leave and meet some Factionless before entering Candor where they spend a considerable length of time. It is here where Eric and Jeanine resurface. This is also where Four and Tris struggle as a couple because Tris seems to be taking reckless risks with no regard for her own life, especially now that shooting a gun is proving impossible for her since the attacks on Abnegation. The Factionless play a huge role in this book, along with Marcus who is Four’s father, Peter and a few new characters.
In Book 1, you learn a lot about a society with factions, and the roles each faction plays in that society as well as about each individual character. In Book 2, you fall in love with each character and then you watch as their lives go through hell either by their own doing or by decisions made out of their control. Chaos ensues and does not let up throughout the whole story.
My heart beat fast until the very last word. I so badly want to get lost in Book 3, but that will have to wait. As you may know by now, I recently landed in Barcelona, Spain and I will be here for the next year. Too bad I didn’t bring the book with me!

Have you watched Divergent or read any of the books? What do you love or hate about this story?

Left in suspense,
Ashley

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Words of Wisdom: September 4

Hello yet again,

Today's Instagram picture quotes come to you on my page like normal, only today I'm sending this from Barcelona! :) I hope you enjoy!!


I made this and added it to my own Instagram account!

Which did you like from today's bunch?

In awe,
Ashley

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Words of Wisdom: September 3

Hello, Hello!

How are you doing today?! No matter your mood, please give these picture quotes a read and perhaps do something a little out of your ordinary. :)


Which spoke to you?
Relaxed,
Ashley

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Book vs. Movie: The Book Thief

Hello friends,
How are you today? Today I’m sharing with you another movie adaptation. Not too long ago I read The Book Thief and found it to be a profound book, unlike anything I’d read before. Naturally, I was eager to check out the film and a few weeks ago I did just that.

I found the casting choices to be excellent. The actors in this movie did a superb job of playing the character roles just as I had imagined each while reading this story. As with all movie adaptations, there were some noticeable differences between the book and movie. Though I suppose it would be nearly impossible to recreate a 500+ page book with the same amount of detail in a reasonably timed movie.
The most detail was left out of the story of Max. In the movie, you see him leave his family and knock on the Hubermann’s door. I kept expecting flashbacks on his journey to their doorstep, but none came. After he leaves their house, there is no mention of his time as a prisoner in a concentration camp, I which I also found off. The other bit I missed from his story, write possibly most important of all, was the lack of the story Max wrote within his copy of Mein Kampf in which he paints over the pages to make a new story all for Liesel. You hear a version of this story while Liesel in a neighbor’s basement waiting out an air raid, but it’s not the same and I greatly enjoyed the illustrations of it in the book. It seems like such a crucial part to leave out. However, I suppose the most important thing to come out of Max giving her that story was she herself found her voice and reason to write, and that was evidenced in the movie.
All in all, this is a fantastic movie and I highly recommend watching it. I think the book is worth a read as well, since you get much more depth on each character from it.  

Finding hope from the ashes,
Ashley

Monday, September 15, 2014

Book Trade: Anne Frank Biography by Melissa Muller

Hello there,
How are you all doing on this beautiful day? If you have noticed what I’ve read lately, you’ll see a theme of World War II or Nazi era books in the mix. This all started with The Fault in Our Stars and The Book Thief, which both mention the Holocaust. I then wanted something a bit more factual and thought of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl to be the perfect starting place, especially since I had recently acquired my own copy of the book. I read the book before years ago, but wanted to reread it, to gain new perspective from it. This book, as the name suggests, is the diary of a young girl, as she is in hiding with her family, and four other Jews in Amsterdam during Nazi invasions.

However today I’m not talking about her diary. If you’re interested on hearing more of my thoughts on that book, find them here. Instead, I’m here to talk about her biography, which came years after her life and the worldwide publication of her diary.
It’s no secret that the story of Anne Frank is a popular one. She was in hiding from the ages of thirteen to fifteen and so naturally, she does a lot of growing up in her new very closed off world. Still, you are reading her words, and so everything you hear is biased and skewed. It is all her opinion at the time she wrote it, or rewrote it, as she tended to do after looking back at some of the things she put into words in her countless quiet hours in the secret annex of 263 Prinsengracht, Amsterdam.  
Between July 1942 and August 1944, the secret annex was occupied by the group of eight Jews. Anne’s father, Otto, first published her diary in 1947 and the biography by Melissa Muller did not come out until 1998.
While I think her diary is very important and insightful, I think her biography gives much needed insight and context into Anne’s whole life from birth to death and the background on each character that is not coming from a moody teenager made to suffer through childhood growth within the confines of a small and exceedingly shutout space. I think reading both books together is ideal. Reading her diary gives you her unique viewpoint and then her biography expounds on that by giving you the broader picture by explaining her life before and after the annex and also in the context of the world during the war. 
Quick Facts:
Genre- Biography
Copyright- 1998
Pages- 352
Finally beginning to understand,
Ashley