The Ugliness of Self-Care

Today I want to talk about self-care. True self-care. Not the romanticized and trendy version the world is constantly pushing down our throats. Not the bath bombs and face masks and #treatyourself high-dollar purchases and ritual meditations the world seems so eager to focus on for peak lifestyles.

No, I’m talking about real self-care. The self-care that is often a very unbeautiful thing.

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5 Reasons To Hire A Resume Writing Service

G and I have been trying to truly #adult now that we’re all married and whatnot. Meaning we’re dead-set on knocking out all our debt, working out ingenious ways to not cause additional debt (like cooking all meals at home and creating no-cost date nights), and casually house hunting to ultimately tumble into “better” debt someday in our future. Basically, we’re carefully stepping onto every floating log across the wide moat of adulthood.

While continuously praying we don’t slip…

In all honesty, though, I am proud of how reasonable each of us are discussing the budgeting and financial talks that make up all marriages. We’re no longer two people working two separate jobs with two separate pocket books to buy what we please. We’re a family aiming for specific goals. We’re a team.

And as a dutiful teammate, I have been thinking about possible ways I can increase our household income to push my student debt out the window and allow another door (hopefully a LITERAL one) to open. This means I have been taking a good, long look at my personal resume and how I might tweak it to fit a part-time job and added responsibilities.

I like to think I am a gifted resume writer. I took a technical writing class in college solely focused on professional documents like resumes and cover letters. Yet when I talked with some of my friends about the elements I should and should not include for a part-time job resume, I was a bit surprised when one friend mentioned inquiring into a resume writing service. Little did I know there was such professions out there! Some research into this unique career gave me a bit of fodder for an #adulting post, and I thought what better place to share my findings than with you all! So for anyone else seeking a little bit of a push in their professional arenas, this might be the exact sort of service you’ve been seeking…

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A Slow Return

I’m here. Physically, but not really mentally. Mentally I am still in beautiful Tennessee, sitting in a rocking chair with G beside me as we look out over the Smokies from our remote cabin. It has been four days since we left our humble honeymoon abode, and I’m still pining after the memories of that perfect cabin and even more perfect vacation with my husband. (Eek! I cannot get enough of saying that word!)

Luckily, work missed me so much that I have had plenty of projects to keep me grounded in Michigan upon my return. Following work I’ve been getting into the swing of your typical duo-working married life at home: chores, dinner, working out, time together, somewhat early bedtime to start it all over again. I’m finally catching my breath after putting away all our wedding gifts and unpacking from the trip in order to send out a little note to the blogosphere.

I’m excited to begin posts again. Next week I’ll be continuing with Savory Sundays as well as beginning Wedding Wednesdays, which will be posts specifically geared towards all things weddings. I’ll catch up on some topics I wasn’t able to capture before June 16th as well as touch on some things I’m starting to realize now that my wedding is complete. Otherwise, Uncorking Peonies is about to begin writing on some new material never before ventured upon by me: newlywed life. Be it a look at how to maneuver this new way of living, budget-friendly do-it-yourself projects, or methods to better my life, I’m looking forward to sharing more Lifestyle posts with you all!

So with all that joining the mess already going on in my brain — those darn mountains are constantly trying to push all other thoughts out — I say cheers to the future and a thank you for continuing to follow me along this journey.

You’re all the best,

Advice To Myself At 18-Years-Old

Last Friday G and I were leaving the county clerk’s office to apply for our marriage license when we ran into one of my high school teachers. Even though I graduated eight years ago (O.M.G. has it truly been that long ago?!) we recognized one another right away. Partly due to me working for him at summer camp for several years, but also because I come from a high school boasting an average of 30 graduating students each year. In other words, there aren’t that many students to forget.

After a bit of catching up, I asked him how his school year had gone and how many more days until summer break. I don’t keep up with my old high school so I was surprised to hear the senior class would be graduating the next day. The whole encounter had me vaguely reminiscing on the past and all the changes which have happened since I stood on the stage myself in my cap and gown.

Then today my Facebook’s daily memory was of my graduation. Looking through my FB photo album of that day in 2010 had so many memories flowing.  I could recall the feelings on that day: the fears of the future, the thrill of college looming, the excitement of my first summer as an “adult.” It was like looking into the life of a stranger. There have been many lessons learned since that day. So many experiences have brought me to where I am today and molded me into this 26-year-old Ashley.

The memories continued as I was lazily scrolling one of my nightly go-to apps and came across a great question posted by RobbeVermont. The user asked,  “What is something you wished you knew when you were 18 years old?” And as I read through the vast majority of the 10,800+ comments I realized so many of the life advice being provided were 110% on the money. Pulling all three discoveries together — the run-in with my teacher, the flashback of my graduation, and this Reddit question — I started listing a few key topics I wished I’d known upon leaving high school and considered what difference hearing that advice as an 18-year-old would have made. Perhaps none, but then again, maybe some…

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Maximizing Small Spaces: Coffee & Wine Bar

If you’re a newlywed or going to be a newlywed soon, chances are you’re weathering the challenges merging two lives brings to the table. This may include attempting to make room in the closet for a second person, trying to “de-feminize” every little accent in the living room, or clearing a few drawers in the bathroom. You are soon going to find that another person moving into your bachelorette pad means making a few sacrifices. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up style!

For G and I we are creating our first home in my current apartment, a cute little space in our sleepy downtown beach town. With a little less than 800 square feet, our home is tight as we begin moving G’s belongings into the space. That means the few rooms have multiple uses such as the second bedroom playing the roles of storage, office, and workout station, and the dining room also acting as craft room, library, and drink bar. So as we trek into “spring cleaning” and looking to donate any items throughout our two stocks of belongings, the question of essentials comes to mind. Today I wanted to touch on how you can keep style with your coffee and wine bar while utilizing the best spaces available.

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Blog Update: New Additions & Focused Direction

The wedding is almost a month away and with that quickly approaching date I have been doing a lot of thinking in terms of where I would like Uncorking Peonies to go from there. With talking to a few friends who are some of my regular readers (hey lovelies!), I was happy to hear I am not the only one who would be sad to see the blog end. So! With a bit of soul-searching and advice-seeking, I am excited to launch a few new features onto Uncorking Peonies this coming week.

Uncorking Peonies will continue to be my little bubble into the wedding and event world since I have experience and passion for that arena. There will be plenty still to discuss even after I am no longer a bride-to-be! However, there is going to be plenty to talk about as I transition from a single woman to a wife. From the victories and falterings of the newlywed life to creating a home in a small apartment as we save to become homeowners to balancing social lives outside our marital obligations, I can only imagine the fun lessons I’ll learn over the next year (and rest of my life!) Marriage is going to be work, but I have the best partner in the business, so Uncorking Peonies is expanding to encompass all the highs and lows that are sure to come.

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My Forever & Always

All the relationship advice in the world could not have made a difference in my past experiences of choosing the wrong men. As the saying goes, I was trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole. I would try to find happiness in the wrong relationships, changing myself or attempting to change my SO. I’d try to convince myself I felt a certain way or convince myself that the SO felt a certain way for me. Only to end in tears, heartache, and questioning what I did wrong, why I couldn’t seem to find the right fit, and why I couldn’t get the love I desired.

I spent so much time chasing after guys who wouldn’t or couldn’t give me what I wanted, and then wondered what was wrong with me. The problem was simple: I was choosing the wrong men. I fell for guys who felt right due to commonalities or adventure or chemistry or familiarity or even loneliness sometimes.

That was why my beginning with G was so unexpected. I was accustomed to either temporary relationships that would slip easily away or comfortable relationships where priorities were skewed. However, meeting G was a life-changing experience that has only gotten better with time.

G gave me all the right feelings from Day One.

He has made every effort to put me as his priority and has supported me in every trial, endeavor, and achievement along the way. He loves the person I am even as our personalities differ. He’s proud of me and proud to be with me. He is my calming voice during rages and my comforting home during sorrow. He is the reason I smile throughout the day. He fights for me even while we’re the ones fighting. He loves me deeply now and talks of materializing dreams with me in the future.

And I believe every single word he says with no reason of a doubt.

He is, in the simplest of terms, my Forever & Always.

Now, don’t roll your eyes. I am not saying I found the One. (I don’t believe anyone in this world has a “One.”) But I did find someone I liked and cared for and have a high degree of compatibility with in my little corner of the universe. I found someone who increases my happiness and makes me a better person. I found someone I want to do life with forever.

That doesn’t mean our relationship is flawless though. Neither G nor I found the One to make our futures perfect.

Bottom line: every relationship is a lot of work. G and I recognize this and are willing to commit to working on ourselves and our relationship for the remainder of our lives.

We know we will always be a work in progress.

And THAT is what makes all the difference!

G and I will continuously learn from one another, grow together, attempt to give the other our best, and forgive constantly when we falter. We’ve actively chosen to embrace every raw part of one another  — the good, the bad, and the ugly.

And that is how we move forward with the last 50 days of our engagement and the entirety of our marriage.

Thank you for choosing me to be your Forever & Always, G. I cannot wait to become your wife in only 50 days (HOW IS THIS A THING?!) and begin growing together as a married couple. I love you.

-A

Real Wedding: Rachel + James

When I think of my childhood, there is one smiling face that shows up in more than half of my memories and that is the face of my friend Rachel. Our friendship has been nothing short of adventurous: from riding ATVs up north with no helmets and watching her cousin bite worms in half in order to “fish better” to staying up ungodly hours of the night to watch trash TV to cruising the Caribbean twice to witnessing drug busts in the nation’s capital to acting as one another’s wedding Plus One’s to surviving puberty, high school, and a number of break ups, we have done so much together!

Needless to say, when Rach texted me one January morning to tell me she was now engaged to her high school sweetheart, my heart was bursting! Not only because IT WAS ABOUT TIME, but also because our conversation turned to wedding plans and logistics. As an event coordinator at the Winery still, I started to cry when she took me up on my offer to host her intimate nuptials at my venue AND allow me to help coordinate the Big Day.

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I Was Taught Strength

I’ve always known what strength a woman can have. I have a strong mother and I have strong grandmothers. I grew up learning from strong female teachers and have been blessed with strong female friends. They have all been role models to me, showing me the different forms strength can take, giving me a goal to set since I was only a toddler.

I had been a good little student with notebook and pen in hand, jotting notes on what strength looked like, yet with all the strong women I watched I did not possess genuine strength myself. I was a caterpillar in a cocoon, waiting for that all-consuming metamorphosis which would truly teach what strength was to me.

It was not until April 19, 2016 that I was taught what strength I carried myself.

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