February 2016: A letter to myself.

It’s February! Let’s follow up to see your progress.

Q: It’s been almost 2 months since you set your New Year’s Goals, how are they going?

A: It’s going….

Q: Read any new books yet? You have a goal to read 3 novels this year.

A: I actually started reading a book called “The Perfect Murder”, and to be completely honest, I just started last week and I’ve only read one chapter. I do plan to continue. Reading hasn’t been a hobby for me since elementary school, I read if I have to, but it’s hard for me to enjoy reading.

Q: How’s yoga been going? I know you started going to yoga class a few months ago, have you continued? Do you enjoy it?

A: I haven’t been to yoga since January, but not by choice. I know, this is just another excuse. My car broke down after 4 classes, and David’s work schedule interferes with the class time. I have however, been stretching daily, and I’m making a lot of progress with my flexibility.

Q: Any new weight loss? What are you doing to lose weight, and manage your physical health?

A: I haven’t had any major weight loss, like 5 pounds, nothing to brag about. I’ve been doing tons of research on losing weight and keeping it off. I’ve started eating off of smaller plates, which could have an impact on my weight loss. I try not to drink sugary drinks, I make my own juice weekly and sweeten it with honey. I have plans to see a dietitian very soon! I had blood work done, and my blood glucose is great (diabetes runs in my family). I’m taking baby steps when it comes to working out, honestly, I barely enjoy working out. I know I will grow into it as I start seeing results. I have a weight loss goal, but I’m still figuring out how I’m going to get there. The weight loss will take time, but it’ll be worth it. My physical health affects my mental health, the work is worth it.

Q: How are things going with your direct sales business?

A: Things are getting better. I’m learning more about the actual company. Learning how to sell things without being annoying isn’t easy, but it’s my job. I’m thankful to be able to work from home, and I’m hoping that I can get a promotion before this year is up!

Q: You have a goal to save a certain amount of money, how are things looking?

A: It’s looking like David & I will be buying a house in a couple of years! It’s great!

Q: Do you feel like your New Year’s Goals were realistic? Do you think you can complete all your goals?

A: I do think my goals are realistic, but they will take work. Because my goals are things that I actually value and want to achieve, I believe I can handle it. Even if I scram last minute to accomplish my goals, I will get them done.

For those who have set goals for the year, follow up with yourself! Find motivation in yourself! How well are you doing with your goals?

 

Why Natural Hair Isn’t Natural For Me.

This upcoming March will make 3 long years since my “Big Chop”. For those who don’t know, a big chop is when you cut off the relaxed ends of your hair, leaving the hair that has no straightening chemicals in it. In the past 3 years, I could honestly say that I’ve either worn braids, or sew-ins for more than 50% of the time. For me, it’s easier to wear weaves than to do my own hair.

I’ve had relaxed hair for as long as I can remember. Having straight hair was all I knew. After years of dealing with breakage, I got my last relaxer in May of 2012. Not getting relaxers didn’t really change anything for me because I was getting my hair done professionally twice a month. Even after getting my big chop, months later, I never really had experience dealing with my own hair. I’ve never had short hair, I didn’t know what to do with it, and so I pretty much wore sew-ins up until I moved to Japan.

When I first moved to Japan, I was about a year “Post Big Chop”. My hair was probably close to chin length. I had no clue what to do with my hair. The climate in Okinawa is completely different than what I’m used to, and it effected my hair a lot. My hair was always dry, and I still struggled with breakage still. When I finally found a regimen that worked for me, it didn’t last long before my hair grew to neck length and my texture changed. I could no longer get a successful twist out, which was my go-to style.

We all hear about the perks of being natural; hair growth, less breakage, a healthier scalp. I’ve heard that it’s easier, cheaper and more versatile to have natural hair. Then you start noticing all the beautiful naturals with long, defined curls, or the ladies with the perfect up-do. I started to wonder, “What am I doing wrong with my hair?” I consistently struggle with keeping my hair moisturized. If your hair isn’t moisturized, you can’t detangle it, and if it’s not detangled, good luck with getting it to look decent. It’s discouraging at times. Some people make it look so effortless. It’s not always so easy for everyone.

I want to clear things up; being natural isn’t natural to me. I have more bad hair days than I have good hair days. My hair grows very slowly. I have considered cutting my hair off more times than I can count. I wear my hair in a bun majority of the time. I get so frustrated whenever I have to deal with my hair. My hair is still a work in progress, and I haven’t given up. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of being natural. I’ve definitely started becoming more aware of the things I allow in my body.

The main reason I really wanted to write this, is because so many people glamorize having natural hair, but I never hear people talk about the struggles. I’ve always said “being natural isn’t for everyone”, which is crazy to me. Having natural hair isn’t always pretty. My advice for myself, as well as other struggling naturals; don’t let anyone discourage you. We all have completely different hair types. I don’t think I will ever relax my hair again, or at least I hope I won’t. As tough as it is, I’m prepared to put in the time and money to fall in love with my natural hair.

THIS IS NOT A NATURAL HAIR SHAMING POST. I’m open to any advice, tips, or encouraging words anyone may have!

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Goals, Not Resolutions: a letter to myself.

January already?! It’s the month of change and New Year’s Resolutions! It’s the month where people sometimes judge you for having resolutions. “You can start any day, why wait until the New Year?” I can’t speak for anyone else, but I will tell you why I sometimes wait until the first of the month.

To me, the New Year is a fresh start, a new beginning. I understand that it’s just another day, because in reality, it is. I just love the idea of setting new goals for the New Year because it’s easier to track my progress.

This year was the first year that I actually made specific plans to accomplish. I made my plans in the form of a check list. One of my favorites on my list is to attend 36 yoga classes, and I’ve already done 4! My check list is on my fridge, in my bedroom, and my living room. I’m hoping that this will help keep me on track, and inspire me to do more.

2016 for me is about finding myself. Considering the fact that this is my last year before I go back stateside, these next 14 months are crucial. I’m doing what I can to prepare myself for the real world (I moved to Japan right after graduating high school). By this summer I will officially be a Certified Event Planning Specialist! Super exciting! I’m focusing on my physical and mental health, as well as building my savings account.

I try to set realistic AND specific goals. Planning to lose weight is vague. How much weight do you want to lose? What are you going to do to lose weight? Saving money is also vague. Plan to save a certain amount of money, and figure out a savings plan to do that. You want to travel? Where do you want to go? Write down your resolutions and make them a goal, hold yourself accountable.

Almost every day I wake up thinking about the house my husband and I will eventually buy. I think about what kind of cabinets I will have in my kitchen, the type of couches I will have in my living room. I have a vision, and it’s inspiring me to work harder.

You have to envision the lifestyle you want to live. Seek motivation in something. Create a dream board, scrapbook, or even a bucket list. Find someone with similar goals and hold each other accountable. Track your progress every few months. Never stop going after your dreams. Every year that you set and accomplish good goals, you set yourself up for greatness.

Why I quit my job.

A lot of people have been asking me why I would quit my job with no backup plan. It’s kinda tough to answer with one sentence, but I will try to keep things short.

The easiest way to put it, it was a toxic environment. Communication was poor, the job itself is unstructured. The training is nonexistent. Everything was unorganized.

This job was never going to be a long term job, just something to get me out of the house. I spent most of my time there settling because I absolutely hated that place from the beginning.

There are so many other positive things i would rather be doing. I can finally focus on school, my direct sales business, my physical AND mental health, and my marriage.

I’ve never worked at a place that I didn’t like; and I will never work anywhere that I don’t feel comfortable. I won’t work anywhere that will negatively affect my mental health. It’s just not worth it.

Long story short; I quit my job because I knew nothing good could come from staying. I quit my job because my happiness is worth more than $8.71 an hour.

 

**I would not have quit my job if I couldn’t have afforded to.

Unexpected Birthday Shock.

I’ve always been the one to over celebrate every holiday, especially birthdays, my birthday was always my favorite day of the year. I guess you could only imagine, waking up on your birthday to your mom in shambles. I don’t think I had ever seen my mother cry before, so I didn’t really know how to comfort her. I had no clue what was going on, and I had no idea how to ask. I was the only other person in the house awake at the time (maybe around 7 am). I just knew it was something serious, I knew it was something that I didn’t want to hear.

My mom had just got off the phone with her parents. Her younger brother had just suffered a massive heart attack. As expected, he had to be transported to a hospital that could actually save his life (he was in a small town at the time). Unfortunately, it was too late. In a matter of what felt like minutes, he was gone.

I grew up in a pretty tight family. My mom’s 4 siblings have always been a huge part of my life. I have 8 cousins (last I counted), that were my best friends growing up. We have been lucky, we hadn’t really experienced losing a family member this close before.

It was my 14th birthday and everyone was mourning. Nobody really knew how to react. We didn’t know what to do, or say, it was really awkward. I actually wanted to change my plans to another day, but my mom didn’t want me to. She didn’t want my day to be ruined. My sister and my godmother made sure I could at least enjoy part of my birthday. It was pretty chaotic, obviously nobody was prepared for this.

We tried to make the best of it, but it wasn’t easy. My birthday party was becoming a vigil. One room was filled with rambunctious teenagers, and the next room was filled with a ton of grieving adults. It was confusing. It was traumatizing. As much as I wanted everything to be about me, it wasn’t. I knew that my birthday would never be the same. My birthday would never be a “happy” day because it was the day we lost a piece of the family.

I had avoided thinking or even talking about my uncle. I had remorse, and yet for some reason, I felt guilty. December 5th wasn’t about me anymore. I was selfish, I was wrong. I just couldn’t accept the fact that we lost him on that day. I felt like nobody would even want to celebrate my birthday anymore because my family would be grieving.

For the first couple of birthdays after his death, I felt like everyone was constantly reminding people that he died on my birthday. I know it wasn’t to intentionally bring me down, but it did. I just didn’t know how I was supposed to feel. I was inconsiderate, I didn’t really think about how his death affected other people (my grandparents, my cousins). I only really cared about how it made me feel like I couldn’t celebrate anymore.

I knew his death was not my fault (obviously). It took a few years to actually enjoy my birthday. Once I learned how to balance (celebrating both of our lives), it was easier. Every year on December 5th, I always take a moment to appreciate the time that my family did have with my uncle. I know I am thankful for him. As I get older, I become more selfless. Over the years, I began to learn what was important in life. Family, love, and celebration mean so much to me. Losing my uncle was hard on ALL of us, and I wish I realized that sooner. Every year that I avoided thinking of him, was regretful. I was an insensitive teenager, what do you expect?

Now that I am 20 years old, I’m starting a new tradition on my birthday. Every year, I will listen to the music that reminds me the most of him. The music that brings nothing but positive memories. From Alicia Keys- No one, to Trick Daddy- I’m a thug. He was amazing, and I am so lucky that he was a part of my life. He will forever be in my heart. I look at my birthday now as just another reason to celebrate, celebrate the life of my Uncle June.

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Who is Ashli Narissa?

On the same exact day that Mariah Carey released her #1 hit, “Always be my baby”, a princess was born. Okay, that may be a bit dramatic, but let’s just go with it.395919_374071199286280_1014319784_n

Hey everyone! I’m Ashli. If you are reading this, it’s probably because you’re either related to me, or someone who is related to me shared my blog with you. If you don’t fit into either of those categories, that’s okay, it’s actually amazing!

Most of you already know that I was born and raised in Orlando, Florida. No, I didn’t work at Disney World, I did however spend 2 years working with Spider-man at Universal Orlando! I graduated High School in 2014, and 2 weeks later, I moved across the globe to live with my husband. We have been living the military life for about 2 years now. Unfortunately, it’s nothing like Army Wives, not that exciting. Living in Japan, however, is exciting.

I’m a stay-at-home cat mom (I just quit my job, you’ll hear more about that later). I’m in school now working to become a Banquet Manager/Event Planner. I might end up planning Kris Jenner’s 70th birthday party, (or my moms 40th birthday party, again).

My goal for Road2Joy is to keep things casual, and exciting. I’m hoping you all will enjoy this as much as I will, Thank you all for stopping by!

 

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