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I’m backkkk. I know I have literally been MIA on my blog forever but I will get to that next post. For now, I wanted to share some pictures from my weekend at Priest Lake. Braxton and I took this trip with his family for the up north winter wedding. It was so beautiful and I’m so happy we had the honor to share the love with them! The lake was (obviously) frozen over. Sadly, not frozen enough to walk on *sad face*.

This weekend also reminded me of how much fun card games and speak out is! Def pick them up for your next family game night!

Also, I link down a few fun games and my favorite {cute} snow gear!

With Love, Elizabeth Ashley

February 14, 2017 1 comment
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I know this isn’t a usual post for my blog but I wanted to use my platform to talk about something that affects so many lives. This is obviously a very personal post but it was important to me to help spread awareness and fight the stigma of what is mental health in America.

I first started to have real anxiety problems when I was in high school. At first I didn’t know what was happening. I would go on school trips without an ounce of nervousness and all of the sudden I would become a wreck. It would be to the point that I would become physically sick from it. I didn’t understand why this was happening to me. Why me? I was 17 years old and everyone thought I was getting homesick. I was told to grow up and to get over it.

I became so depressed because I couldn’t control my body. I turned to my doctor for help. While sobbing in the doctors office over my problems she drew a diagram. She explained to me that there are “hallways” in the brain. The door that releases the “fight or flight” hormone, cortisol, is always open. They prescribed two medications that day: Prozac and Xanax. Something my parents were extremely concerned about. The first time I took Prozac I had a severe reaction. I then relied on Xanax. I found it made me sad and tired for no reason. I depended on it and that made me feel even worse about my anxiety. A few months after the doctor appointment, I knew I had to change. While these medications help and change the lives of many people for the better, they weren’t working for me. So, I looked for my answer in natural medicine. Over the past few years these are what have helped me take control of my anxiety.

  1. Kava Kava root– I put this first because of how much it has changed my life! In the South Pacific, Kava is used as a drink for quick relaxation. It comes in all types of forms including pills and tinctures. You can find Kava Kava here or in a health store near you.now-04717-4
  2. Vitamin B12– Many doctors have found that a deficiency in Vitamin B12 can cause depression and anxiety issues. When I take Vitamin B12 regularly, I find that I am much happier and have less anxiety. vitamin-b12
  3. Essential oils– Aromatherapy has helped make me in many ways. The best tip I can give is use it while doing meditations and relaxing and when you are in a stressful situation close your eyes and smell the specific scent. It will help bring you back to a moment of relaxation. One of my favorite ways to use essential oils is in a diffuser, you can get a one here or, a more affordable one here. I use tea tree and lavender oil the most to relax.Healthy Herbs
  4. Podcasts/Therapy– Before moving to Italy I started therapy to help me understand what my triggers were and how I can recognize them. Going to therapy doesn’t make you weak, it makes you strong enough to fight what is controlling you. A better understanding of your anxiety can lead to a better way to conquer it! If you are totally against therapy or don’t have time, try listening to a podcast on your way to work or school. Podcasts can be equally as helpful. This is one of my favorite podcasts, The Anxiety Coachesacp_1400x1400_logo
  5. Meditation/Deep Breathing– Do yoga or simply just take 20 minutes out of your day to meditate and center your thoughts. I know meditation may seem cheesy to so many but, clearing your mind and having control over it will help you have better control when you have an anxiety attack. truthbomb_19
  6. Explaining your Anxiety– The stigma of mental health in America makes so many afraid of talking to their loved ones about their anxiety. YOU HAVE NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF. Most people to an extent do have anxiety and a lot of your loved ones will understand. Sharing the fact that you have anxiety will give you less anxiety about the possibility of having an attack and them finding out you have anxiety. You will also be able to tell them when something they want to do might give you anxiety and they will be more understanding rather than thinking that you just don’t want to do it. The people closest to you are most often affected by your anxiety as well. That is just another reason to help yourself and do what you can to not let it rule your life. images
  7. Faith/Positive Vibes– When going through an emotional hardship it is important to keep faith. Whatever your religion or practice may be, it will help to believe in something greater than your anxiety and to have good thoughts about it becoming better. It’s amazing what a good outlook can do. 🙂

These are all things that have helped me reduce my anxiety. I know that they won’t help everyone since every case of anxiety is different. Mental health is a real problem and if you suffer from it, it’s okay to get help. If you know someone who suffers from anxiety, be understanding, loving, patient and know they can’t just “get over it”. Life is way too short to be controlled by a mental health issue. You can overcome this.

With Love, Elizabeth Ashley

 

September 30, 2016 2 comments
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Have you ever been somewhere you’ve never been before and felt right at home? I have never really gotten that feeling until we went to London. When we got into England it was about 8:00 p.m. We landed in an airport an hour outside of London so we had to take a bus in. When we were buying our tickets the man selling them welcomed us to “the worst part of Europe” he followed that with, “We just have a really great P.R. team.” That little piece of sarcasm made me feel right at home. 😉 Then, we missed our bus. The next bus wasn’t for another 45 minutes. For obvious reasons I hate getting into new cities late at night. So, we sold our bus tickets and went to the train station. Two trains and a taxi later, we were in our flat. Once we arrived at our flat I went to the grocery story down the street and bought fruits and veggies for dinner.

I also have to mention how great it was to be able to communicate with people in my first language, English. Over the past few weeks I have picked up quite a bit of Italian but I still have to think really hard about some words. I found out that I really took for granted everyone knowing English in America. I think everyone needs to go to a place they don’t know the language. It humbles you and makes you more considerate about people who might not speak your native language.

Our flat had the CUTEST balcony and since I wake up way earlier than Braxton I was able to have tea and grapes in the morning. It was so peaceful and perfect! We knew we only had one full day in London so we needed the best way to get around. We opted for the cliché double decker bus tour. It was about 25 euro but that was all day transportation + a river cruise. We started at Buckingham Palace. I personally would have rather lived in Versailles but thats just me! The Palace was huge but not as beautiful as Versailles in my opinion. Next, I wanted to see the London Eye. The views were amazing and the line was not bad at all. We then took pictures around Big Ben and The House Parliament. Right across the street was the start of our river cruise to the Tower Bridge. Of course, we got more entertaining Brits as our tour guides. They warned us about proposing on the top of the London Eye because, “It will be a long, awkward ride down with 15 strangers if she says no.” haha. We also went under the London Bridge. Now, I was born in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. LHC is now home to a former London Bridge that was sold to a few developers. On the tour they had mentioned, “The last one is in the middle of the desert somewhere.” I chuckled knowing that I was from the middle of that desert.

Once we arrived at the Tower Bridge we walked across it to a pub called, The Anchor Bankside. This is one of the oldest pubs in London. Supposedly Shakespeare even wrote about it. We had a couple beers (and by this I mean, I had a cider and Braxton had a Guinness) and traditional fish and chips. I am obsessed with the ambience of English and Irish bars now. We snapped some more pictures then we were off to finish our bus tour. The nice thing about doing the bus tour is that, at the end of the day when you don’t want to walk anymore, you can still see all of the other attractions from a bus. We did exactly that. The bus dropped us off back near our flat and we walked from there. It was a super long day in London but we had seen everything we wanted to in only 12 hours! Then we were off to our next adventure in Dublin, Ireland. Stay tuned for my next blog post and video. 🙂

With Love, Elizabeth Ashley

P.S. Check out our video down below of our travels through the city of London!

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcqvIry_ubk[/embedyt]

September 25, 2016 0 comment
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I made my modeling debut today in Versailles!!! hahaha. Just kidding. In all seriousness I think I might just retire in the gardens of Versailles. I have always loved gardens but Versailles is magical. There is no place in the world like this. When you first walk up to the Palace it is extremely intimidating. The giant gold gates make it look straight out of a Willy Wonka. If you gave me all the money in the world and told me to build my dream home it wouldn’t come close to Versailles. Versailles is the palace other palaces dreamed of being. It has inspired thousands of designers thru out the centuries.

We took the 30 minute train from Paris to Versailles and it only cost us about 4 euros each. Since we have visas that are over 90 days we were able to have free entry into the Palace. After touring the grand rooms and famous Mirrored Hallway, we retired to the garden. There was not a single piece of trash on the ground or was there a branch out of place. This garden was immaculate. We walked through the giant hedges to the small lake near the end of the gardens. There we rented a small row boat and toured the lake. It is amazing how well placed every tree and plant is, it makes everything seem so perfect. I can only imagine what it had to be like back in the day! We grabbed lunch at a sweet restaurant by the lake. The hot chocolate was amazing but the meal was sub par.

We ended our day by stopping at Notre Dame. We didn’t go in but I faced my fear and fed some pigeons. 🙂 Stay tuned for more on Paris!

With Love, Elizabeth Ashley

September 17, 2016 0 comment
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About an hour south of Naples is a piece of heaven on earth called the Amalfi coast. When we first began thinking about studying abroad we knew that we had to visit the picturesque town of Positano. The town is famous for its bright and colorful buildings tucked along the coast of the baby blue Mediterranean.

We arrived by train to Salerno around 11 a.m. then took a ferry ride to Maiori. We stayed at a beautiful hotel called Hotel Panorama. After we got our bags in our room we headed to the beach. Along the Amalfi Coast is a mix of public and private beaches owned by the hotels. Hotel Panorama offers an amazing beach to its guests. We rested the entire first day and enjoyed the small charming town of Maiori.

The next day we took a bus to Amalfi. Before we went, we watched the Rick Steves episode on the Amalfi coast and he talked about how scary the bus rides were and he wasn’t lying! The road along the Amalfi coast is around 750 years old and in some places isn’t quite wide enough for two cars. The fact that we were cliffside along the Mediterranean Sea made for an interesting and intense first ride. Amalfi is known for its lemons and Limoncello liquor. These are amazing and a must try in Amalfi! While we were wondering the town we got stuck in a rainstorm. We noticed that the sky was dark but didn’t expect rain in paradise! So we escaped on our ferry to Positano.

Positano was as amazing as one would expect. It’s the kind of city that inspires artists. We stopped and had a caprese salad and a drink before exploring. After lunch we headed out and walked the small intimate streets. It was as romantic as it was beautiful. There is a path that stretches along the coast that we hiked along which holds some amazing views, private coves and small, intimate restaurants. We decided to take a swim at the end of the day while collecting some pretty colorful rocks, which cover the shoreline. The water was so warm and reminded me so much of Hawaii with its clear blue water.

When we got back in Maiori, Braxton took me out to dinner. It was a great way to end our week traveling. 🙂

With Love, Elizabeth Ashley

September 13, 2016 3 comments
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