It’s been a minute since I’ve clicked the keys together with blogging in mind. So much of me misses it with every cell in my body but it also scares me. People say chase your dreams, well my dreams chased me. Everywhere I went I was reminded what I should be doing and where my heart, above all else, really was. The worst part about dreams is they require a leap of faith, ultimately in yourself and shear confidence in your abilities. It was never easy for me to recognize the good in myself but it was second nature for me to see the good in others. So that’s where I took my time and attention. I threw myself into jobs, classes, relationships, and everything else to believe in someone elses dream and potential because it was far less scary than believing in my own. That gave me 5 silent years trying to run from what I always wanted to do for fear of failure and paralyzed what people would think of me.
A lot is different from who I was then.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
If you read my blog back when it started 2015, you would know it all came from designing my own jewelry line and styling it on my friends and taking pictures for Instagram. Which was far less popular back then. On one of my shoots, my model was not able to make it but I already had my photographer there. She asked me why I haven’t ever styled myself and posted pictures of myself in the jewelry. There it was born. After posting that shoot, I was addicted! Fashion was always so fascinating to me. How the external pieces could make the internal mind take a 180 from a shy and quiet girl to a total girl boss ready to kick ass. What an incredible creative outlet! And with fashion, it wasn’t a test I could get the wrong answer on. It was just expression, and nothing was incorrect. Once I started posting my outfits, I added a “blog” tab on my jewelry site and began writing about what I styled. I was surprised I got such a great response that it motivated me to keep going. I really grew faster than I knew what to do with and back then, Instagram wasn’t what it is now. No one really had “stats” or “insights” of how to get better. It was just posting what outfit you wore to brunch. After going to New York Fashion Week, I got hard on myself because I was really getting somewhere but at the end of the day I wasn’t what my friends were. I was not the skinniest, I had super short legs, wide hips on a tiny body, I couldn’t put makeup on like them, and they walked with a confidence that would shake the room. Being around them, ignited me as much as it did intimidate me.
WHY DID YOU STOP BLOGGING?
My blog came to a halt when I forgot to renew my domain (ashleylarea.com) and a Chinese furniture company bought it within minutes after becoming available because of traffic numbers. You can’t even make this up. My dad and I spent hours on the phone and numerous emails to this company begging to give MY NAME back (who thought it was so hard to own your name?!). They never responded and I lost my site and all my content I ever posted. It was 100% my fault, and it took a big hit on me. I tried to salvage what I could but they now owned the web address for 3 years. My life went offline and I pretty much killed my social media. My passion for fashion never wavered and in 2016, I applied to my dream school and was accepted at Parsons New School of Design in the fall.
LIFE IN NEW YORK
I was in my dream city living my own fairytale. Even surprising myself and going beyond the plans and dreams I made for myself since I could remember. I’ll never forget thinking to myself “wow, I created reality out of all my dreams. Now I have to make new ones!” The city was magic. Summer of 2017 was when I really became ignited. My best friend planted this seed of confidence in me that grew to something I’ve never had in me before. We spent the summer running around NYC getting the best shots, styling the best outfits, finding new places to shoot, and running through the streets carrying a suitcase of outfit changes. We looked hilarious but hands down my favorite memories I had there. She helped that passion in me come alive again, and as both of our Instagrams started getting more engagement I knew I had to keep going and get back to what I had forgotten I loved so much.
For the first time (in really ever) I had the confidence I always wished I had. I was no longer afraid of what people could say or do to me because I had people around me who knew me, my intentions, and loved me unconditionally. Crazy what that will do to you. It was my 23rd birthday (my lucky number) when I asked God to either bring me my dream career or my husband. Two days later, I walked into my ~future~ boyfriends house and as soon as I saw him, I knew. I am such a hopeless romantic but sometimes even my boyfriend and I’s story is too cheesy for me!! God answered my prayer and if we had the money we would have been one of those couples that got married after just months of dating. We thought hard about it but something told us to wait to give each other the wedding we each deserved and wanted to give each other. After all, you only do it once! We were living together by May of 2018 while he was still going back and forth to school and this past February we put a lease on our first apartment together. Eeeek!!
WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW
The last couple of years feel like 6 months and 6 years at the same time. It feels like yesterday I was in New York and it also feels like a lifetime ago. A year ago I was living in NYC with no thoughts of leaving and if you told me I’d be in Dallas by this time moved into an apartment with a boy, I would have laughed in your face. My life has TRULY never gone as I planned (I don’t know why I still try) but I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.
It makes me so happy to get back on my blog and have a platform to be creative and share not only what I love but use my life expierence to share how normal it is to struggle. I always expected perfection from myself because that’s how everyone eleses life looked… but the more I’ve talked to others I realized how almost no one knows all the answers, where to go next in life, not afraid of failure, and just hope there’s light in the tunnel. I know there were days I thought I couldn’t make it to the next or there’s no way I would ever heal but everything I’ve gone through has built a very strong woman that I want to empower and encourage people around me to feel. That’s always been my dream job.
Past, present, or future; nothing is off limits and I want my corner of the internet to be for me as much as I want it to be for my readers. Read more what you will find on my blog here and if you would like to sign up for updates when I post next enter your email below where it says “become an insider”and you’re in!
Thanks for reading!