It's Time to Stop Advancing on Fruitless Effort

12.31.2017 Fresno, CA

From the looks of it, 2017 was a trying year for a lot of us. We all struggled in some way and appreciated the way it uprooted our perspective and growth. As this rough, but needed chapter closes.. we reflect on everything it took to get here and those we had to let go of, maybe even the ones we tried to hold on to. The positive energy as a fresh start ushers its way in is great. We've all been planning and setting the tone of what next year will look like for us, the work we are holding ourselves accountable to put in, as well as new ventures wanting to be explored. Claiming everything we want to create for ourselves. So, while we're noting what we're taking with us and leaving behind this year, I felt compelled to make sure we touched on an important issue that can no longer be a repeated phrase every time a year comes to an end. Let's talk about unrequited devotion.

There will be no such thing as getting your time wasted in 2018. 

Let's just claim that now. We're ahead of that from here on out, simply because (in all honesty) we see the signs far before we even get to the disappointments. We have a special gift and it's called intuition. You'll save yourself a lot of time when you recognize the effort you are putting in is completely one-sided. This can go for relationships and friendships. Sometimes, we're overly devoted to those who don't devote the same care, thoughtfulness, and support as we do. Equally important— when you are aware, you can't make excuses for the party who chooses not to reciprocate what you're giving. See why that's equally important? You're choosing to continue to pour effort into someone who is giving you every reason not to. I'm an incredibly understanding person. I'm considerate and I give people the benefit of the doubt, but putting off how someone interacts with you and disregarding how you feel is compromising, and for what? You can't force someone to pay attention to you, wait it out to see if they give you their time or reciprocate feelings that they don't want to share.

At some point, there has to come a time where you decide to stop discrediting how you feel for the sake of keeping someone in your life and being underappreciated. The problem is this: you want them to fit into your life when they can't. The second problem: you keep finding an excuse to make a way when all the signs are there— disinterest, lack of communication, unsupportive and indirection. Don't let minimum effort be the driving force to keep ignoring signs and entertaining the idea that there's an effort at all. Continuing to provide someone all that you have and getting nothing in return is a runaround, and it most likely won't go anywhere. Let me correct something else. Stop giving life to the idea that you have a permanent "waste my time" sign tattooed on your forehead that's attracting the wrong people towards you. Rather, consider the similar characteristics you keep finding yourself attracted to that result in being in the position to get your time wasted. That's where you begin  at the root. You're steady putting your all into someone and going out of your way to please people who have no intentions of taking advantage of it (let alone appreciate). Then, you find yourself upset and worked up over the fact they showed you how they've been acting all along, but this time the magnifying glass presented the issue a little clearer.


If you feel like you are constantly getting your time wasted, pay attention to the way you feel when interacting with these people. Stop brushing things that hurt or offend you off and if you're disrespected let it be known. Most importantly, stop advancing with little effort and trying to force it to grow into something bigger. People will only do as much as you let them. They will use, abuse and drain everything out of you if allow them to. The best way to go about this is to reciprocate equal effort. If it's slim, stay there. If it's more, increase it but don't be the only one planting the seeds and watering them daily. See, There are a lot of people who aren't really with you, they're just tagging along and doing the bare minimum. They're not trying to participate and do the work with you they simply just want to take up space and collect the dirt because you allow it.

In like manner, for those who seem to show genuine interest and intentions with no warning signs, let this be the year you acknowledge that people you expect love and support from are not always the ones who will give it to you. The key is to stop expecting so much out of people just because you're providing all of what you'd like in return to them. They aren't obligated to return it, once you realize that, you'll no longer find yourself upset that you put time and energy into a person who wasn't the least bit open to receive it.

Wasted time is the result of a forced action. Pay attention to the friendships/relationships you have with people that feed important parts of your soul and pour that same nourishment back into you. Stop rushing love because you want to be happy like everyone else around you. You don't have to pay attention to everyone who shows interest that you're attracted to. Be in tune with your feelings. Get rid of excuses for people who are no good for you. History doesn't make you obligated to stick around. Only water those who water you.

In 2018, take better and overly protective care of your heart, time and energy.

Life Is Always a Mirror

11.25.2017 Los Angeles, CA

One of the most healing things you can do is recognize where in your life you are your own poison. This could be in any area. It's honestly hard to confront our own flaws because it's much easier to put the blame on any and everything else but ourselves. It is imperative to acknowledge when we are our own poison because it forms cancer that grows to blind us from seeing that sometimes the problem is you. There has to be a point reached where we start taking ownership of the issues we cause ourselves. If every situation is one that's against you in any way, isn't that a clear indicator that maybe something needs to change? It should be.

There are many people who are stuck in their ways. So stuck that they never consider that maybe, just maybe they could be the problem. It's always everyone/everything against them.. and there's never a dawning moment of realization that there are areas in their life that need some serious nurturing. 

Checking yourself and your heart is big-time growth. When you do the inner work you allow yourself to elevate to a new and higher level. You have to be real with yourself and get honest about the areas that you need to change. Now, I'm not saying that you need to change who you are as a person entirely, but insisting on considering taking a deep look at yourself and see where you're coming up short. There is always an area that needs a new seed to be planted. Water it by taking the time to fix the environment, mind, heart, and soul, for your situations to bloom.

I am a firm believer that life is always a mirror. Anything unresolved within our energy field will keep manifesting itself in our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual lives until we fix it. There is no escaping this. You are bound to repeat patterns if you do not heal them. Inner work is necessary. A simple and effective tool to change your life situations is only speaking what you wish to be brought into existence. Start taking note of the words that you are putting out into the world because those words could be the outcome of where you are coming up short. Your words create and you can not change what you refuse to confront.

You are always presented with a choice: evolve or remain. Choosing to remain unchanged, will be presenting the same challenges, the same storms until you step aside and truly learn from them to stop the cycle you've created. Choosing to evolve, connects you with the strength to explore what lies far beyond what's comfortable.

Be a mirror for your life. You want better? Be better.

Many things in life are uncontrollable, but I've noticed that the few that are controllable we see them as one in the same because we don't like to admit that we are wrong in those cases. That break through you insist you can't get won't just fall in your lap. Yes, it's on the next level, but only after you decide to put more effort in on your part. It's the same in all aspects of life. You want better friends? Make sure that you are being a better friend. You want better outcomes? Make sure that you are genuinely doing right by other people and etcetera.

Sometimes you are the reason nothing is going how you'd like it too because you're standing in your own way. Instead of complaining about how everyone else contributes to why nothing is going right, check yourself and truly learn from how you are contributing to the destruction. Also, be okay with people or situations that are simply not meant for you and accept disappointment without consuming yourself in resentment.

Life is always a mirror. Bask in love and light. Let your aura be a reflection of where your heart is resting. Choose to evolve.You are your greatest asset. When you take care of you, your life takes care of itself.

You Approached It Like It Was Heavy, So It Was

9.03.2017 Sunnyside, CA

For the month of September, I decided to do a new series dedicated to stepping up to personal challenges. We all go through similar obstacles in life, some more intense than others, and sometimes feel that we're the only person who's feeling that way or going through that difficult time. You can find comfort in knowing that there are so many people in this world who can resonate with your struggles, myself included. So, here I am, opening this series to try and help you approach your personal challenges with the intent to overcome and prevail. By that I mean you are more than welcome to send me topic requests to touch on in this series, it's completely dedicated to helping you from my own experience. The first topic of choice is elevation.

We've all done it. Talked and talked about how we want to do this and that, how it's our passion and how we would love to get a. and b. out of life. When you're a creative, the places your mind wanders off to will take you to some incredible destinations. When we daydream it's magical. We can feel it like it's happening as we think of it. The feeling gets us excited about the possibility of manifesting the life we envision. We will pray and ask for signs of what we want, shout out to be pushed in the direction of our purpose and the moment it's shown to us we try to back out because of the load. Why is it that we expect to be given what we ask for as if the quality of it won't be greater? It's like we pray and pray for something and as soon at it's presented to us, we get small. It's right in front of you now, so what are you going to do with it? Far too many times we count ourselves out before we even attempt to give ourselves the chance to succeed. If there's one thing that I've learned along my journey, it's that God will listen and pay close attention to the smallest of details of your hearts desires. He'll test your patience, then drop more in your lap than you initially asked for and because it was more than you asked for, you immediately feel unprepared and unfit for a higher quality blessing. God didn't put you through that tough season to build your strength up just for you to run away when he lends a helping hand. Stop backing down and training your mind to run from things that seem too complex for where you are currently at. Find peace in knowing that God always places you in a situation HE feels you're qualified for. Even if you think you're unfit, he'll adjust you. Your only task is to accept the faith he has in you to take your life higher.

If you want to keep being held back then continue to believe that you need to have all the answers to take advantage of the opportunities placed in front of you. All you have to do is just go and work with what you have. A good portion of our stress comes from trying to figure it all out in one sitting, it doesn't work that way. There will never be a perfect time, place or enough tools to jumpstart you in the direction you are trying to go. You just have to go. When you carry all the how's and why's with you it weighs you down and your load will continue to grow. Please stop underestimating yourself and give your capabilities more credit. We all say that we believe in ourselves and know that we can achieve things that we want, but do you believe in yourself enough to take on more than you prayed for? If the loads too big are you going to try and decrease it to fit your level of comfortability? That's the true measure of belief in yourself.

We're all human and it's normal to have some type of angst when approaching situations we know could benefit us in the long run. The reason we get worried with the first initial contact with a big load is that we know deep down inside, that this next level is going to force us to get out of our comfort zone. It's so much easier to talk about it and pray for change, but when the change comes it requires a new version of ourselves that we aren't used to being yet. It's always easier staying the same and in a predictable place. Change is new and that forces more effort that can cause us to ask if we're ready for it. Nothing will be presented to you that you can not do. The load will only break you if you carry it like it's too heavy. The way you respond is where your power is.

You can pray for signs of change all you want, but don't run away from what you asked for. Step up and tell yourself that everything you have gone through prepared you for the next step. Yeah, it might seem too big to take on but do you want to prevail or fail? Failure stems from backing down from a challenge meant to evolve you. Prevailing will only happen once you accept the load in its size as a whole. Change your approach towards anything that is given better than you expected because God will only promote you to the level of your tolerance of pain.

Let this be the day you begin to David your Goliath (even when the biggest Goliath is you).

How My Career Delay Turned Out to Be a Blessing in Disguise

8.11.2017 Clovis, CA, USA

First, let me start this post off by giving thanks to an undeniably phenomenal God. The most beautiful things happen unexpectedly in your time of waiting. It took me a long time to master my patience, but since I have— things have been moving along gracefully. This post will hold every word I spill from the bottom of my heart. I hope it encourages someone by the time you reach the end.

If you've been keeping up with my blog for the past year or even the past couple of months, you know that I have no issue telling my story and showing the ugly parts while working towards my purpose. If you are new, I will give you a quick recap. I graduated from college in 2015 and like many recent grads, believed that my life was about to take a positive turn with a great start in a fulfilling career. Well, things didn't really go as planned and you can read about that in this post here. I was working in a  job that wasn't necessarily bad, but after some time... started making me feel like I was being held back. That caused post college depression, which you can read about here.

You can feel when you aren't aligned with what your soul yearns for and I advise you to never ignore that feeling. As for me, I didn't ignore it. I was just stuck in the position I was in (which actually turned out to be quite beneficial in my journey).

To give you some background, in 2015/2016 I was applying to endless amounts of jobs to every news station and organization in Los Angeles and surrounding cities (every app came back as a no).  I didn't want to be at my job forever (initially planned to stay for six months until I found something else) but finding something else, anything else didn't even happen. Six months turned into a year and by mid year I had made a decision to take control of my situation. I was going to graduate school, but where? I love broadcast media, so I had to do some homework. I didn't want to go too far, kept tuition and cost of living in consideration and began my program research. San Jose State, USC, and Arizona State were the three programs that matched my preferred criteria. However, USC's tuition was too much for me at the moment and trying to figure out the hows was a headache. San Jose's program was close, but not quite the right fit. Then, I took my visit to Arizona State and fell even more in love with the program in person, than I did online. I need to go here, was my only thought. Fast forward to January 2017 and I was back in Arizona, this time with my boyfriend. We took a road trip from Los Angeles to Phoenix in search of an apartment, yup we were talking about moving! My boyfriend is one of the most supportive people in my life and he was willing to move his job from Michigan to Phoenix so I would have support, plus no more long distance. We had a great time exploring the city, celebrated his birthday at K1 speed, found new restaurants (because we love food)  and just enjoyed being reunited again. To make the trip even better, we found what we were looking for. A nice one bedroom apartment nestled off in the mountains of Phoenix with a beautiful balcony view. We loved it, then we found out his job had a branch literally right across the street from the complex. Talk about excited. Everything was coming together. Business was handled, so we enjoyed our last day in the city. We then changed our initial plans of moving by waiting to see if I got accepted in February. I finished all my requirements early so it was a slight waiting game. February rolled around and I got my email, but I wasn't accepted...

I was devastated. Completely broken once I got that rejection letter. I truly believed that was the path God was leading me in, on top of that everyone around me was so sure and confident that I was going to get accepted.. and I didn't. I was really embarrassed. So embarrassed that it's taken me this long to release this off my chest. I was confused.. depressed, even more than I was before. Why did God align all of the steps perfectly leading up to this moment without me getting in? I asked constantly. However, God had better plans for me and I didn't understand that then.

Three months after I didn't get accepted to the graduate program of my dreams, I decided to move back to Fresno. I wasn't making any progress or even touching the surface of what I wanted to do.  Then, I got laid off from the job I was trying to leave so I spent time with family back in my hometown, which reassured me even more that it was time to leave LA. While traveling back to Los Angeles to clean out all my stuff to pack up and move, I saw a position that I had no experience for in Fresno, but it was ideal. I ignored it and applied to different positions to get on my feet as soon as possible. My soul was telling me to apply to that position anyway for about thirty minutes, so I did and didn't think much of it after that (already expected a thank you for applying, but.. email). However, two hours later, I had a voicemail from the company I had zero experience for and quickly called back. After a round of phone tag, we got in contact and the first sentence that came out of the manager's mouth was "Hey, Ashley what do you think about having a career in media?" ...

Are you kidding me?! I have been applying day in and day out for the last two years, but of course, I had to keep it cool, calm and collected. I got a phone interview the next week. It was a complete turn around for me. Since March, I have been called back for a total of four interviews, each one going well and getting better as I continued. I was so nervous because I had been wanting this for so long and it was here. I got a tour of the news room and saw where the magic happens for each area of broadcast and I was in complete awe, I had dreamed of being around this at grad school. July, I was presented with an assignment to do that would serve as my last and final interview. I was determined to leave a good impression. I wanted this bad. With little detail and direction, I had to present a television show to everyone that I had been interviewing with prior. I am so grateful for all of those Communication and PR classes because although I felt I was doing it wrong or afraid it wouldn't be what they were looking for, it turned out to be exactly what they were looking for. Every area I broke down and provided with correlated methods was "everything we do on the job". Hearing those words made me feel amazing, confident and excited that I was even in this position— without 3-5 years experience.

Four months after moving from LA and relocating back to Fresno, it all makes sense now. I wasn't supposed to go to Arizona State and it wasn't meant for me to stay in LA because the start of my career was somewhere I never thought it would be, home. I can happily say that I am now the new Account Executive for CBS and NBC new stations located here in the Central Valley. I personally couldn't have written a better story for myself, but God! I am so excited for this new chapter and finally starting my career! I look forward to building the way I hoped for my future and family to come. The possibilities are endless. The true essence of my life is just beginning and I couldn't be any more proud of myself. 

If you walk with God and trust him to move the pieces around, you will always reach your destination. If the plan doesn't work, change the plannot the goal. Not getting in graduate school wasn't exactly a career delay at all, but it was a true blessing in disguise for something better. I never lost sight of what I truly wanted, even with the many disappointments and rejections I received.  God didn't see it fit for me to go to school right now and that's absolutely fine because something great came out of the unknown. I still plan on getting a second degree, but for now, it's time to really start building.

Trust HIM.
Trust your journey.

Honor the space between no longer and not yet.

When God shows up, he shows up BIG and blessings come tenfold. Please don't stop chasing whatever it is you want to gain from this life. Know that anything that you put your mind to will come full circle on HIS time. Chase after dreams wholeheartedly and don't let discouragements keep you unmotivated. If need be, have your moments but continue to push forward. Speak everything into existence. You have more power of turning that dream into reality than you think. I truly hope my journey helps someone else because I know exactly what you're going through. It's worth it in the end.

With love,

Rekindling a Love for My "Ordinary" Life | Mind-Shift Pt. 4


Less scrolling, more living. That's the motto I've been practicing lately... mainly because it's so easy to get caught up in the glamor of everything we see. This world has shifted towards a show all bare all society where lives, even the simplest of gestures, have become a goal. Quite frankly in my case I grew to despise downplaying my own life because it didn't meet certain standards. What standards? I couldn't tell you if I wanted to, but I'm sure anyone on Instagram creates their own "standard" by simply scrolling through their discovery page. It's a make-believe standard that has no purpose even crawling into our space, but it does and we allow it. 

This is the last segment to the mind shift series and today we're digging deep into comparison.

I've caught myself far into someones Instagram feed before, fascinated by the aesthetic of their graphics, not even realizing I was subconsciously comparing my life. Not in an "Oh I wish I was her" kind of way, but more of a "dang, my life is boring" way. When in actuality, it isn't boring at all. The best and most precious moments of my life don't make it to social media and as I've grown, I put a high priority on the value of privacy. Something that you don't see a lot of anymore. However, the part of comparison that really bothered me was when I started thinking I wasn't doing enough because someone else was doing it (insert fierce snap here). Seeing someone doing all of the things that you desire to do can make you feel questionable about when your breakthrough is coming. I know because I've been there, but what's most important is reminding ourselves that someone may be ahead of you now doing the exact thing you want to, but that doesn't mean you won't be taken further once your time comes. So comparison really isn't needed, you just have to take the time to teach yourself mindfulness, because you can't move forward until you have honored where you are right now. Easier said than done, but true.

Any form of comparison can be harmful to your own growth process. So, I have been making sure I practice as much positivity throughout my day, every day. I've been making it a habit to slow down sometimes and enjoy the moments presented to me. To live a slower, more intentional life. I also have been applying this new rule where as soon as I start to think something negative, I shift my thoughts on what I appreciate instead. It's very helpful. Choosing to be happy with what I have while working for what I want was the best decision I could have made for my peace of mind. You have to be willing to accept and stop disapproving all of the good in your life that doesn't match up to your "ideal" life in your head.

Having dissatisfaction of your life isn't going to make your life any better. Even if you feel like you aren't where you want to be, you're a lot further than you were starting out. To minimize the stress you might feel, be reasonable with your expectations. Find perspective and ask why you feel the way you do in regards to someone else's life. Once you are able to identify the heart of the issue, you can begin to lead a more positive and purposeful path. Don't let your happiness depend on anything outside of yourself. I think we get in this mindset when we see others highlights and think it's so much easier for them— when really, we all struggle to find our place in the world. So I believe it's key to focus on your plate and worry less about what everyone else is eating.

I no longer allow myself to feel triggered or less than because of the rise in others successes. It was frustrating in the past because of constant strive and push to get through the fog. Constantly asking when is my moment? However, once you start living your life for you and let go of the idea of what it's supposed to be supporting other phenomenal, fearless and barrier breaking women becomes second nature because you're confident in your own direction. It gets tiring always worrying and stressing about what's next or where you aren't in life. Be more present, you'll reach the next step. Congratulate and genuinely support the next woman and be a positive reminder that we're more powerful together than we will ever be in competition. Stop thinking that everyone is ahead of you, you're right where you need to be and always remember no one's life is as put together as their Instagram feed.

Here's to rekindling a love for my ordinary, yet amazing life because you only get one and it's best to appreciate it considering it could always be far worse.

Confidently & Unapologetically Self-Defined | Mind-Shift Pt. 3


I've really been picking up on the growth happening within me lately. My mentality and perspective about things have shifted. I now respond and approach situations attentively. Every day it feels like I'm flourishing more in depth. I'm discovering more about myself as the days come and go. It's not necessarily a weird feeling, but it sure gives you a front seat to take notice of how your evolving. I take pride in who I am as a woman, what I want out of my life and how I want my presence to be remembered. With all of that comes the art of conquering within through my own acceptance. Welcome to part three of the mind-shift series. Today's post is about validation.

Go + Grow with the Flow | Mind-Shift Pt. 2


I'm an overthinker. I over analyze the smallest of issues and get worked up when feats don't pan out they way I believe should. Spoken like a true control freak. Hashtag perfectionist. Here's what I had to cope and come to terms with: nothing ever happens like you imagine it will. When you try to control everything, you enjoy nothing.

Eliminating Fear to Move Forward | Mind-Shift Pt. 1


 I took a slight break away from the blog to unplug and fully embrace my vacay. While enjoying every precious moment throughout that mini break, I was able to reconnect with my creative flow. Although I didn't do much blogging, I did take in all of Gods creation and nature around me. This simple act of gratitude allowed me to tap into my innermost feelings, dislikes, and places for soul improvement. Watching the sunset on the lake is a serene sense of inspiration which allowed me to embrace ways to fix my thinking. Just sitting there in admiration... myself, nature and God— absent from all the troubles of the world, gave me a renewed appreciation of life. A complete shift of mindset. A yearning desire to live my best life, but in a more reformed way than before.  

How I Refocus My Energy Towards Self Awareness & Personal Growth

6.22.2017 Central Valley, California

Ever since I moved back to the Central Valley, I have been falling in love with taking care of myself. Although being a former student-athlete caused me to take very good care of my health and body, it's become more than just physical care for me. I still implement exercise and nutrition into my daily life, but I never pampered my mind, body, and spirit. It's important to love yourself in all aspects, but also, analyze and critique yourself on how you think, act and behave. Self-love without self-awareness is basically pointless. So, I've been making sure I hold myself accountable. 

When Life Gives You Lemons, You Build a Lemonade Stand and Profit


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to actually wake up every morning, completely happy and excited about what you do in life? To never have to endure settling for "temporary" mediocrity to reach what you truly desire. Passing time until time finds you fit and gives you what you actually want. Some people are actually blessed enough to experience that feeling. The rest of us? We're still putting the pieces together, slowly but surely. We're getting there.

I'm patiently waiting for my moment, just like everyone else I know. I'm definitely not one of the people who immediately started doing what they love or set out to do after my college graduation. I will admit that I've struggled in the process of trying to get to that place and by no means is it my fault. I've tried endlessly, I mean what more can you do while trying to get experience and no one wants to give you the experience you need?

Find a job that passes time in hopes your dream job comes along the way.

I had one of those jobs... and the dream opportunity NEVER came my way. I mean, I had a nice setup, but nothing compared to what I truly wanted to do. It was close though. It was a move in the right direction.

Fast forward some time.. and the path is getting a little stale. I'm the kind of person who absolutely hates feeling boxed in or stagnant. I need to feel like I'm in steady movements forward in progress. When I tell you I felt stuck, it doesn't even bring justice to how horrible I felt. To top it off, I didn't even like the main job I was in.

ROLL IN THE DEPRESSION. *drum roll please*

Not even joking with you, I was completely and utterly depressed. I haven't really shared this information with anyone except my family, best friend, and boyfriend. So, you're getting this story real and completely raw. Completely open.

Post-college depression is real. I didn't even feel like my confident, outgoing and happy self. I completely changed as a person. It was rough. I cried almost every day, hid it well from some, but those closest to me got the best of my meltdowns. I was unhappy. Not unhappy from anyone in my life, but unhappy how my life was playing out. I felt like I wasn't doing crap but wasting time at a job I didn't even want to work at. Then what made things a little bit worse was that I was applying to jobs in my desired field literally EVERY.DAY. I can't even tell you how many I applied for but, trust it was enough to cause a headache. I could see myself feeling a little better if I got contacted by at least a couple of the companies I applied to, but nothing. Absolutely nothing. Zero. Nada.

So you can imagine my depression just worsening and growing deeper.

Here I was, fresh out of college, young, living in Los Angeles, California. One of the most sought after cities that sit on the glory of success... and struggling to even get an interview for something I spent four years studying. I dealt with this for almost two years. It was so easy for everyone else to tell me "just quit and get another job". It's easy, yes. However, complex.

I could have certainly quit and got another job, but I would have found myself

1. Still depressed
2. Still unhappy
3. Still searching for something else

In my eyes, there was no point. I dealt with all of my emotions and unhappiness for two years in a job that wasn't fulfilling. Now, that I look back on it.. it probably wasn't the smartest thing to do by staying in a job while feeling like that. A major cause of emotional destruction, but I held on and prayed.

As time went on, I felt like I needed a change in scenery. I needed to move somewhere because LA just wasn't doing it for me anymore. Don't get me wrong, it's one of the most beautiful and lively places to live, but it's definitely hyped up. I lived there for seven years and I just needed to go, but where? Maybe Texas, Michigan and a few more. Anywhere I felt like I could strive because reality check: everybody isn't meant to thrive in LA right away.

Then something great happens but I had confused, mixed feelings about. The company is closing my specific store, which means I'm either getting transferred to another location or getting laid off.

At the time it felt perfect because I was completely over working there, but bills.

I ended up getting laid off.

So now I'm free of the main problem that's holding my greatness back, but I'm also unemployed and have no income. Plus, I'm over living in such a fast-paced city.

I think it over, talk to my family and boyfriend and decided that it was in my best interest to move and relocate. So I did. I moved back to my hometown and at first felt like I was a failure going back but here I am, four months of being unemployed, but the happiest I have been in a while. My head is in a much better headspace than it was months prior and I feel.. like me again.

The best part about the whole move is that I'm in a better place in this small little city than I ever was in LA. The day I left from visiting my family back to SoCal to move all my things from LA I applied, once again, to a job in my desired field. I got a call two hours later. Had a phone interview two days later. Then three more interviews after that. Then I got another interview in media again, WHAT?! DREAM JOB CAREER. Now, I'm awaiting my third interview and just got offered another great position and I've only been here for a little under three months. Compare that to the two years I endlessly tried in LA.

I say all that to tell you this.

Sometimes you have to start somewhere small to end up somewhere big.

Believe that the storm you are going through has a bigger purpose in the end. Never in a million years did I think I would end up back here, but God brought me back with a bigger purpose! Please, don't ever stop trying. Please don't ever write off possible blessings in disguise. Consider making moves to places you wouldn't think of going, it might just be the move for you. Evaluate everything you have on the table at all costs, don't count anything out. I'm currently in the best situation for me. I didn't immediately see it, but God keeps showing himself more and more. It's been a long time coming and a change has finally come. There's light at the end of frustration and discouragement, you just have to stick around to see it.

I'm now at a place in my life where I'm capable of doing everything I ever dreamed of doing. A career I love, buying a home to build in and enjoying my life fully, not partially. It takes time, yes. It takes endless amounts of patience, but it's a great feeling when you can actually see the pieces finally coming together after being patient for so long. Just trusting in yourself to come out of hard seasons gracefully, knowing you battled in your time of waiting makes you appreciate the process more.

You will get frustrated.
You'll feel like you will never catch a break.
You will doubt yourself occasionally.
You will bend.

... but you won't break, so never give up on what you have your eyes set on.

Please, no matter how hard your season gets don't quit on yourself. I struggled, I cried and got frustrated many times! But I love the moves I'm making and the life that I'm about to live. Remember, sometimes God gives us mountains, just to take us higher. Trust me when I say, the struggle is worth it in the end. Although I'm not completely at the level I want to be at, I'm blessed and grateful for my storm shifting and now I can see the beauty it's creating. I still have a lot more to go and growth is still in full effect, but the most important thing of all is that I'm happily myself again.

I would love to hear from you. Have you ever felt like you can't catch a break? Are you discouraged in life post-college? Please, feel free to share how you are coping with this.

Girlfriendology: Surviving Friendships in Your Twenties


I bet when you read the title to this post, you thought of all the severed friendships you've gotten rid of as you've progressed in life. Friendships seriously are equivalent to the survival of the fittest. Who fits and who needs to be dismissed? It's like a constant audition trying to determine if someone is right for this important role. Often times, we have to make some cuts and that's okay.

The Importance in Representation of Black Women in Media


The need for more black women in media is a necessity. Some may not understand exactly why media needs more women of color, but I'm just going to come right out and say it. The need for black women is to address and correct the issues that are being highlighted, preyed upon and stigmatizing reflections of our community. We need more black women who are politically knowledgeable to speak up about the problems in this world. We need more black women who seek to bring our representation higher than reality television. We need more black women who are dynamic with a platform. We need more black women who can professionally apply pressure.

Representation is important and I can't stress that enough.

For example, Angela Rye's platform is uncomfortable for everyone who likes to shy away from the nitty-gritty truth. Her intelligence, strength and confidence anger and threatens many. It's quite interesting to see people so upset about the truth she's speaking. I mean, she's being just as vocal and straightforward as Tomi, but Angela states facts-- correctly.

Ava DuVernay, paving the way and emerging conversations to the surface that need to be talked about for all ages. Her storytelling will change your views and show you what won't be found in your history books. A woman of color like her was essential to bridge the gap where ignorance is bliss. She opened the candor and allowed that truthfulness to rise above matters that many were unsuspecting to. If it wasn't for Ava, many would still be blind and naive from the truth.

Yassmin Abdul-Magied. Grace.. class, distinct. Strong in her identity and informative in her religion. Able to correct the ill-informed with poise and respect. A woman speaking above those meant to intimidate and silence women of color.

See, these are the types of representations we need more of. As black women, our progress substantially collides with media stereotypes. They don't expect or even imagine us to be poised, well spoken AND intelligent. My goodness, they think we all have no sense. Right now, we only scratch the surface..imagine the impact of a rising incline? I'm talking massive #BlackGirlMagic. It's time to start taking the power we have stored away more serious. It's inspiring to see shades of brown on the tv and making a difference in this world and shifting the way things are "supposed" to be. It's so inspiring, that we all seem to think to ourselves, "wow, she is goals" and that's perfectly fine. However, we have to stop stating it and actually take action to become part of it. Claim to take on a role to better represent the culture as a whole. We are the one group whose portrayal is completely one-sided and viewers/audiences don't even get the full picture. We're so much more than what people believe us to be and that's where we need to step in.

Keep in mind that this post is not to degrade or make anyone else who doesn't identify as a woman of color feel any type of way. However, a lot of people can turn on the tv and identify with what they see. Black women? Yeah our numbers in representation are climbing, but a vast majority of what we see is exactly how everyone sees us. There's a lot of positives starting to come full-circle for us right now, but the negatives and misconceptions still seem to hover over. I understand that many of these shows out are for entertainment purposes, to say the least, but when you really think about it, it's purposely being fed to mainstream. I personally had stop watching the Love & Hip Hop's and any other show that makes black women look exactly how they perceive us to be, because I know we're better than that. Much better than that. You might not think anything of it and in no way am I attacking you for watching it; if that's what you enjoy. Above all, they want people to believe that that's how we truly are. Then we sit around and get mad when other races try to act out about this same exact issue. If a good number of us are accepting this potrayal, how the hell will anyone else know any better? That's why it's time to start flipping the scripts and ridding the misconceptions. We have a good amount of strong, successful black women in the forefront. What about the rest of us? We are one of the most intelligent, creative and hardworking group of people that I know. There aren't many things that can tear us down. However, I do believe in some way we got comfortable. Willing to accept things that were easier. We can do a lot more than just comfortable and easy. Our image is a lot more than oiled skin and scarce clothes. We are better and we can do a hell of a lot more than settle for the easiest door.

So, this is my call to all young black women. In what ways to do you seek to contribute? However and whatever way you can assemble your passion with simple change, I say do it. Make a difference. I don't know about you, but I refuse to keep having misconceptions hovering over me. If a lot more of us step up and show that we're all competent and capable and it's just not a few, we'll be moving in the right direction. Stop sitting around hoping and wishing to be the next Issa, Ava, Shonda or Elaine. Take full control of your passion and work harder than you ever have. It's not farfetched to believe in your dreams. I don't know about you, but I'm doing all that I can do to someday be able to say other little girls can positively identify with me. I hope this inspires someone to see the possibilities they hold in their hands.. and may we carry what we know is true and eliminate surprises, because shades of brown are exalting too.

Unbothered | How to Move Beyond Negativity


Doesn't it seem like no matter how much you stay in your lane, somebody always has to swerve over to throw negativity? Always worried about what you're doing in your life. It's confusing actually because you don't do anything but live your life and that seemingly infuriates people. I often times wonder why people are so adamant on being vile and I have never been able to grasp the concept of worrying about someone else's life, mainly because 1.) it doesn't pay me and 2.) it serves me no purpose. The younger me would have let all the negativity, hate and ill wishes get to me. The way I used to look at it was: "I'm so kindhearted and easy to get along with, why would anyone hate or dislike me?" Now I see it as: "It comes with the territory." and I'll elaborate later. See, I'm the type of person that roots for everyone. I love seeing people accomplish goals and dreams. Seeing others happy, genuinely makes me happy even if I'm currently not in as good of a position as them. I cheer for people. I was raised to believe that there is enough sun for everybody to shine, but see that's the sheer difference between an envious soul and mine. 

The Price of Fame in College Sports


When you think of the NCAA, you think of team rankings, top of the line athletes and facilities that are easy to the eye. Though, you rarely think of the inner workings of the organization alone. The hard labor of athlete exploitation and an unfit structure. From the outside looking in, it would seem student-athletes have it all, but the harsh reality is what's often times ignored. The Netflix documentary Schooled: The Cost of College Sports is an eye opening and notifiable, cut throat look into the realness of this organization.

The NCAA is a billion dollar industry that generates revenue all from college sports; which seems like an even trade deal for institutions. Recruit, build, renovate and expand, while athletes are offered a free education in return. It sounds logical right? However, I believe the crux of the problem is much bigger than what the NCAA initially thought.

March 31, 1906, the National Collegiate Athletics Association was founded by Theodore Roosevelt. What started out as an urgent way to fix and keep college football around while putting safety proclamations forth, turned into a multi-billion dollar non-profit organization; that asserts amateurism as the means of its echelon. According to the NCAA, amateurism preserves an academic environment in which acquiring a quality education is the first priority. Student first, athlete second. Thus, when we think of all the indications that make up professionalism in sports, it rings a fairly familiar bell. In all honesty, the only real reason why college athletes are seen as amateurs is because of the simple fact that they aren't getting paid, which is why this whole system is a little corrupt.

Don't get me wrong, it's a blessing and a great opportunity to receive a scholarship, be able to attend a university and get a free education, all while doing what you love. However, there comes a time when we should take recognition that being a student-athlete is more of a full-time job than anything else. Granted, scholarships help inner city kids and those who can't afford college on their own. It's a way out of the circumstance for most, but scholarships don't take care of expenses outside of the institution. There is more that comes into play here than tuition.

College athletics bring in so much revenue and the athletes who are generating it all don't earn or see a dime from the profit they are bringing in. You can't possibly sit here and think that using and exploiting the talents of these athletes with nothing to show for on their end, is okay. They're "students first" but are they truly benefiting from their amateurism in terms of being a better student? Any regular student has rightful access to receiving a profit off their talents and skills without risk to losing the scholarship that's putting them through school. Let's be cogent here, there is no other field whatsoever where people are told that they are unable to benefit beyond their own potential. Nobody cares if the president of the student body benefits from being able to lead. Nobody cares if a journalism or English student profits from writing a book, but the fact that there is a complete uproar when considering if a student athlete should be paid for what they even allow you to do for your program  is the exact issue.

This isn't a case of amateurism, it's simply taking advantage to feeding greed. How about we take a look at the rational economic exchange. The rational economic exchange is an act of transaction of goods or services, in which are transferred from the provider for a return in relative compensation value, from the receiver. This is done in a manner that then advances the interest of both parties in exchange of goods for goods. Economic exchanges naturally influence wants and needs. We're all born with basic needs. The need to eat, the need for protection and warmth. All of these factors then increase the demand for the necessities that will fix those needs like food, shelter, and heat or clothing. Needs are necessary, wants are secondary. To piggyback off the process of economic exchange, consumption follows. Consumption is a satisfying act, so to speak. To even be able to participate in economic exchange for consumption, a party has to exchange their skill or effort, enterprise, land and or capital-- for an income. Which opens up the playing field to then exchange that income for the consumption of necessities that they want or need. Next, the production. There are four main types of production:

1.) Land and Natural Resources.
2. ) Human Capital.
3.) Real Capital.
4.) Enterprise.

Can you guess which of the following is identically intertwined with the issue the NCAA is overlooking? Human capital. The value of human skill and physical effort, better known as labor. However, unlike the other economic productions, the NCAA is finding beneficial ways to increase exchange rates and capitalizing on factors that will guarantee influence. This all includes better advertisement, top-ranked players, uniforms, and facilities that all increase the chances of bringing the most sought after players in their school, which garners more money in return for them. What about the athletes?

Let's get to the meat of the matter.

Student athletes are there to play sports. Half of the time, athletes are in courses that have no significance to their major. They just need to be eligible in order to play. So, if they are "students first" how is this benefiting them at all? They have everything on their plate times ten. They have media duties, thousands in stadiums, jersey's in stock by the numbers in the student store ( that people are actually purchasing) and billboards all over town. They're in video games with no consent and used for promotional purposes. Not to mention, they miss an excess amount of classes for game travel. They are walking celebrities in their college town, signing autographs and they do it all for free education. Most say "they should be lucky they're in school at no cost". That's not the issue. The issue is that they don't benefit from anything that they produce. Yeah, a free college education is great, but what happens when they don't know if they should get gas or get dinner? What happens when the end of the school year rolls around and they don't get anything they do during the academic school year? They have an off-season, but can they afford their rent?

It's also important to consider that many of these athletes that you are bringing on to your teams aren't from the greatest upbringings. This is all they have to try and support themselves. They're working hard, showing up on time, doing everything that's asked of them, but yet are still struggling, and this is why we see a lot of athletes forgoing their NCAA eligibility to go after their dream to get to that next level and have the means to help and support their families. This very crack in the system causes them to not finish the education they first sought out to get. When most think of paying college athletes they think huge numbers. Of course, some athletes will be higher profile than the next and some sports take care of the cost of others. However, in terms of paying the athletes... they just need help. In my opinion, I believe that if a little more of that help and compensation were given, we'd see a decrease in the anxiousness to leave without securing a four-year degree. I believe the whole system would see a shift, in a good way. It would give the athletes a better sense of security. Now, it's always said to be "too complicated" in terms of paying athletes, because of x amount of teams with x amount of athletes. That's a given. However, provide them with the little help that they are continuously asking for. That's the issue that is being overlooked here.

At some point, the NCAA won't be able to ignore and push aside this matter for much longer. The industry has climbed and expanded far ahead of what it started out to be. These athletes are good, really good at what they do. They have to come to you first, to even get to the level they want to be. All in all, if they're going to be put on pedestals like professionals, advertised and desired like professionals, then they should reap the benefits from their own likeness and image just like professionals. 

How USC's Rose Bowl Win Defied the Odds Against Them


From the very start to USC’s season, doubt counted them out. After their fall to Alabama, negativity ran its course. They were deemed talented, but slightly incapable of keeping up to such caliber. Once the losses kept coming, they turned elsewhere and made remarks on the coaching. All of these factors can take a toll on a team. Knowing your capability and continuously being shot down with negativity can be frustrating. Knowing the history of your program and trying to bring it back from its unfortunate wounds along the way; can be challenging. Being thrown several different coaches year after year holds up your momentum. However, the beauty in all of those roadblocks, is ultimately what led the Trojans here. 
Each year, each team and each player played a role. They set up modifications from trial and error. Each year, they worked out the kinks. Each year they got better. If something great is going to manifest, it has to manifest accordingly. Adversity, and all the blood, sweat and tears are what holds together a family. Something about seeing the Trojans this year around was satisfying and quite special. No matter what the media or anyone believed— they stay trued to their mission. They stuck behind Clay Helton, they trusted in his lead and they regained USC’s football credibility. 
This time around, it was less about showboating and more about showing up. 
From kickoff, the Trojans set the tone and gradually fell off for a bit. However, after losing badly in the third quarter, they came back focused and ready to take over the game in the fourth quarter. Even in moments when things started to look good in favor of Penn State, they didn’t fold. USC had a chip on their shoulder and a story to be told. This was the most exciting, nerve-racking and an adrenaline filled game we’ve seen from USC yet. In many ways, it seems like the team and the program needed all of these tests. They needed to be faced with a few disappointments to rebirth into the powerhouse we’ve all grown to know. Most importantly, they needed to know what it truly meant to fight on, again.
This wasn’t just the game of the year. History lies here. It’s been a long time coming and the old chains hindering change have been broken. Sam Darnold was the key to putting USC back into the national spotlight, but the whole team took control of their circumstances. The other night, we saw togetherness as one. There wasn't one player who outshined the next, and there wasn’t one player who played harder than the next guy. Every second of this game contained grit, passion, and heart. 
An impact of a team begins with the quality of a coach and Clay Helton is the mirror of his production. Helton embodies class, persistence and all things positive for USC. The team that you saw play Monday night was a reflection of that. As it turns out, bringing Clay Helton on board was a wise choice. This season was the perfect example of that. Many thought he should be fired or that USC needed a “real” head coach. All awhile, the process was only building the characteristics of the team. Just like any coach he was learning and he worked out those kinks and were capable of getting into their groove— and the rest was history, literally. However, each of us can take something from the Trojans story. You simply can’t rush the results. So many were worried about how USC looked on the outside and immediately wanted gratifying results, while Clay was focused on what lied within, which ultimately made the most noise in the end. 

Needless to say, USC had a great game to end the season and Penn State was a great opponent that had no problem challenging the Trojans. This will be remembered as one of the Rose Bowl’s greatest games played. With millions watching, it is safe to say that both teams deserved to be in a real college playoff. Hopefully, the result from Monday night's game will pave the way in considering an expansion of the playoffs past four teams. However, with this win, hope among the cardinal and gold was restored. Excitement for next season is anticipated and a rough start turned into sweet victory. As for Sam Darnold, he’ll only get better with time. Stay tuned for the next three years, if he stays that long. The dynasty has been reborn. 

Linqup 2.0


Some months back, I wrote an article that touched on a new app that was emerging called Linqup. In case you missed it, I expressed how I believed Linqup would be the next big app for millennials (which can be found here). With any great idea comes many audits, tweaks, and a refreshed view. For founder and CEO, Xavier Boyd, it was about pressing the envelope to have his startup become what it should be and have it done his way. 

Over the course of planning, Xavier has added and subtracted many for the project. In order for his vision to come to life, it was important that he sharpen with like minded individuals. Although the first version did not go as planned due to novice behavior and a scattered crowd, Xavier was able to use that as motivation as he began to rebuild, connect, and parallel a team to relaunch his vision. Back in October, Xavier Boyd attended the Forbes 30 Under 30 summit which had the biggest influence on his road to relaunch. "There were so many like-minded individuals and a lot of positive feedback and information man, it was crazy; in a good way," he explains. "Serendipity and making people believe in your product were the two biggest standouts. I never thought an idea from my brain would have had me in those moments that I shared in Boston."  Xavier shared. 

If you have some unfamiliarity with Forbes 30 under 30, it's a set of lists annually issued by Forbes magazine where they recognize young entrepreneurs, creatives, game changers, movers, and makers all under thirty. There are about twenty different fields, accumulating a good six hundred nominees. The list is never repeated and categories range from finance, art, sports, consumer tech, science and much more. 

The summit gave Xavier, as well as friend Justin, a chance to see successful people who were once in their position speaking, which ultimately was all of the extra motivation Xavier needed. Justin is a close friend that now works very closely with Xavier in Houston, Steve with HBCU Confessions, and the Populace Partners in Atlanta who play a huge role in developing the project. Xavier doesn't like too much spotlight on himself, he would rather give credit to the team. He also explains that everything that he is doing is bigger than him, and likes to reassure that it's not just about Xavier. "Without those guys, Linqup would not be here. I just appreciate their loyalty, honesty, and believing." he genuinely expressed. With his humble and hardworking characteristics, Boyd is on the verge of releasing the next level of event hosting that can pave the way for a new age of marketing. 

For those who need a slight recap of what Linqup has to offer, let's dig in. Linqup allows you to have instant access to all of your social needs in accommodation to your personal preferences. You can find the latest events in your area from a variety of categories no matter where you are. Linqup caters to whatever you may need. 

The new and improved Linqup app is anticipated to be relaunched and available in the App Store by early February. If there are any general questions or inquiries you may have on behalf of the app, Xavier Boyd can be contacted via Twitter. His handle is @_xbtaughtyou.

Linqup is the app to download in early February.

© Ashley Avenu. john 15:5 .