I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well. -Thoreau
Hi, I’m Ashley. Wandering artist. Collector of stories. Historian of stuff.
A little bit about me: I’m almost 6 feet tall. I cut off all my bangs. I love to read memoirs. I love to scavenge. I love to paint. I love to make stuff. I love to explore. I love chickens and rescuing dogs. I’m a cancer survivor.
First of all, don’t be fooled by all pretty pictures you see on my blog….my life is far from perfect. I struggled with a lot of things in my 20s. I had severe anxiety and panic attacks. I struggled with ADHD and social anxiety for almost 20+ years. I’ve lived through years of eating disorders and alcohol abuse. It took me a long time to unlearn a lot of things. Oh, and I’ve had cancer…and I’ve navigated the world of infertility. But I wouldn’t change a thing……I know everyone says that…but it’s true: anyone who is the least bit interesting has a past. I’m not saying I’m interesting….but I do have a story to tell.
The one big turning point for me in my life is when I learned to embrace “the dark side”…..and I did that through journaling. It became a new addiction. I would be on a corporate jet with CEOs of billion dollar companies and I had no problem pulling out my journal and crayons to write down a quote or something I wanted to remember. (yes CRAYONS) I glued bits and pieces of my life into notebooks trying to sort things out and figure out who I was. I turned sadness, anxiety, insecurity, addiction and anger into a creative process. I collected questions, random facts, quotes, people, words, receipts, websites, photos and drawings. I didn’t write in order. I skipped pages. If I didn’t feel like writing I would just draw a map of where I was or write down what I had for lunch.
I slowly became less anxious, I stopped worrying about what other people thought about me. I spoke up and welcomed the consequences. I became more compassionate and I sought out people that were real and interesting. I cut ties with people who were toxic. I became obsessed with memoirs and movies and when I connected with something in them, I wrote it down. I read all of Sylvia Plath’s journals and underlined so much I might as well have underlined every word. I met Johnny Cash in a dream.
Have I lost you yet?
Anyway, sometimes the most random of stories just come pouring out…and so Lil Blue Boo has slowly become a random compilation of life. I spent 6 years in a lucrative investment banking job, getting my MBA in between, and I quit on a whim to pursue a more simple life as a “maker.” I love reading odd news, observing strangers, and being imperfect.
In 2011, my father died unexpectedly on a plane. A few months later I had what I thought was a miscarriage but it turned out to be cancer. I’m still here. The turning point from those events is that I now write more.
In 2014, my family and I sold everything we own and moved across the country to Bryson City, NC to live at a 1950’s motor inn. We decided to stick around and are now renovating The House on Hospital Hill and an old train depot that I had moved 50 miles on a whim. It’s small town USA, we don’t even have a Walmart or a Target. It’s my kind of place and right smack in the middle of one of the most beautiful places on earth: The Great Smoky Mountains.
<—– This is Brett. We’ve been married for 17 years and together for 22. He has more patience than anyone I’ve ever met. He’s always onboard for my random detours. He’s given me 93.2345% of our home to devote to my painting, journaling and projects. All our animals like him the best, he doesn’t like when I cook brussel sprouts, and he loves woodworking. He’s a partner in Bryson City Outdoors…recently renovating the most dilapidated building in town using primarily recycled and salvaged materials. You can read all about the renovations here!
<—– This is “Boo”….we started calling her that when she was little. She “legally” changed her name at school. She currently loves Minecraft, Legos and reading books. She loves history and stories of people. Especially Presidential Museums. She loves to paint masterpieces (watch her in action here) and cries at movie scores. She bravely shaved my head when I was losing my hair. A few years ago her dream was to see the Statue of Liberty and visit the Holocaust Museum…she had her chance recently. She is my witness-in-training.
Thanks so much for reading!
P.S. Make sure to sign up for my “sometimes” weekly letter. (Disclaimer: I rarely send it out weekly…more like once in a blue moon.) And your info is safe with me…..never shared with anyone else…..promise. I don’t spam.
P.O. Box 910
Bryson City, NC 28713
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