Happy New Year! Another year in the books and I am overall happy with 2018, but know there are some things I want to improve and grow in 2019. Here is my year in review.


Describe 2018 in three words:

Looking over last year’s three words and thinking about this year’s three words, I wish that I had read through my year in review mid-year. I need to remember and check in with myself every quarter of 2019.

1. Dignity

Dignity is a word I want to lead with and it happened a couple times this year. In May, I decided that I was going to take care of myself. I started working out and eating right with a trainer and a nutritionist. In 11 weeks, I dropped 50 pounds. It was not easy, but I was so proud of myself.

Last year, I wrote about how a friend of mine was a huge distraction and knocked me off my goals. That person continued to drain me throughout 2018, until the first week of December.

After a huge rain storm, I went to the shop I was sharing with this friend, I found my desk, that cost me $400 to build, sitting in a giant puddle of water. I called him and our conversation consisted of him telling me that my ruined desk “wasn’t his problem” and “oh well,” after I had asked him numerous times to help me move it to my house and him promising to fix the roof.

I decided that two years of my life was enough time of giving and not receiving anything in return was enough. I cut ties with this person and value myself and my time a lot more.


Last year I said I would protect my time and energy and I did not do that. I let myself be walked over and I gave and gave until I was empty. In 2019, I will not allow anyone to be in my life that does that to me. There is no in-moderation, you’re either in and have a balanced friendship or youre out.

2. Realization

In 2017, I got laid off from my agency because they lost business, and in 2018, it happened again. I got laid off from my government job because the contract didn’t get renewed. It’s really hard to continuously find new jobs and then to have to explain to them what happened.

As I continued to try and find a new job and tried to get all my business off the ground, I realized I was trying too hard to start too many businesses. I was spreading myself too thin and thus not accomplishing anything.

In 2019

This year I will cut my focus down to only Geooorge and Weigh Ankor. I realized that working on my gold leaf was the most important thing for me. The other was getting myself healthy. Gold and Iron! That’s the theme for 2019. Gold leafing and pumping iron. 😀 I thought it was cool.

3. Change

Change was still a big word for me in 2018. My dad being gone is still something that is hard for me and all my mom talks about is how miserable she is here. I know she needs to move on with her life, but I feel like I’m being left behind as well. As the year has progressed, I realize that I’m not being left behind, I just need to find my own people. She’ll always be my mom and we love each other, but our life paths are starting to separate.

As hard as that is to accept, it’s not a bad thing. It’s just something I’m going to have to accept and get used to. There could be something on my new life path that I never could have dreamed of if I stayed on the old path.

Also, working out an eating right has severely changed my life. Losing the weight shifts the way people think about you and behave to you. I lost my way a bit when I lost my job in September, but I am back on track as the new year begins.


I am going to focus on me. Do what I want to do and become the person I always wanted to become. I know that isn’t possible in one year alone, but it’s a good start.

What, or who, are you most thankful for?

I am thankful for a few things this year.

1. My Family (Mom and Dogs)

I am thankful for my mom, a lot. Even though she’s moving on with her life, she does her best to be there for me. She’s not perfect, but she loves me and does what she can for me.

My dogs are my fur babies. They love on me every day and snuggle with me if I’m sick, sad or just have had a long day. I love that about them. Charlie has settled into the family really well. He thinks he owns every rawhide bone and loves to sleep like a human. Leroy is another year older and he has the most rank breathe possible, but he is my ride or die. He knows me better than anyone and is always at my side.

2. My Job

I started a new job in October of this year and am incredibly thankful these people decided to take a chance on me. After six rounds of interviews, I finally got a job offer.

In a short two months, I feel like I am trusted and respected. I feel like I might have found a work home even though my job is part-time. The part-time also allows me to come in at a certain time so I can get my workout in at a normal time in the morning.

What new things did you discover about yourself?

Even though this didn’t happen until the beginning of December, I really discovered that I’m worth it. I worth everything. I am the only one that can take care of myself. People that don’t value you will take advantage of you, it is your responsibility to guard your time and energy. You need to cut people out if they can’t respect you.

One achievement you most proud of:

I am really proud of myself for taking classes to advance my craft. I took gold and sign painting classes. I’m glad I decided to spend the money for more gold classes in 2019. If this is something I really want to pursue, I have to invest in learning and practicing. I also took a screepritning class and am learning how to make fonts.

The best news you received:

The best news I received was when my new job called and offered me the position. I was down in Tucson helping to paint murals on a new hotel that opened up down there and I got the call they were offering me the position. I had the biggest grin on my face and was incredibly excited.

The most important lesson you learned:

I have to take care of myself because no one else can do it for me. While I loved helping family members and friends, it came at the expense of my own health and happiness. I need to make sure I am taking care of myself.

How did your relationship with your family evolve?

This fucking question is one that I dread answering but I want to document this because this is not appropriate behavior and I’m super disappointed in my family. I find myself separating from my family more because since my dad has passed away, everyone has literally gone fucking nuts.

Christmas this year was canceled by my grandparents because my mother and my grandfather (dad’s dad) got in an argument a few days before Christmas in which my mother refused to go to dinner and so my grandparents canceled Christmas. The shitty thing, my grandparents had all the food my mother had bought. So my mom and I ended up splitting a Panera salad my mom had in the fridge from the day before, then I spent the rest of the day by myself. Super shitty. The worst Christmas ever.

I am not okay with this behavior. I was raised to set aside issues on the holidays and come together with family because family is all you’ve got at the end of the day.

What book or movie affected your life in a profound way?

This year I moved away from watching a lot of TV and movies and tried to really dive into more books that will help me become a better person. When I started working out I started listening to a lot of Audible books while I was on the treadmill.


I feel like this movie is the evolution from last year’s Ever After. Tangled is a movie where Rapunzel ventures out on her own and has to grow up, meet new people and conquer adversity. This is pretty much my life in a nutshell.

Get the movie here »

The 12-Week Year

This book is something I’ve been talking to my friends about for the entire year. It’s a self-help strategy book that teaches you to break down your goals into consumable bite-size pieces. It’s been something that has helped me be a bit more organized and focused.

Get the book here »

You Are A BadAss & You Are A BadAss At Making Money

These two books were awesome to listen to because it really focused on how okay it is to be you and be awesome. It’s something in this society that you sometimes don’t feel that you deserve or that people might look at you judgy, or whatever. It talks about how you as a human have the right to make good money. I highly recommend these books to EVERY. ONE.

Get You Are A BadAss here »
Get You Are A BadAss At Making Money here »

What little things did you most enjoy your daily life?

Taking care of myself this year really brought me joy. I loved the way I felt, I loved the way I fit into clothing that I purchased but thought I would never fit into it.

  • Working out
  • Eating healthy food and creating different recipes
  • Learning to gold leaf

What did you think about more than anything else?

I spend most days thinking about being healthy and gold gilding. Those were the things I really love thinking about. All the other things I tried to start, I just felt like I had to do them. Which in turn kind of made my life a bit miserable. I don’t like doing hobbies just because I think others will like it or that I can make a business out of it.

What new habits did you cultivate?

Working out with Ashley is the one habit I am so incredibly proud of. I really like the gym, I like the feeling I feel when I’m done. I like being around other people who are trying to make themselves better.

My nutrition is another habit that I was able to build in 2018. Meeting my nutritionist was something I will never forget and I am so grateful for. I really want to make him proud.

What advice would you give your early-2018 self if you could?

If I could tell my early 2018 Ashley something it would be to not allow my friend to take advantage of me. Not to sit on the phone with him listening to his problems and allowing him to consume all my time. It will never end and it’s not worth it.

Did any parts of your self or your life do a 180 this year?

My health took a 180 losing 50 pounds and it was awesome. Then I lost my job and I lost my way a bit. I gained some of my weight back while I was trying to find a new job. I ate poorly and couldn’t waste gas driving to the gym. As I lost my footing and my direction, I thought that I needed someone to help me get back to feeling motivated and determined. My trainer told me that regardless of what it is, things are going to happen to us in life and we have to find it in ourselves to get up and keep going. No one can do that but yourself. Those words really impacted me and slowly started to sink in. It took me three months to finally get myself to where I needed to be mentally to want to get back in the gym, and eating right.

What had the biggest positive impact on your life this year?

Definitely getting on the road to getting healthy. With all of it’s ups and downs it’s something that made me feel strong and worthy.

What was your most frequent mental state?

I felt amazing when I was working out and eating right. I was happy, positive and motivated. When I was talking with my friend who drug me down, I was exhausted and drained.

Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life?

There were a few things I did this year for the first time!

  • I took my first gold gilding class
  • Visited Tombstone
  • Hiked through the Kartchner Caverns
  • Hiked the Yarnell Hotshot Trail
  • Took a Pink Jeep Tour

What was your favorite moment spent with friends?

This year we went camping in Cottonwood for my birthday. They decorated the cabins and I had a unicorn cake. It was really fun. We didn’t really do much but we just hung out and had a good time.

What major goal did you lay the foundations for this year?

I wanted to protect my time and energy in 2018, but I didn’t set proper foundations to protect myself. I allowed myself to be taken advantage of.

Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary?

When I started working out I was worried about what people would think about me. People don’t really pay attention to other people when they work out. Realizing this allowed me to workout a bit harder. I still worry about the bottom of my stomach showing when I workout.

What one experience would you choose to repeat if you could?

In 2018, I would like to again experience the feeling I felt when I stepped on the scale an realized I had hit my 50-pound weight loss. I can’t wait to hit 100 pounds gone, and 150 pounds gone.

How did your overall outlook on life evolve?

My outlook on life evolved because I realized that I need to do things that make me healthy and happy. I need to simplify my life. That is not easy, but it’s something I need to do.

What was the biggest problem you solved?

The biggest problem I solved was cutting dead weight loose. If you have friends that are constantly draining you and not doing things to help themselves. Cut. Them. Loose. Just like you, they have to take the steps in their own lives to better themselves. You can’t do it for them.

What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever?

I purchased a ticket to the gold gilding workshop. That definitely had to be one of my favorite experiences of the year.

What one thing would you do differently and why?

I would not spend so much time talking with the friend that drained me. I would have cut the cord a long time ago.

What do you deserve a pat on the back for?

I fucking hustled my ass to get healthy.


What do you want the overarching theme for your 2019 to be?

Gold & Iron

As I began to simplify all the things I’m trying to do, I realized that I loved my gold work and spending time getting healthy. Laying gold and pumping iron is all I want to focus on in the new year. Gold and Iron. That’s it.

As I was searching for a graphic that could represent my theme for the year I came across a bunch of things that talked about Gold and Iron.

  • Present: San Francisco’s motto is “Gold in Peace, Iron in War”
    • From what I can find, this motto was developed during the Spanish war when San Francisco was the place most shipped docked in. The meaning of gold in peace is soft or friendly in times of peace but iron, or hard, in times of war. I could be wrong but that’s what I got out of it.
  • 1916: Germany used the saying Gold zerschlägt Eisen (Gold shatters Iron)
    • Germany was using propaganda posters to persuade people to turn in their gold jewelry to help fund the first World War efforts. While America was against Germany in the first world war, I find this fascinating because I work in advertising and they used these two elements based on their legendary qualities in historical references. In the propaganda poster, a gold hammer shatters the iron chains of war freeing the golden figure of peace. The hammer is a reference to Thor’s hammer that was used for protection and blessing.
  • 1813: France and Germany started using iron as a symbol of sacrifice
    • In France, Iron was used during the Wars of Liberation in 1813. King Friedrich Wilheim III collaborated with an architect to design the Iron Cross modeled after the Teutonic order of the knights that were founded in 1198. They chose Iron because of its link to German mythology (Thor) and a symbolic sacrifice for the Fatherland.
    • The same year in Germany, the crown urged citizens to trade in their gold jewelry for iron jewelry to liberate Germany from the French. The iron jewelry came with an inscription stating, Gold gab ich für Eisen 1813 (I gave gold for iron 1813). It became popular to wear iron jewelry instead of gold because it showed your patriotic sacrifice.
The information in bullets 2 and 3 above come from World War I in 40 Posters by Ann P. Linder

The information in the bullet might be super random but I find it SO interesting that as I was simplifying my life and my focus to these two things and telling my friends about them today, there are so many historic meanings over hundreds of years. My friends gave me weird looks, but after doing just this small amount of research I am so sure that Gold and Iron as a theme for 2019 is perfect.

Pumping iron relates to my lifting weights and getting healthy, anchors are made of iron. Weigh Ankor means to lift the anchor and move forward. So as I’m pumping iron, I’m lifting the iron anchor to lose the weight and move my life forward. #boom #everythinghasmeaning

What do you want to see, discover, explore?

I won an adventure bucket while I was at a fundraiser for the lady that does my massages and facials. In the bucket are four adventures I would like to complete in 2019. They are:

  • Skydiving
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Escape the Room
  • Ziplining Over Wild Animals

Who do you want to spend more time in 2019?

I want to spend more time with my friends. I want to go with them to explore more things. I want to get out more and meet more people.

I want to take my dogs places too. Even if it’s just to the park more.

What skills do you want to learn, improve or master?

  • I want to improve my gold gilding
  • I want to get this weight off me

Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen?

I want to develop more mental strength. I find my mind giving up in the gym before my body does and I feel I could accomplish so much more if I would just get my mind to push myself a little harder.

What do you want your everyday life to be like?

I still want to wake up at 4am. I’m not sure if this is something I will ever get myself to do. I really want to get shit moving and accomplished in the morning before I go into the gym or the office.

I think I am going to start the first quarter of 2019 just getting up at 7 am. Then, second quarter, move the time to 6 am, third quarter 5 am and then finish up the fourth quarter at 4 am. Just slowly move shit back.

After getting up:

  • Water and Treadmill
  • Breakfast
  • Morning Routine
  • Workout with Trainer
  • Protein Powder
  • Lunch
  • Protein Powder
  • Treadmill
  • Dinner
  • Night Routine
  • Bed

Which habits do you want to change, cultivate or get rid of?

  • I would like to figure out a process that helps me work through life when it gets hard so I don’t fall off the wagon.
  • I would like to stay on a routine of taking vitamins.
  • I would like to stop saying yes to things I really don’t want to do.

What do you want to achieve career-wise?

I want to build a strong department that feels empowered to play and experiment to develop ideas that will help propel our company forward. I want our agency to come out of nowhere and I want people to be like whoa. Where did they come from?

How do you want to remember the year 2018 when you look back on it 20 years from now?

When I look back on 2019 in 2039, I want it to be the year I hit my 150-pound weight loss. I want it to be the year I felt comfortable in my own skin. I want it to be the year people started following my journey of gold gilding.

What is your number one goal for 2019?

Gold & Iron baby!!