Skip to main content
Life is busier than it’s been in a year, at least. I find myself thinking its either a good thing or a real tough thing. So, today, I land at bittersweet. It’s both personal (family) and professional (promotion #3 is coming this week! Title TBD.). [Update: I’ve since gone freelance to stay closely aligned with my chosen life’s work <3]
I’m realizing how important it is to take care of the mind and body through this. How I must honor what allows me to keep on truckin’ for myself and those around me.
And I’m witnessing my flow of thoughts, during this chaotic time. Thoughts that tell me I’m falling for busy work again, allowing them to feel like my world – my purpose; others’ dreams.. Not my own.
I see I haven’t written in about a month. This tells me my priorities are MIA – my bucket list is amiss! I also see within myself a sense of procrastination creeping in, the longer I don’t write. Unexpressed thoughts become louder, more powerful than my written. The bully preventing my ideal life’s work in the making. That’s gotta stop.
I‘d like to imagine what life, and the world around me, might be like if this place had 10-15yrs of thoughts, goals, knowledge. And as I learned it, wisdom, a community of readers.. What ever it is I do imagine, I know life could be so much more than I imagine. And that ought to be at the forefront of my mind through these first handful of months.
And I should write goals, milestones, work towards a real plan. It’s best as I‘m writing this blog, unsure still of what it’s meant to house. Obviously, more freewrite for now 😉

Progress Check-In

Here’s a check-in over the last month or so, though. I’m tapping into more conservation communities over Twitter. I’ve signed up for newsletters from conservation careers. Also through other similar places, too. I’m taking good care of the wildlife around here. The deer family is still going strong, and eating all the apples we toss over. Critters are being fed, water left out (with a ramp within, so no one drowns – very important tip. I did save a drowning butterfly the other day.. I sat with it in the sun as it’s wings dried and it could fly away.) And I’m pushing sustainable building materials and interior finishes in my work – hard. I’m doing so in the capacity and as a designer, director, process owner and a core executive leader. All levels of the business are feeling the optimism, purpose and inspiration to take initiative now. And folks are receiving/resonating with the message. It validates my personal mission in a refreshing way.
All this tells me is that I need to begin altering my narrative – the story I tell myself – about who I am and what I’m capable of. This is the biggest hurdle I’ll tackle, I’m sure. But once I do, it‘ll unleash something powerful: Momentum. The kind that only builds and builds.
During this same tackling, I will need to ensure that momentum positions towards my goals. The longterm goals.
Because once we free power and momentum, we need to move with care. It can’t be mistakenly given to busy work, or rest, or the influence of others. It needs drive, a guiding light.
So I need to get it together in prep of it for more good moves to come!

Book Haul

That reminds me: I bought a bundle of books this weekend! Goodness, education stipends are the best. Especially for a lifelong book nerd. Yes, my favorite place to spend time alone is Barnes & Noble.. Here’s my list:
1. Bossed Up: A Grown Woman’s Guide to Getting Your Sh*t Together – Emilie Aries It spoke to me. A powerhouse in the making cannot resist such a title!
2. 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School – Matthew Frederick. I first saw this book in the home office (before we grew the company) of my old boss. Then he’d place it in my office, each time we had a new one.. I looked up to him, still do. He taught me more than I realized at the time. I am completely grateful for knowing him, and this book will remind me of all those lessons to now teach others.
3. How to Communicate Effectively with Anyone, Anywhere – Dan Bullock. Because I’m always triggered to improve my communication skills, especially verbally. It’s a personal ‘weakness’ I’m trying to improve on. To meet my standards and to attain the same confidence as my role models.
4. Essential Manager’s Book – DK. Its become a quick favorite as its a 1-2pg a day reads. Concise info, actionable measures throughout, and oh so visual.
5. Skills for Career Success: Maximizing Your Potential at Work – 600+ Ways to Keep Your Career on Track – Elaine Biech. Ugh, so hefty of a book and the pages almost feel like a workbook. I imagine this is a book my mom would have picked up, so I’m very excited (and intimidated). But, I’m realizing the women in my bloodline have power within them, and I’m starting to come to terms with that..
6. Chromatopia: An Illustrated History of Colour – David Coles. So inspiring to flip through this book, understand the raw colors. And to grasp a different perspective of design.
7. Wellness by Design : A Room-By-Room Guide – Jamie Gold. Health, sustainability and happiness is at the forefront of our business values. And so, this one had to make this list. For my own wellbeing, to best show up at work ready to move mountains.
8. The Interior Design Handbook – Frida Ramstedt. If I’m working on another promotion, I’ll need some quick reference books to continue improving our design standards!
9. The New Design Rules: How to Decorate & Renovate, from Start to Finish – Emily Henderson. Breaking the rules is just one step I’m taking to convert design towards sustainable solutions. This one was a must to get there.
10. Buildher – Kibashini Hannon & Rebeka Morgan. A book I hope will grow into a favorite for years. Helpful as I’m in the design/build industry!
And oh yes, 2.5hrs in the store, you betchya I took photos of other covers so I can find cheaper ebooks or audio books of them! This list of books were the high priority physical copies I knew would be more helpful to own. 🙂 The others will be perfect for reading during the commute, in bed or listening during a workout. (Audio books are the reward to lure me into that garage for exercise..or outside for a run!). Mostly, the others are in regards to business or conservation. So, the insights from this list, and my cover-photos soon to come, will make it into this blog. I still need to make time to read the current books on the market which tie in sustainability and design, to boot. For all things, stay tuned. I’m learning for the both of us <3

With a BFA in Interior Architecture with 10+ years of experience, working with large architecture firms and as Head of Design within design/build companies, Ashley now narrows her focus towards alternative dwellings, adaptive reuse, natural buildings and a study of materials with a hyper-sustainable lifestyle. This is all to ensure homes are in balance with our natural surroundings and to further the fight against habitat loss for wildlife, because one home no longer needs to be sacrificed for another. She asks us all to, ‘Adopt the Alternative.’

Leave a Reply