Me being me: An introduction

I named this blog "Name's Not Ashley" because for the first 23 years of my life, people constantly called me Ashley on accident {my name is actually Natalie Ashcroft}. During those years I also struggled a lot with doubts about my intelligence, personality, and appearance. In order to play it safe, I perpetually acted and dressed in a way that I thought would avoid the judgment of others by never attracting attention. Without realizing it, I constructed a facade of a serious, reserved, straight lines, straight hair, play-by-the-rules girl - an imagined Ashley to my very real Natalie. In the past two years, I've graduated from college, married my best friend, moved to San Francisco, and established a life that I absolutely love. I'm starting this blog in order to share what I know about being a happy, healthy, twentysomething, what I've learned so far about dressing well, eating well, and being well - how I'm using all these things to stop being Ashley and start being Natalie.

I'm expecting this blog to be a learning experience - both in what it pushes me to do clothes-wise, food-wise, and exercise-wise as well as what the interactions with you, my readers, will bring. If you think there's a better way for me to wear something, cook something, or lift something, let me know! Which brings me to what I hope to write about...

First of all, clothes. My "fashion" philosophy is this: dress in a way that makes you feel powerful. I am by no means a fashionista. I love good clothes, but the word "fashion" actually freaks me out a bit. I feel powerful when what I'm wearing is simple, fits well, and highlights my body in a way that I think is flattering. I don't jump on any trend. I don't generally spend more than $200 on any article of clothing. And comfort is extremely important to me. I won't be bringing you cutting-edge styles, but I will strive to show you what kind of dress can make you feel comfortable in your own skin.

Second, food. I probably won't be your average girl blogger on this front. I like baking, but I love cooking up big, hearty meals that you can enjoy with a big family. So expect Texas-style, rib-stickin' meals to be highlighted here, as well as some of my forays into fine dining here in SF.

Finally, fitness. Exercise, particularly weight training, has been an integral part of my life for a few years now. However, recent experiences with girlfriends have shown me that on average, girls are woefully underprepared to deal with the weight room. No one ever teaches us 1) the importance of resistance training and 2) how to do it. Weight training can have a tremendous impact on your overall well-being, from helping you burn more calories to strengthening your skeleton to elongating your life. I'm going to do my best to share what I've learned about incorporating weights into your workout in a simple, instructive way.

I hope all of this sounds interesting to you. If it does, read on! And please always feel free to send me notes at namesnotashley@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you.

Happy reading!