As I was struggling to “go up the hill” in spin class this week at peak resistance, the instructor said something that struck me. TRANSFORMATION COMES AT A HIGH COST. She said that THREE times. And at one point, when I was about to just STOP, it was like she heard my inner voice and said, DO NOT GIVE UP BEFORE THE MIRACLE HAPPENS. You are almost at the top of the mountain. You are almost THERE. Don’t stop now. What is it that you NEED? What is it that you are PROTECTING? What are you SAVING? It’s up there at the top. GO GET IT.

The thing about transforming ourselves is this: something has to go. You leave part of your “old life” behind. There’s no way around this.

Now, none of this is new information. We’ve all read the inspiring memes a thousand times. But timing is everything, as they say. I am going through an uphill battle right now that doesn’t seem to have an end in sight most days. It’s financially and emotionally exhausting. But TRANSFORMATION COMES AT A HIGH COST. I am making some of the biggest changes of my life. As my preacher Rick Warren reminds us often, focus on the PURPOSE, not the problem. If I focus on the problem and the pain and my “old life,” it seems insurmountable. I feel punched in the gut. Small. Defeated and angry. The anxiety and fear that develops is debilitating, paralyzing and draining. If I focus on the purpose, that pain turns to productive power. And I have energy to pursue the new life I believe God has planned.

And as all this was happening in my head with sweat beating down me, I felt this cathartic rush of emotion. Like I was going to cry in spin class. Ha! Just when I couldn’t push the pedal any longer, the resistance weakened and we were going “downhill.” We reached the peak, caught our breath and we were moving forward at a fast pace. 


Not to make this more profound than it is, but IS KINDA IS! Such a metaphor for God pushing us to our full potential in life. TRANSFORMATION COMES AT A HIGH COST. I’m learning more and more about you all every time I post and you comment. Some of you are dealing with infertility, or being a new mother, or paying off debt, dealing with major health issues, losing loved ones, moving, marriage issues…. Whatever your uphill battle is today that’s taking away your power and feels debilitating, focus on the purpose one pedal push at a time. Stay focused on ONE TASK at a time. And know you are not alone. 

Would love to hear your thoughts- as always- in comments below. Tonight I have set aside time to go through comments on the last few posts!



ps- workout buddies that push you and hold you accountable are the best! Thank you @iamwillaford.

Verses and quotes I love that relate to this topic. Hope they inspire!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)


“Write it on your heart

that every day is the best day in the year.

He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day

who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

Finish every day and be done with it.

You have done what you could.

Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.

Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;

begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit

to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

This new day is too dear,

with its hopes and invitations,

to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”

ps- thank you, Mary, for reminding me of this one.

How to get Happy with God given gifts


I just got home from a workout and am feeling inspired, so I thought I’d put my fingers to the keys. I promised myself next time I felt motivated to share something with y’all, I’d just write it out as soon as I could.

It’s no secret my world is changing. ICYMI you can see a bit of it here and here, etc. I’ve let worry and fear seep into my being lately. I believe in prayer. I believe that God doesn’t want us to worry. And I don’t want to, either. But I am human. Only human. And right now, life has been depleting me.

I ran on adrenaline for so long to get me through a few significant phases. But the “phases” are still coming. Court dates, hearings, money, lawyers, etc. I AM WORRIED, EXHAUSTED AND DEPLETED. My adrenaline is waining. Some of you have commented on my posts. It’s ok. It makes sense.

My girlfriends Kaley, Bri, Ali and Willa have been encouraging me to sculpt out time to workout. And I did. Then I would feel guilty. I have so much to do right now, it felt selfish. But, last weekend, I was with Willa and she really saw it. She saw the depletion. So, she reminded me of something:

God gave us a gift with endorphins. Working our bodies (and minds) to the point of releasing our endorphins is a GIFT. Better than medicine. If you are healthy enough to get out and walk or move or spin or sculpt, DO IT. I know not everyone is, so that in and of itself is a gift. 20 minutes can change your day! I love this article experiment reported in SELF magazine:

All she knows is that she's overwhelmed. So at lunch, she heads to the gym and hops onto the elliptical. As her heart begins to pound, levels of the feel-good neurochemicals serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine rise in her body. So does brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a substance that may protect her brain from emotional disorders and repair damage that stress and depression cause. At the same time, opiate-like endorphins and endocannabinoids (similar to the other kind of cannabis) flood her system, leading to a sense of well-being. Read full article here.

For years, I’ve been an advocate of healthy habits: drinking water, working out (even if it meant jumping jacks and squats in my bedroom), sweating out the bad and putting in the good with your vitamins and supplements. But lately, I let life get the best of me. And Willa reminded me that God gives us ways to be proactive! Keep our minds sharp and our bodies flexible and give us energy. I need energy.

Today was everything for me. I poured out sweat and felt like I left the bad parts of me on my yoga mat. And my God given natural endorphins replaced the old with new energy.

I hope YOU are in an amazing spot in life already (then encourage us with a comment!), but if you are more in my shoes than you’d like to admit…. let’s encourage each other to do what we can. If it’s a walk or run, or yoga—— goooooo! Do it outside for freeeeee. If all you can do today is stand up and stretch…do it. Even for 20 minutes and get happy.

Please. Do it. You will feel better. You will FILL UP. And God can use you for your purpose.

Wicked Cushions


I didn't even have to come up with a cleaver title because the brand name says it all. Wicked Cushions! Replace the existing cushions on your headset with upgrades, adding to the life of your headset.

Here is our story: 

Joel is a computer guy. That's how he makes his living. Many times he needs to focus and listen, so a headset is everything. (Especially when traveling). He needs a very comfortable, "luxe" if you will, headset. He already owned a very nice set of Bose headphones. But they were older and seemed like they needed tossing. 


So, for father's day, I was about to invest. I say invest because these things are not cheap. I was about to purchase this set off amazon. As Joel and I like to multitask (for better or worse), we often find ourselves watching a show and on our computers simultaneously. I think surfing reddit, amazon, etc. is therapeutic to him like sifting through home decor on pinterest and instagram are to me! Somewhere he stumbled on wicked cushions and didn't even tell me. He got caught up in the amazing reviews and figured this might be his answer to needing a new headset. He was right. I wish I caught him on video the night his package arrived and he replaced his cushions. It was so simple and he was like a little boy with a choo-choo train on Christmas. So thrilled his headset was like new. The best part? It was less than $20!

Needless to say, I opted for a different father's day gift. With all the money we saved, I got him a back massager he had seen on...wait for it... reddit. Anyhow, I'm upgrading and extending the life of my own headset with their cute floral pattern.  I was so pleased, I reached out to the brand to give them our feedback and, duh--- had to share with y'all, too. Now, we're "friends" and they were cool enough to want to gift two readers with any choice from their website!


So, follow both @ashleyaubra and @wickedcushions. Woo-hoo! You're entered. For more entries, leave a comment here or on social. We'll be checking (and answering) all my usual social channels. I'm telling you, if you have thought about upgrading your cushions or your headset (I am known for running/walking with mine, so **gross** the cushions can get sweaty and wear out)- don't delay. Just do it. Oh, and Joel says, "You're welcome." lol.

Winners will be announced July 5th! Winner picks one (1) product off of

UPDATE: WE HAVE OUR WINNERS. I'll be sending out DMs to Charleen and Mary! Thank you, ladies!

S.M.A.R.T. GOALS (continued from the Soap Digest Column)

Thanks to all of you that sent DMs and emails about the Digest article. I love that many of you related to something in the article. I really need all the help I can get, so I love learning from other people! I like the SMART intentions because they simplify my thoughts.  I get easily overwhelmed and overthink things. This model helps keep my mind on track. And I discussed a few things I learned from celebrity trainer Erin Oprea. I didn't say this in the article, but I'd like to lose 5 pounds. It's that little last bit of baby weight. I did mention is putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) and outlining some ideas here. Forgive me for going on and on about this stuff!!  


SPECIFIC. In the article, I mentioned getting up earlier everyday. 45 minutes to be exact. I want to try to get more done first thing in the day. Preferably, before the kids get up. This proves to be easier said than done because they wake up at slightly different times, especially the baby. But, my goal is to start the coffeemaker, then hit the treadmill or jump on the trampoline. This was one of the main things that Erin Oprea does that inspired me. We'll see how this goes;) So, far, not so good! ha.

MEASURABLE. For me, right now, it is drinking the water. That is a very measurable challenge that I can track throughout the day and feel accomplished no matter what. Even 4 glasses of water is better than one- or none! I do notice the more I drink, the more I seem to need. Anyone ever notice that? I'm actually going to take a break right now to go down a glass. 

My next measurable goal will be a race of some sort. Heather Tom and Katherine Kelly Lang from Bold and Beautiful are inspiring me. They set goals like this constantly. Marathons, races, charitable walks, rides, you name it!

ATTAINABLE. My disciplined girlfriend Kaley (Cuoco) will text me when she's going to yoga (usually with advance notice for me to arrange a sitter). It's so helpful to have someone hold me accountable. My other girlfriend Amy (Davidson) and I recently took the babies hiking with strollers. It was such a great workout! I was dying afterward, but secretly thrilled Amy encouraged me to do it. (I wanted to just walk flat ground!)

REALISTIC. I'm going through my closet right now giving away clothes that no longer fit me... I've held on to them thinking I might be that size again. But, it's not helpful! It's not realistic. I'd rather set goals that are realistic and feel great about achieving them, instead of constantly being reminded that I'm not where I "want" to be. It's silly, really. In the article, I mentioned being realistic about your workouts, too. I've told myself that if I can't fit in a workout/yoga, I can always do strengthening exercises ANYWHERE ANYTIME. Sit-ups, push-ups, leg lifts, jumping jacks, etc. are always a good idea. I appreciated Mary B. mentioning the Bosu Balance trainer in one of the comment sections here. It inspired me to incorporate that again. If you don't want to attend a class or go running or to the gym, it is a great way to workout at home. A Plan B (or A) that eliminated any reason for an excuse not to workout.

1. Bosu Balance Trainer  2. Personal Trampoline 3. S'well Bottle

TIME BOUND. I work better with a deadline. It's just the way I'm wired. I like to know when something needs to be completed. So, I'm setting a time-frame to achieve that 5 pound goal. Hayden turns 2 on May 24th. I feel like this is a completely realistic goal for me. And I'm putting it out there so you all will help hold me accountable!


Overall goal- fun activities to keep the kids moving and mentally stimulated. If you follow me on instagram, you may have seen Hayden "playing" soccer on instastory. I enrolled him in a class. Huck was in soccer and karate. He is deciding which one to continue. They both love being outside on their age-appropriate scooters (with helmets) or bikes. For inside, Joel got them this robot that they enjoy chasing around called Think and Learn Teach n Tag Movi

We have a basketball goal in the house that can easily slip in the garage when we don't want it inside. But, if you have the space, it's an affordable, fun way to get the family involved. (Remember playing HORSE as a kid?)

1. Basket Ball Goal 2. Think and Learn Movi 3. Trampoline

4. Bicycoo

Another variation for the "R" part of the SMART goals:

REWARD. Motivation for me to keep going? Something new and cute for workouts!

If you made it this far, thanks for reading! I was really inspired by comments you guys left on other posts about fitness goals. Feel free to chime in more here about your own progress, leave tips, etc. 


Body After Baby

I have to thank Soap Opera Digest for their latest interview where Mara Levinsky got me talking about body after baby (on stands now- with a blurb on the cover!). I haven't written much about this topic because in no way do I feel like an expert. However, I think it's good to talk about the reality of life and getting in shape after having a baby. Or the reality of what it takes to get in better shape for anyone: discipline and work. The article goes in depth about the things that I didn't expect, the struggles and the joys of postparatum. Let me know what you think!

This photoshoot was two weeks after giving birth, right before I went back to shoot GENERAL HOSPITAL. I was EXHAUSTED and emotional and elated simultaneously. 

I took long walks several times a week and kept as active as my energy level allowed during the pregnancy, trying not to gain unnecessary weight. Hayden got fairly big toward the end (I wrote this post after the baby shower, and this post was three days before I gave birth). I admit, I was lucky I initially lost some of the pounds I gained, but it started to creep back. I had to eat more to keep breastfeeding and wasn't working out enough. The struggle to get back in the same shape I was in pre-pregnancy has been real for me. I haven't done it yet, as I discuss in the article. My body looks different. One of the biggest struggles has been learning to accept myself for where I am in life today. A reader (thank you Cara Sue!) left a comment in another post about resolutions for 2017. She simply said she wanted to have "more self care." I love this because it encompasses more than just vanity; it's a whole lifestyle practice mentally, emotionally and physically. My priority now is my baby and my family. This used to sound like an excuse to me when other people said it, and it is to an extent, but it's simply the truth. Do you feel like you have time to workout? I don't want to be that person with excuses! My husband reminds me it's all about prioritizing the day, making smart choices.

So, I am trying to look at this as an opportunity to adjust to a new lifestyle! I strap the baby on and go hiking or walking. I use my Joovy jogger to jog if I'm not too tired. I have grand plans to escape to yoga, but my membership doesn't get as much use as it used to. So, I go when I can. Some days I feel like I'm running around in circles not being as productive as I'd like. I have to let my preconceived expectations of the day go as I step over full laundry baskets and Huck's toys. I have a feeling some of you can relate?  

I try to stay well so I have energy by implementing super simple tips I learned from Dr. Oz! I have to say, my whole household has been sick, but I have not! I still take Proglucamune, the immunity supplement from Usana.  I promised myself I would drink two glasses of water with my supplements every morning. I'm proud I have made that a habit. My mom recently reminded me of a tip we both learned from Ronn Moss (from BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL) years ago... hot water with lemon first thing every morning to detoxify the body. I remember him drinking it during the day on set, too. He swears by this habit. Healthy (and free) habits are the best! 

In order to make progress for tomorrow, I have to do something different today. Doing the same thing every day and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. So, I am making a list of easy, healthy habits to incorporate change in my life as part of my new year's resolutions. I'm going to force myself to try them--- wanna do it with me? Leave a comment of things you'd like to try. Drink more water? Vitamins? Less soda? Less sugar. Take more steps (literally walk more)? I'm thinking I'd like to start one habit at a time and build from there. 

In the meantime, in honor of the Golden Globes tonight, I'm sharing my favorite tricks I've learned over the years from wardrobe, makeup and hair that have helped me during this transition period of body after baby.  Read them HERE!