Her Story: Ashley Lankenau

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Bloggies, meet Ashley. This little chick is my sister’s BFF and even though I’m just getting to know her, I do know she’s pretty hilarious and loves to have a good time. My kinda woman! : )

315091_105752079539136_1751500255_nAge: 21
Hometown: South Glens Falls, NY
Current City: South Glens Falls, NY
Occupation: Waitress, aspiring college student

What is something you’ve been really thankful for lately and why?
I recently just celebrated my 21st birthday and I must say I am so thankful for my friends and family. My best friend Becca took my birthday weekend off just to make sure I had the best time because, let’s face it, I’d be lost without her. I could go on and on about her but I’d run out of space so I’ll sum it up in three words: she’s the BEST. Even if I did get a little crazy, she put up with me and I don’t know many people who do that. Along with Becca, my other close friends gave me thoughtful gifts/treats and bought decorations to set up at our friend’s apartment. If it weren’t for my friends, I guarantee I would have spent my 21st drinking a six-pack alone haha, maybe. I’m a lucky gal to have had them stick around so long. Next, my parents. I am so thankful that they are forgiving and make sure they let me know I’m loved. Even when I might disappoint them they don’t hold a grudge—it really takes good parents to put up with some of the things I do. I honestly don’t think I could have been stuck with a better group of friends or parents.

Where is your happy place?
Everyone who has done yoga will agree with me on this one: Shavasana. After an intense yoga session of twisting and contracting major muscles you are rewarded with corpse pose, also known as Shavasana. This pose allows your body and mind to regroup/reset. I always feel so peaceful and free of stress during these lovely 10-15 minutes that I never want it to end. One time a lady in my class started to snore during this part—now that’s called finding your inner peace haha. I HIGHLY recommend yoga to not only stressed people but to everyone!

What do you consider your biggest accomplishment?
Let’s just say I’m not a girl of many talents (haha) but as my parents would say, “You did win that art award in the fifth grade, that’s something to be proud of.” Anyway, with all jokes aside, I must say accomplishing my AFAA personal training course felt very rewarding. This certification took three days, which doesn’t seem like much, but these were the hours: Friday 12-9, Saturday 8-6, and Sunday 8-6. You’re probably wondering what we did in those 29 long miserable hours… Lecture after lecture after lecture, literally. Sunday wasn’t as horrible because that was test day. Around 2pm we started our 135-question test and then our practical. The practical was one of the most nerve-racking things I’ve ever done. The instructor put out eight index cards with different scenarios and he would evaluate us. After being evaluated, I was antsy for a whole six weeks. FINALLY after checking the mail every day I got my results! Long story short, I passed despite weeks of doubt. I am now personal training certified and I plan to start experimenting with this at SUNY Cortland’s gym. Some words of encouragement: never underestimate yourself!

What’s the best book you’ve read lately and why?
I’ve read so many great books this past year (a big thanks to this lovely blog) so this is a tough question. Usually I go with Sarah Dessen, Sophie Kinsella, or a Nicholas Sparks book because I’m in love those authors, but I must say Gillian Flynn really won me over with Gone Girl. I really love a book that can take me away from reality and this one takes the cake. I was completely wrapped up with both of the characters (Nick & Amy) and the storyline. I find that when I’m reading a really good book I become slightly obsessed with the characters—I’m not sure if that’s just me (lol). I usually picture myself in the main characters shoes, just for fun. Overall I must say that the best part of the book was that I never knew what to expect, which made it that much more exciting to read.

What are you nostalgic for?
I’m nostalgic for quite a few things, but one thing that I find myself looking back on is living in/visiting my grandparents’ old house. When my sisters and I were younger we lived with them for about a year while our current house was being built. During that time, our grandpa would always make sure we were being entertained. We did everything from making movies, playing board games, hide and seek, baking, riding in our Barbie jeep, to helping grandma garden. The Barbie jeep was the best—my younger sister and I would ride that thing around the neighborhood saying hello to everyone we passed. I remember feeling so cool in that jeep. I had zero worries. I wish I could ride that around instead of putting gas in my Honda every week. I think I find myself missing these memories so much because my grandparents eventually moved closer to us, which was nice. I still find myself missing the fond memories made in that house… I even miss the smell.

Describe the person or thing that cheers you up, no matter what.
This might sound crazy but I must admit that my dog, Bentley (Bents for short), can always put a smile on my face. He might as well be a human in my book (don’t judge) mainly because he has such a fun personality. I know Becca, my best friend, can relate to this statement since she is obsessed with her dog just the same. I could be having the worst day right up until I walk into my house. It usually starts with annoying barking but when Bents sees me he runs right over with kisses. I can picture him right now running toward me with his nose all crinkled in excitement jumping up to say hi. I really think that people should be more like dogs, just happy and loving those around you.

What did you learn from your first love?
Ahh, I learned so much during those two and a half years. Some days I look back and wonder what I was thinking sticking around so long, but I wouldn’t give my first love back for anything. The most important thing I learned about myself was that I gave more than I received and accepted less than I deserve. Friends would warn me and tell me to stay away but of course I didn’t listen—typical girl. After a while I started to become so used to being treated badly that it got to the point where I believed the reason he chose other girls was because I was doing something wrong. One day I finally had enough. It took me two years too long, but deep down I knew I deserved better. It was a struggle but it was for the best, and I learned to be happy with myself without a boy around. I’ve been single ever since then, mainly because I’ve learned to be more picky when it comes to choosing the right guy. One day someone will treat me right (like a princess).

What’s something you wish you knew back in high school?
Remember when teachers would ask a question and all they would get in return was blank stares? I do, mainly because I was part of the blank stare crowd. At the time I wasn’t thinking about the teacher and how it affected him/her because I was too busy waiting for the bell to ring. After experiencing being a Teacher Assistant at college this past year, I finally understand how frustrating it is when no one participates. I spent so much time making lesson plans and fun activities for the class and I barely received any feedback. Standing in front of 30 blank stares is not fun, I wish I knew back then how it could make the teacher feel badly. I’m trying my best to make up for this by participating more in my college courses, which helps gain brownie points, too—woo-hoo.

Where/when do you your best brainstorming/reflecting?
Running. When I can’t think straight I find it’s always best to get my butt out the door to run. The best part about this is that I can even get my cardio in while clearing my head. I’m not a crazy marathon runner if that’s what you’re thinking. I have no idea how those crazy people do it—I’d like to find out (maybe). A nice little 5k usually does the trick.

Follow Ashley’s summer adventures on Twitter!

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Author: Rachael

Book lover + editor, feminist, California soul + New York state of mind.

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