Bullying is Real

I don’t really think about being bullied on a regular basis – or ever, really. Until recently, when I’ve literally been assaulted several times by several men on the subway or in other public places.

Before you start assuming anything insane, let it be known that I’m completely OK, I’m totally safe and I am not suffering any mental or emotional damage, aside from the regular. 😉

But really, I’ve been violated on the subway by ultimate creepers twice this month – both on the same action – weird butt grabbers. Let it also be known that I am NOT one of those happy-go-lucky subway riders… I don’t smile at people – not children, not grandparents, and especially not disgustingly gross men, OK? AKA, there’s no “flirting” coming from my end. Further, I am so not a fan of this type of harassment that I make it so absolutely known that the person is wrong and try to vocally shame them and make them look like pieces of shit in front of as many people as I possibly can. (Takes long, deep breath…) I feel as if it’s a duty of mine to shame people who deserve to be shamed. The following simple, yet loud statement will suffice: “Don’t you ever F*ing touch me again you dirty, disgusting PERVERT. I’ll cut your fingers right off your hand!” Maybe aggressive, but maybe necessary. Then he has to sit there while myself and others on the crowded subway give him dirty looks until he gets off the subway.

Two weeks ago I was assaulted (I think that is the proper word to use) by a complete stranger while I was walking through a rather empty Chipotle Mexican Restaurant. I was violently swung at and hit in the arm by a man that was much larger than me, for no apparent reason at all. He later screamed in my face, after I questioned this barbaric human that, “You was textin'” OH! ok, psycho. I forgot that texting warrants abuse to strangers. Understood. NOT. I maybe should have called the police, but like – what? To sit around and waste an hour of my life to report the crime after the guy had already ran away because he’s clearly a child, or deranged or something just so I can have a report written up? I mean, maybe. Maybe it would have stopped him from hitting another random humans due to his unhappiness or psychotic behavior. Who knows.

Point is that specifically women, but people in general are abused, assaulted, sexually or not in public places in NYC and all over, all the time. It’s one of those things where you may think, “Oh, that won’t happen to me…,” but it just may. It happened to me! Don’t stand for it. Speak up, tell somebody. I told a bunch of people and at the least, it strikes awareness. My awesome co-workers got me flowers, a teddy & chocolate to cheer me up after the Chipotle lunchtime incident. At the ultimate, very least a cheer-up is in order!

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Even better, your boyfriend may buy you pepper spray as a Christmas gift to ensure protection while in sketchy situations. Obviously an ass grab on the subway is maybe not reason enough to engage in pepper spraying, but your chops are! AKA – cause a scene.

Update, 1/19/2016: FYI, after reading this article from Gothamist, I learned that NYPD SVU is now investigating all subway-related sexual abuse and you can file any complaints via this link! 

What Are You Doing?

Happy Holidays Everybody! Busy time of year for most, but hopefully you’re able to treat it as a relaxing time as well. Check out some photos below and see what I’ve been up to.

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Nothing like a snapshot of street art on LifeLooksBetterinBlack! Can’t help but be one of those people who stops on the street to take a picture of graffiti artists latest work. But when I do stop to take iPhone photos, I’m always hoping that people aren’t noticing me.

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Crock Pot life! Received this as a gift about a month ago and I’ve been using it as much as possible. There’s a million recipes on the website and it’s almost fool-proof. and great for people who get lazy about food but don’t want to always order in.

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Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge on a clear, beautiful day back in November. I love this photo.

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Schweigiving 2015 – aka Friendsgiving on TGE. Group photo which we cleverly set up on the mantle to make sure everyone got in it. “It’s like the first pancake, they get better as you go along.” This was our second annual and it was significantly better than last year’s! ❤

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My heavily filtered photo looks sort of blurred on a computer, but I’ll stand by it anyway. ❤ This was a really cool and definitely hyped-up exhibit I saw a few weeks ago – “Work No. 2592” by Martin Creed. Essentially a room filled with hundreds of tremendous red balloons. I visited during my lunch break at work, it was in the Lower East Side – and my iPhone died – after I took 1 Snapchat from outside and 4 of the exact same photo from inside. And waited on a super duper long line. But whatever – it was worth it – very cool to see and experience, even without a documented selfie of me and the red balloons. WHICH IS WHAT I REALLY WANTED! 😉

Uncomfortable

Those awkward times when you’re feeling extremely uncomfortable in a given situation…..nobody else knows.

Unless you actively show it. So fake it. That doesn’t mean try so hard to fake it, because that becomes noticeable, ya know?  But basically…. nobody else even knows at all because they’re so worried about themselves.

I saw an Instagram post earlier this month from @theskimm that was a perfect example of this and it’s stuck with me for the past few weeks.

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Nobody cares if you’re dancing your heart out. If you’re unsure of yourself. Or if you’re so confused in a particular moment. In a sense, in social settings people are less observant now than they ever have been.

Nobody knows you’re uncomfortable but YOU. So just look that uncomfortable feeling in the eye and own it for yourself. You’ll be fine. Uncomfortable is a state of mind and it’s only temporary.

Do you have anything going on in your current life right now that you aren’t loving? It’s only temporary. The things you love, you work hard to keep. The things you don’t approve of, you easily let go of. That being said…temporary feelings, see ya!!

How To Break Your Own Heart

So I’ve done quite a bit of “how-to’s” on this blog, but this one is quite a bit – well… Different.

I received a message from one of my BFFs about a month ago telling me some big “news.” And NO, that it wasn’t her engagement, that in fact it was the total effing opposite. She was leaving. Picking up her fabulous life and turning it completely upside down. Ending the relationship, leaving her job and leaving her city. I was shocked, yet I knew she knew exactly what she was doing.  She’s one of the most intelligent and self-aware people I’ve met in this world. And so strong. Strength I’ve rarely seen before especially in my peers, especially in 20 & 30 something’s.

After thinking about this over and over again, I realized she was doing what many of us find so intimidating and nearly impossible to do. Being afraid of getting our heart broken and even breaking another person’s heart is both frightening and intimidating. Love is such a strong emotion that ending or breaking is not an easy part of it – no matter how well you plan for it. But here she is, a beautiful, awesome, powerful and intelligent girl who loves harder than most I know – doing it to herself.

Breaking her own heart. For the better of her relationship and their lives going forward. Doing it FOR herself. By her own will and merit.

Are you in a relationship or workplace or friendship or anything that you need to step away from?

Find something. Deep within yourself. Find the strength to pick up and release yourself. It doesn’t need to be dramatic. No need for the applause or the social media presence. It doesn’t mean you need to cut all ties or end something in a hurtful way. You can just move on by yourself. Find the way. (Find your true north! #Wanderlust).

Maybe it’s the complete opposite for you – maybe it’s getting back into something. For example: You love doing ActivityX but your current life doesn’t allow for time to do ActivityX. You’ve got to make the time for ActivityX. You be X. Nobody else will do X for you. Nobody else will do shit for you for that matter. It’s you and you. Control is what we’re after here. Set some goals. Create a timeline and move it. Control your own aspirations, your own goals and your own feelings. Take control of yourself and your future, even if you have to break your own heart while doing so.

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Bushwick, Brooklyn #NewHood

We just moved in to a new neighborhood in Brooklyn – and so far really loving it. Everyone says Bushwick is “up & coming” which, (for those of you who don’t know) means it used to be very ghetto, has gotten much nicer, but still has a long way to go. I mildly agree but love the character and charm of this very diverse and artsy neighborhood.  The streets are spewed with massive pieces of graffiti art on buildings and garages. As I’m obsessed with taking photos of everything, The Bushwick Collective & other nearby pieces will occasionally make an appearance here or on my Snapchat @ashleybyrdy

Some of my favorite pieces around the neighborhood…

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Active Summer

For some reason, everybody has a little more time for fun in the summer. Obviously the days are longer… but usually the fun lasts longer too! Below are some fun things I’ve done this summer outside!

SUP in Sag Harbor Cove, New York

SUP (stand-up paddle boarding) for 3 but more like… 2 paddle boards tied together with drawstring from a wet bag because one was missing a fin & didn’t move well… so whoever got the back board chilled while the 2 on the front board had to work. By work I mean take selfies.

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Kayaking in the Peconic River – Riverhead, New York

Little afternoon kayak through the Peconic River. You can definitely pack a lunch & some bev’s! You have to buddy system though because there really isn’t room for a cooler. 🙂 Gives your abs, back and shoulders a nice little workout!

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Shorefront Park, Patchogue, New York

Great South Bay Music Festival was held at Shorefront Park in Patchogue, NY on July 16-19, 2015. It’s a 4 day music festival that’s beginning to draw bigger and better names every year! This year I attended on Thursday night and saw Colbie Caillat, Christina Perri (not to be confused with Katy), and Rachel Platten of “Fight Song.” 311 was also a popular name to play this festival. Great way to spend the evening outside by the water.

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Sagg Main Beach, Sagaponack, New York 

Let’s be honest, activity is nice – but relaxing on the beach is much nicer!  Add wine and you’re done. Workout is biceps (lifting your wine glass to your face & repeat).

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Summer is halfway over – sorry to say – Sooooooo get outside and enjoy the rest of it! Xx

How To: Survive WITHOUT Your iPhone: Day 1

Step 1: Wake Up Slow… because your iPhone broke overnight, your alarm will not go off and you’re going to just have to figure it out when you wake up. You had weird dreams too and you can’t even text your best friends about them because no phone. Hopefully you use iCloud or backed up your phone recently…. yeah. I really F-ing hope I did. UGHHHH.

Step 2: Log in to your email. Check email. Email people that will be trying to reach you throughout the day that your phone is done for and to email you instead. Reschedule all phone calls you may have so you can call the person instead of them calling you.

Step 3: Make an appointment at the Apple Store….. for 3 days from now. HOW EFFICIENT, APPLE!!!!?!!?!?! Thanks for nothing.

Step 4: Contemplate doing whatever else you’re supposed to do today without having the following benefits of an iPhone or a cell phone in general.

– GPS / Google Maps / Waze – basically, research where you’re traveling to ahead of time on your laptop (if you have one), write it down? or print it out? (if you have a printer) OR follow street signs like an archaic animal that you now are. Sorry civilization leaves your body completely when you are without beloved iPhone.

– Instagram: I mean – this hurts. But don’t you dare tell me that it’s important enough to log on to your Instagram through your laptop just to check out what your psycho friends and the celebs you stalk are doing. It’s not that good… and if it is that good, your friends will text you in group chat about it…. OH WAIT… (like I said, you’re F’d).

Step 5: Cry and scream when you realize that you’ve LOST everything on your iPhone that’s important to you since the last time your stupid iPhone display broke (less than 1 month ago). Cry more. But don’t really cry just have a mean RBF that will not leave your body. FOREVER.

Step 6: Wait until tomorrow…

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JUST BECAUSE YOU TOOK LONGER THAN OTHERS, DOESN’T MEAN YOU FAILED.

Sunset Overlooking the Great South Bay from Smith Point Beach, Long Island, NY

Sunsets are a happy reminder that the day is coming to a close. Everything will begin again tomorrow. Maybe today is your tomorrow. Everything takes time. Cyclical reminders from the world – you’ll get there.

Little Bit of Daily Inspo

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Keep your head facing forward and move on forward. Don’t look back. Keep others out of your foresight and out of your peripheral. Life will give you what you want when you continue to look only where you want to go. Proceed forward and progress will follow you. Remembering those who have left you in a positive light is the best way to make the happiness return to your present.