Why you gotta be so mean

Do you ever have one of those days where you’re ridiculously mean to yourself? I had one of those this week. My internal monologue sounding something like this “You’re stupid, you’re fat, you’re ugly, you will die alone surrounded by too many cats.”

And as I sat at home wallowing in these hurtful thoughts, I got a text from my friend Jess who saw a self-loathing tweet I had wrote. She wanted to know if I was okay and as I told her  about my crappy day and how crappy I was feeling about myself, she told me she had some stuff to send me. Into my inbox popped multiple empowerment links. As I read them and watched them, I realized these people were right. I need to stop being so mean to myself and instead start being grateful for me and what I have.

So I decided to make a genuine effort to be more grateful, which reminded me of a Pinterest idea I saw. The user used hot glue to write inspiring words on a mason jar. I quickly plugged in my hot glue gun and went to town, writing “live” and “love” on my jar…those felt like inspiring words to work towards. Then I painted the jar over in white and stuck a ribbon on to add some prettiness. Now I had the perfect jar to hold my gratitude.


Every time something good happens to me or I feel grateful for someone I am going to write it down on a post-it note and stick it in the jar. Then when I have one of those moments where I’m incredibly mean to myself, I can read all the posts in the jar to remind myself why I’m not some ugly duckling with a zero IQ.

I am of course a realist who knows that I will not all of sudden be some really grateful Oprah-like person who is always happy and sees the silver lining…I think to be like Oprah you need her money. But this is a small step to make myself a little less mean and a bit more grateful.

Today I put my first post-it in the jar and it was easy to know what I was grateful for…the amazing person who inspired this idea.


P.S. For you own empowerment check out these links. The kid is right, if we didn’t have Michael Jordan we wouldn’t have Space Jam and that would be TRAGIC! And a little T-Swift, which all my friends have been singing this week and makes me smile.


The dumb fashion girl fights back

I try not to ever write from a place of emotion. As a journalist I know that makes pieces biased. But I have gotten to the point where it’s a daily occurrence that I come home from school, curl up in my bed and cry. It’s hard to write unemotionally when you’re emotional all the time.

I am teary as I write this because I think I made a mistake coming to grad school. I don’t regret pursuing journalism as a career path, but I do regret choosing to get to that career through journalism school. I want to be a fashion journalist. But everyday I hear one of my professors act like fashion isn’t a real type of journalism.

Yesterday my prof said reading fashion magazines turns your brain to mush, it’s like eating candy. Last semester a prof told us she didn’t want to hear story pitches on fashion because those aren’t real stories.

I sit there in all my fashion loving glory and feel stupid. Then I get angry because following up these statements is praise for sports. Writing about sports is legitimate journalism it seems. The world respects athletes who punch each other on the ice, yet there is no respect for designers who send intricate designs down the runway.

This, to me, is incredibly sexist. We see sports as a legitimate passion because it is an area dominated by male athletes and a passion held predominantly by males. But fashion isn’t legitimate because it’s an area of interest for females, who clearly only care for frivolous matters like clothing and hair.

My professor didn’t say that the people in my class who watch TSN nightly or read the Sports section daily are turning their brains too mush. Just people like me who have subscriptions to Flare, InStyle and Fashion magazine.

I didn’t realize we still lived in the 18th century, but apparently we do, where women’s interests are meant for the private space of the home and men’s interests dominate the workplace and the public sphere.

To me sports and fashion are no different– they are both areas of special interest. But in my program internships at sports magazines or  sports shows are acceptable. Fashion internships are not.

Quite frankly the reason I cry everyday isn’t because I’m not getting to report on what I want in my program. I cry because I feel dumb. I feel dumb for enjoying discussing what celebrities are wearing, for indulging nightly in the latest shows from Fashion Week and from wanting to pursue fashion journalism as a career. I feel my program is deeming me the class idiot because I don’t want to report on politics or crime or even sports, which to them are legitimate areas of journalism.

I went into this program because I wanted to learn about writing a wide variety of stories. And I love getting to do that. I just didn’t expect that in the process I would learn my interests are an inferior type of journalism.

But I am not going to quit. I want to, but I won’t because I am going to show them I am not dumb. I am going to show them fashion isn’t a frivolous passion. And most importantly I am going to do what I can so that no other aspiring fashion journalist has to curl up in bed and cry because their program makes them feel inferior.

The Case of the Missing Sugar Packets

I watch a lot of TLC…that will be the topic of a future post. One of my favourite shows is My Strange Addiction, it’s hard not to become mesmerized at people addicted to sleeping with blow dryers or eating dish detergent. I always joke that I should have my own TLC show, but I would cringe if I was on this show.

But today I realized I could be on My Strange Addiction because I, Alyssa Ashton, have an addiction to stealing sugar packets.

Borrowed sugar from various places…I can’t reveal my sources.

I’m not cheap, but I refuse to spend money on buying a bag of sugar. So instead I steal sugar packets. Like a thief I check all around me before grabbing a handful of packets and stuffing them into my purse. Unlike a normal thief I don’t have to run away because there is no detectors for stolen sugar.

I pathetically even steal sugar from work. My old workplace use to get coffee delivered once a week. I never drank the coffee but I did pilfer many bags of sugar. I mean it was a huge container full of sugar packets that no one used, I was just doing my citizen’s duty to ensure nothing went to waste. You know the landfills are filled with waste already, we must control our garbage levels.

I even make friends get in on my addiction, requesting they ask for extra sugar packets when we go through the drive through at Tim Hortons. I’m surprised the Tim Hortons servers don’t question why we ask for two sugars in the coffee, plus five bags of extra sugar. Or that they don’t call an ambulance since clearly this would send us into diabetic shock if we consumed SEVEN bags of sugar.

Now people, mainly my old housemate, ask me why I don’t pay the $3 for a bag of sugar. My response, because this is free. Plus it allows for portion control. The other day I was making a glazed balsamic sauce and I needed one tsp of sugar. So I poured my sugar packet into my tsp and guess what, it was exactly a tsp. What luck and now I know how much sugar goes in my tea everyday.

I realize this may not be a strange addiction, maybe my pathetic addiction is a more apt title for my disease. But no matter how pathetic it is I will still continue to borrow sugar packets from whatever coffee shops I frequent.

Awkward Alyssa

Do you remember back in elemntary school – and unfortunately sometimes in high school and university – when they made you go around the circle and give an alliteration for your name. Like Magic Mark and Nice Nicole.

I always struggled with this game…what A word suited me best.

Amazing – Not a great first impression if I said this about myself. I would be that full of herself girl for the entire year.

Artsy/Artistic – People would expect me to be good at Art, which I’m not. Those who can’t do, write about it.

And these were the only two A adjectives I could come up with. But as I grew up and endlessly tripped over my own feet, giggled at inappropriate moments and failed at having normal conversations, I realized I had the perfect word for me. AWKWARD

So that’s what this blog is about, all the awkward things I do.

What’s to come: that time I fell over on the bus on top of a girl and why I don’t like balls.