Hey everyone! So I just wrapped up another dance lesson (only two more before comp!) and I’m sitting outside at this adorable little cafe in Asheville attempting to gather my thoughts. This little coffee shop is so cute! It’s called Liberty House Cafe and has such a great chill atmosphere with beautiful outdoor seating that lets you enjoy the warm summer breeze and the greenery that surrounds. For my brunch I enjoyed their Eggs Benedict with house made bread, asparagus, bacon, and a perfectly poached egg with hollandaise sauce. With this I also had one of their Cafe Mochas which was also delicious, but I think I should have got an iced coffee because I am burning up!

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Anyway, so while taking in this yummy meal, I have been reflecting on my past dance lessons up until this point and preparing myself mentally for the upcoming competition. Honestly, I have been struggling to have a positive outlook during my lessons, and I have struggled to really embrace the character of each dance. A big part of this is that my confidence is wayyy down. My coach is constantly on me about not looking at the ground, but instead keeping my head up and making eye contact with him. There are so many other things that I am thinking about too like spotting, staying over my feet to stay on balance, and being directional. I feel like there is all of this information swarming around in my head and when I do one thing right, the others suffer. It’s frustrating to keep doing the same things over and over with no progress; sometimes it seems hopeless. So all of this negativity is really making it hard for me to perform to the best of my ability. And now here I am, at this awesome little coffee shop, thinking about how I am going to change that.

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No one else can make us do something unless we decide in our own minds that we CAN and WILL do it, no matter how long it takes to achieve. I think that somewhere along the way I forgot that and now I’m stuck in this hole of constant insecurity and disbelief in myself. I’m sure I’m not the only one that experiences that every now and then.  But I’ve got to change this NOW or my competition next week is not going to go as well as it could. I have to remember that I love dance because it’s FUN and not because I’m so obsessed with winning and getting every single move perfectly. All that will do is just piss me off and make me want to just kick off my heels and give up. But I’m not going to do that. I just need to pull that strong love I have for dancing out of me and spend each moment on the floor enjoying the fact that I have been blessed with the opportunity to dance one more time. That’s what it’s all about right? Making yourself happy. And then the cool thing about that is, when you’re happy, so are the people around you. If you’re not having fun then the people watching you certainly aren’t either.

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Okay so I’m done giving myself a mental pep talk (for now anyway). I hope you guys have been having a great weekend! Mine has been incredibly busy between dance and work. Yesterday was my best friend’s (practically sister) baby shower as well as a birthday party for my two grandfathers. The baby shower was great; they are super excited for little Maverick to come along. It’s a huge blessing from God that they are having this baby, so it was great to see her so full of joy.

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For my Granddad and Papaw’s birthday we grilled burgers and ate my Mom’s FABULOUS and ADDICTING homemade peach ice cream. I could seriously eat the whole quart…not joke. I love getting to hang out with my family every chance I get; they are so much fun. So I totally love BlueSky sodas because they are made with Stevia and have no calories! Until yesterday I had tried all the flavors except for Root Beer because I’m not really a Root Beer person. However, my Granddad talked me into trying it and now I’m hooked! It was absolutely delicious! Definitely a must-try if you are a BlueSky fan.

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A few other things I have tried lately and loved are the D’s Naturals Fluffbutters and Thomas Banana Bread English Muffins. My bf picked me up the S’mores and Salted Caramel Sundae Fluffbutters and they are great on anything, especially these yummy English Muffins. One of my new favorite pairings.

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Another one of my new addictions is Yasso frozen yogurt treats. They are SOOOOOO amazing…especially the Salted Caramel. It’s hard to believe they are only 100 calories. The Coffee Chip and Mint Chocolate Chip are also delicious as well. So do you guys like my vintage polaroid prints?! I got these printed on the La La Lab app which allows you to order photos from your phone and Instagram! They are super adorable. Use the code PGLUUKAH to get $5 off your first order.

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Thank you guys for letting me vent about my dance problems. I feel like if I get all my thoughts out then I will better understand what I need to work on and be able to incorporate it into my dancing. We all have dreams and goals, and if you’re like me, your worst critic is yourself. So let’s make a pact to be more positive, confident, and most of all happy throughout our journey.

You’re never fully dressed without a smile,

Ashlyn Tori<3