…has come to an end. My birthday season has been well celebrated and thoroughly documented! It has been a true reminder of the many blessings and plethora of beautiful people I have in my life.

Last nights’ Closing Ceremony was a 90-minute hot yoga class, in which I got to pick ALL the music! Needless to say, my mix was a little erratic, but mostly filled with poppy, upbeat, and for the most part – 90s!, tunes. Have you ever played a song that you LOOOOVE for someone, and as soon as it starts playing, you rethink everything you ever liked about that song??

listening to music

Well, that was not the case. I rocked out to 90 minutes of some of my favorite songs and had a blast doing it! And I’m pretty sure that everyone there had a good time as well! If they didn’t like the music, They should have at least gotten a kick out of how excited I was!

I have included my playlist below in case you want to get your own JanuAshley Jam on! RAWK!

  1. Go For It! – Hot Sundae (Saved by the Bell)
  2. Autobiography – Ashlee Simpson
  3. Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard
  4. Somebody That I Used To Know (KDrew Remix) — KDrew
  5. Stronger – Glee Cast
  6. Where’s The Love – Hanson
  7. The King Is Dead But The Queen is Alive – P!nk
  8. Fairytale – Sara Bareilles
  9. If I Could Turn Back Time — Cher (This led to an all out, queer sing-along!! Faaaabulous!)
  10. Wannabe – Spice Girls
  11. Tearin’ Up My Heart – ‘N Sync
  12. Fun, Fun, Fun – The Beach Boys (Did a little Warrior 2 surfing!)
  13. (You Drive Me) Crazy – Britney Spears
  14. Come on Over – Christina Aguilera
  15. Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) – Backstreet Boys
  16. Part of Your World – The Little Mermaid (Ohhh….my….Our trainer, Alexander, came up with a brilliant yoga parody on the spot. He has a gift, I tell ya!)
  17. Sparkling Diamonds – Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge
  18. Runaway Baby – Bruno Mars
  19. Beauty and the BEAT! – Parody by Todrick Hall (If you haven’t seen this video, WATCH IT NOW!)
  20. Cheeseburger in Paradise – Jimmy Buffett
  21. Glamorous (Feat. Ludacris) — Fergie
  22. Say My Name – Destiny’s Child (Apparently Alexander loathes this song, so we got extra obliques…sorry guys!)
  23. Tubthumping — Chumbawumba
  24. Cecilia – Simon & Garfunkel
  25. Orange Colored Sky – Natalie Cole
  26. One Day — Matisyahu
  27. Because – Beatles cover from Across the Universe movie
  28. Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson (Most unproductive savasana EVER, but awesome nonetheless!)

I’m Gonna Make You Sweat!

Last night was my dear friend and athletic trainer, Alexander’s birthday spectacular! I say “athletic trainer” because not only do my friends and I hit up his hot yoga classes twice a week, but we recently got month passes to his gym and have been getting our asses kicked in everything from kickboxing to spinning to dancing. He has been a major, if not the biggest, influence on my recent fitness obsession. Well, Alex’s birthday celebration consisted of a hot yoga class. But not just regular, heart pumping sweat glands in overdrive hot yoga class. Oh no. This class had blacklights and glow bracelets! We yoga-ed in the dark, which made it super badass. I can’t remember how many times Alex looked around and in his cheerful voice exclaimed, “That’s badass!” So you know it had to be.

Click here to check out a video of last night’s shenanigans! (Can you see me? 😉 )

This time last year, I was going almost weekly to a different hot yoga called Bikram yoga. Bikram yoga was super challenging for me because the room was 115°, there was no talking, and you went through a series of 26 poses (2 times each). I really enjoyed it because it was something that I had to do on my own, my own body and my own will power. But ever since starting Alexander’s class, I haven’t been back to Bikram. Alexander’s class is different every time (wanna work on your obliques? Sure! Wanna stretch out your running legs? No problem!), ~8 of my friends share in the 2 times/week workout with me, and we’re allowed to talk! Not only to we talk, but we joke and enjoy each other’s presence. After all, at the end of each yoga session, we say “Namaste,” which means “The good in me recognizes all of the good in you.” How can we truly appreciate each other’s goodness if we’re working out in silence?!?

(and in all honesty, all the end of each yoga session, we close with “Namaste Mothaf#*kas!” Click here for that inspiration! I’m telling you, it’s an amazing class. Let me know if you live in the Columbus area and would like to join us!)

Thanks to Alexander and the amazing crew of fitness fanatics I have befriended along the way, I am in the best shape of my life and am surrounded by people that daily push me to challenge myself mentally and physically. And if it means looking like this and having Madonna-Man Arms (thanks, Mike :P), I think I’ll keep it up. 😉

My Body of Workout

Birthday Extravaganza!

Now, before y’all start throwing birthday well wishes out there all willy-nilly, I should preface this by saying that my birthday isn’t actually for another week, on January 21st! I will be out-of-town this weekend on a little Girl’s Trip, so my party came early, pre-actual-birthday this year.

I have found that no matter what goes awry  in my life, I am always surrounded by beautiful people. I don’t mean people who are beautiful on the outside (that just happens to be a coincidence! I swear!). I mean people who have beautiful souls. People that are not only striving to consistently better themselves, but people who lift me up to become the best version of myself possible. I figure at this point, I’m iAsh 7.0. Hah!

My friends are the kind of people who:

♥ May disappear for a while, but really come around when they sense that they are needed or wanted.

♥ Will respond to a 2am phone call or text (I think I need to thank every one of my friends for this!).

♥ Know my obnoxious, loud-mouthed, inappropriate side and love me nonetheless.

♥ Know my ugly, self-loathing, stubborn side and every time, remind me that 1) I still need to work on my crazy 😉 and 2) I’m being ridiculous.

♥ Tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear.

♥ Bring out things in me that I never knew existed (a passion for working out, most recently!)

♥ Support my crazy endeavors! (blogging, running a half marathon, becoming a teacher…)

♥ No matter what we are doing, create a plethora of fun.

♥ Accept the whole of me, and not just the pink, sparkly, shiny parts.

This is obviously just the tip of the friend iceberg, but these are the points that stand out to me at first review.

Once a year, I use my birthday as an excuse to attempt to gather all the people I love so dearly in one place and celebrate life and love. This past weekend was said celebration! I got to spend Friday night with a few close girlfriends gabbing, eating, drinking and just being girls. Saturday-day was spent with one of my best friends, Kristen, on Operation Sole Sister (she and I buy each other a pair of shoes each year for our birthday/Christmas gift). Saturday night was when almost everyone gathered at a local bar to party! That night happened so fast and was filled with such joy, that I didn’t truly get a chance to revel in it. Now that I have had a chance to pause and reflect, I feel so blessed to think of all the folks that came out, not just for me, but for a celebration of friendship. There were friends that I’ve had for almost 10 years and friends that I have had for just under a year. No matter the length of the relationship, I know that these people have filled my life with abundant happiness and purpose. I believe that God put us on this earth to love one another, and I am surrounded by so many beautiful illustrations of that every day.

Sparkle, Glitter & Shine! It's birthday time! (Click me to enlarge!)

Sparkle, Glitter & Shine! It’s birthday time! (Click me to enlarge!)