Spring and Transformation, A New Perspective

May 9, 2017

Living in Minneapolis has given me an entirely new perspective and appreciation for Spring. The last few weeks have especially driven me to appreciate sunshine and temps above 50, but also has me thinking about the overly cheesy and overused metaphor of Spring representing transformation.

To say my life is in a bit of a transition and change the last few months is quite the understatement. Almost every part of my life is completely different: from where I live, to getting out of a long-term relationship, a new job, a significant weight loss.

I feel like the growing pains have been winning lately; as if the change is overwhelming me, not transforming me for the better.

Instead of thawing out and blossoming, I’m freezing and rotting. As if my Spring is a bit delayed and Winter is lingering a little longer.

I keep peeking through the thunderstorms and hoping they will bring growth and green at the end of it. I’m looking for the peak of sun that has to be around the corner.

I love how when the weather is finally nice here everyone flocks outside. You begin to wonder where everyone’s been the last five months of winter. It’s as if we voluntarily hibernate and come alive again as soon as April hits. It makes you appreciate the beauty of the cycles of nature, how it gives and takes away.

It’s been a lovely reminder that no matter how cold and harsh this season of my life is, inevitably it will turn into something beautiful. Maybe even something that will transform me into a better version of me. I have the choice to see it through with grace or let it linger. Pushing through the pain to get to the beauty. To appreciate the beauty when it’s there and savor it a bit more, even if it’s just one day out of a week or a week out of a month.

Sometimes the most beautiful things in our lives come from the worst pain. Sometimes the pain itself can be a beautiful thing if we allow it to be. Here’s hoping Spring is around the corner for me, and if it’s not, that I can find glimpses of it in my journey.


Ghost ships and haunted dreams

October 3, 2016

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about broken dreams. How dreaming and wishing and wanting so often is a vain attempt at controlling a life that too often also proves to be completely uncontrollable. How I’ve looked to longingly at my life’s ghost ships.

I sometimes miss my naive days of believing that the things I wanted, the ways I planned for my life to be, would probably come to fruition. Maybe this is the bitter ramblings of a childless, career-less 30-something. But, I often have these conversations with many people in my life.

I recently came across an advice column that helped me view this so differently. In it, Cheryl Strayed brings up the analogy that helped me profusely and struck something deep. She writes:

Every life, Tranströmer writes, “has a sister ship,” one that follows “quite another route” than the one we ended up taking. We want it to be otherwise, but it cannot be: the people we might have been live a different, phantom life than the people we are.

I have so longly looked after the phantom ghost ships of the lives I so desperately wanted to have that I far too often neglect the ship that I’m on, the life set before me. Sometimes I wonder if I know how to fully live in my present place. Be accepting of all the dreams and wishes I had. Have I just become comfortable and at home in the longing?

Why have I allowed myself to be so ruled by fear?

After thoroughly beating myself up a bit for wasting so much time on the longing, I think Ms. Strayed makes a beautiful point:

We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.

It was important. It was beautiful. But it’s not mine. I can’t wish it into being. I think we far too often don’t allow ourselves to admire the beauty of the broken dreams, or the dreams that never came into being. I just tell myself that I want something different. That the life I have is what I have to accept. I don’t allow myself the room to acknowledge that it is important, it’s a part of me, that it’s still a beautiful thing. That ghost life, the decisions I didn’t and did make. The house, husband, career that I thought I’d have or would be different that what I do have. It’s important to make a little quiet place to acknowledge the beauty of those things. The importance of what they are to my life, and then quietly walk away from them. To not grieve them too often. To not push them away and pretend they shouldn’t be important to me, because they are. To not pretend that I didn’t want them or desired something else. To take time to silently salute and wave whenever the little part of me longs for something differently. To heal the battered bruises and self-inflicted harm, the struggle to get to the other boat, has caused.

What would the other Ashley be like? Would she be stronger, or prettier or happier? Would she be worse off? I’ll never really know. I can only steer the ship I’m on.

Are we tired of ship analogies yet? I’ll leave you with a bit of Jane’s advice that’s helped me realize that I’ll never know the full truth of this life anyways:

Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised, or a little mistaken.


Running mad and such

May 4, 2016

“Run mad as often as you choose, but do not faint.”

This quote has been going through my head lately. Although I adore writing, I’m wondering if it’s time for a career change so that I can focus on writing more creatively. As much as the flexibility of freelancing is nice, it can also be quite lonely and isolating. I also wonder sometimes if I have the personality for it. I get so distracted by sunshine, pepperoni sticks and wanting to devour Asian Beauty blogs. I almost miss the structure of having a steady set of hours and coworkers to talk to. But this leaves me wondering… What else would I be?

I feel too old to be having this much of an identity crisis.

Maybe I just haven’t focused enough on my creative writing and blogging. I have so many ideas and yet I don’t put nearly as much effort into it. Do you ever have that problem? Being too afraid to be good, to succeed or too afraid to fail and be horrid, that you just don’t do anything?

I feel that indeed, I have run mad quite often but too often faint. I give up too soon.

If you could be anything, what would you be? What should I be?

I’m so random. I love art, and thought art therapy. I love books and thought archivist/librarian. I think stay in writing. I want my Etsy store to succeed. So many dreams, so not enough time.

How do you find focus? How can you reinvent yourself when perhaps a little bit past your prime? Is it ok to not settle for settling in? Do we have to, at some magic age, want to settle in with a partner, have kids, have a steady career, buy a house? I struggle with that, because I do like to run after new things, new experiences, new places and the idea of sticking to one place somewhat frightens me. Or does living in 2016 mean we can mold and create a life that might stand outside of societal expectations and feel ok with that?


Yet another re-reading of Eat. Pray. Love.

April 5, 2016

Hi, my name is Ashley and I have a problem.

I’ve read Eat, Pray, Love at least three times.

Last night, I picked it up for a fourth read.

There are few books I’ll read like this. Of course, my dear Jane’s Persuasion is one of them… among others.

But there’s some sort of comfort in the pages of Eat, Pray, Love, that I cling to in times of uncertainty.

The first time I read it I was in the midst of a rather chaotic relationship that was always shifting. An off and on again, mostly off again, relationship that left me whirling. One I could never seen to cut off or walk away from. There’s something about my personality that is so drawn to the Willoughby’s of this world, to my detriment.

Yet, as Marianne Dashwood herself did indeed say: “A woman of seven and twenty, said Marianne, after pausing a moment, can never hope to feel or inspire affection again.”

I felt that upon entering my 30s I was hopelessly doomed for a life of solitude. This was either to my reading entirely too much Austen or my childhood in the South. I clung to my last hope of youthful love. But, I knew it wasn’t going anywhere and I had just been cut at a job I thought would promise a more sturdy future.

What was I to do? Where was I to go? I felt so utterly and completely lost. The author’s words of “I don’t want to be married anymore.” At the beginning of Eat, Pray, Love, rang true to me… in that “I don’t want to be this person anymore.” I didn’t know how to change, or where to go, or what that would like. I just didn’t want to be that Ashley anymore.

So… I took a big, scary huge step. I took a job in North Dakota. Granted, the furthest north I’d ever been was St. Louis and I think that was when I was about 12 years old. I’d lived in Denver, so I thought, it can’t be THAT much different, could it?

HA! It was, indeed, it was. But it was so healing. SO healing. I loved my job, I met a great group of people. I met someone who loved me for me, the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in-between. Who knew it could be so healing. I find myself in upheaval again… and wondering once again, Do I want to be the person I’ve become? Wondering how to change it. Wondering how any of us manage to survive the predictability, the cruelty, the toughness of our lives and the decisions we face. How do you toughen up and just.keep.going.

There’s something comforting in knowing you aren’t alone, and Eat, Pray, Love, helps me know someone else survived it. Indeed, I have survived it, and I will again. Indeed: “This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.”



Fashion Friday: Elinor Dashwood

February 19, 2016

Elinor Dashwood. She’s probably one of my most liked/disliked characters of all. I wish I had more of her in me, because I’m a self-avowed Marianne. I follow my heart/emotions to a self-destructive level. I definitely need a little more sense and a little less sensibility. Maybe that’s why we all love Jane so, she hits the parts of us we are and who we quietly long to be.

I felt like Elinor would be very classic in her tastes, and more structured with a few feminine touches. I think Marianne would push her to add some fun to, like these great maroon booties. Below you’ll find my suggestions for what Elinor’s modern wardrobe would be like:

1. H&M Short Cardigan 

2. Cause for Cosmopolitans blouse from Modcloth

3. Utility Custom Stretch Pencil Skirt from LOFT

4. Journee Collection Women’s Piper Round Toe High Heel Booties 

5. Neva Long Necklace in Matte Green by Kendra Scott (It’s super on sale right now!)


How to succeed on Poshmark

February 11, 2016
Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 8.14.46 PM

Some of my latest Poshmark purchases.

This will be more of a do as I say and not as I do kind of post. Although, if you do as I do it won’t be so bad either.

I love to save a buck. Unfortunately, I also loveeee me some fashion and beauty, which is most of the time not so cheap. I’ve also noticed as my smaller counterparts have sales in places like H&M and Forever 21 have sales that promise $3! and $5! sales, when my jeans that I’ve been dying to buy don’t budge in price and their lowest when on sale rarely hits below $20. There’s plenty of theory behind this, and I get it, but to be a plus sized fashionista on a budget can be a challenge.

Although I believe in splurging on the staples or signature pieces that you’ll get the wear out of, I’ve found a few ways to find affordable plus size fashion. One way is through Poshmark. Poshmark is a place women come together to buy and sell clothing and accessories from each other’s closets. Some items are new, others are lightly used. You can buy name brand or vintage and everything inbetween.

I have gotten some great deals on the site, including an almost0new Kate Spade purse for $100, tons of Torrid and a few Modcloth pieces.

My top tips for buying on Poshmark:

  1. Utilize the search bar in both brands and sizes. Set your size range so that only your sizes come up in searches (although I think for larger sizes this doesn’t always work so well. Try it first, then search specifically for your size if you aren’t having luck.)
  2. Follow users that share items in your size. This makes it less of a hassle to dig through listings and they often share items from other closets that you may like.
  3. USE THE OFFER BUTTON! Make reasonable offers, but people are usually open to taking a few bucks off and it doesn’t hurt to ask!

Poshmark has also been a great way to get items that I love for FREE! That’s right, FREE! I do this by selling items in my closet that I’ve grown tired of or don’t fit. You know that dress two sizes smaller that you’d fit in by now? Or those 10 pounds you’ve lost and those pants don’t fit just right? (I’ve been in both boats.)

I began my Poshmark journey in 2013 and I’ve made $697 in that time with only 54 listings sold. That number still makes me wish I had tried harder to sell more! This is where the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ comes in. I have been kind of lazy when it comes to product photos. Working full time and writing part time didn’t give me much time, but I still made big sales! You can be even more successful by taking great photos of the items you’re selling.

Follow others and share your items! This will build relationships and possibly lead to sales.

Be realistic about the quality of your items. Don’t sell things that you wouldn’t want to get yourself.

Does this help? Do you have any questions about being successful on Poshmark? Shoot me an email or comment below 🙂




Art In all forms: OOTD

February 5, 2016

I had been eyeing this beauty of a dress for a few weeks now at a local thrift store. Someone had placed it into the lingerie section from what I’m guessing was a discard after trying on because it’s near the dressing rooms. This was to my benefit, because it was half hidden and it meant staying hidden until the purple tags went on 50% off! I just couldn’t say no! I had to wear it as my OOTD at the Walker Art Museum on Thursday.

Plus Size OOTD

It’s a thick polyester, so it wasn’t TOO cold for these harsh Minnesota winters, but I definitely wouldn’t go galavanting around town in it for too long. My legs got a little chilly after a few hours. I ironically wore it to a great talk at the Walker Art Museum during their Target Free Thursdays. Admission is FREE AND you get a free talk or concert!

Plus Size OOTD

This week’s talk was from Macalester professor Morgan Adamson, “Guerrilla Television, Cybernetic Cinema, and Radical Software: Video and the Counterculture Revolution.” Was super interesting, great debates and Q&A afterwards and went along with their Hippie Modernism exhibit. It made me love the hipster, progressive, forward-thinking nature of the city. (P.S. I also thrifted these great booties for $4 bucks!)

Plus Size OOTD

SHOP MY OOTD OUTFIT: Dress, Arc’s Value Village // Necklace, Forever 21 // Eyeglasses, Zenni Optical // Booties, Dirt Cheap.


City Exploring & Pertinent Pacing Modcloth Dress Review

February 1, 2016

Ok, full fledge nerd alert! This weekend I finallly got to do two things I’ve been dying to do: visit The Mill City Museum and go to the Book Trader.

The Mill City Museum  is here in Minneapolis and is a museum built into the ruins of what was once the world’s largest flour mill. The elevator portion of the tour made me have flashbacks to the Tower of Terror, but was so cool and unique! It’s a must-see if you’re in the cities. The view from the 8th floor is also pretty breath taking.

#millcitymuseum #minneapolis #captureminnesota #captureminneapolis

A photo posted by Ifiwerejane (@ifiwerejane) on

It was actually in the 40 degree range, so I decided it was about time I tried my Modcloth Pertinent Pacing dress that I’ve been dying to wear. You’ll have to forgive my awkward growing out of the purple hair. I adore it so, but it’s so high maintenance (let that be a warning for those considering the fun, pastel colored hair trend).

plus size fashion

I love this dress! It’s so comfy and unique. The material is some meshy kind of contraption. The only complaint I have is that plus size brands usually assume if you’re plus size you are well endowed in the chest and leg area. I am neither, so it’s a little big in the chest. But, I’m used to it.

The Book Trader  is so quirky and fun. You are all at once scared and intrigued. There’s an older woman that will give you her sales pitch and then you can wander around the many, many, many stacks of books. There is kind of a method to the madness, but ask her if you’re looking for something specific. She knows where everything is! I bought a super fun 70s looking edition of Persuasion.

If you decide to brave the book store, plan to visit the Berry Sweet Kitchen first. Try the berry crepes or the banana french toast.


Some seriously amazing food. Banana French Toast made with home made bread. 💣💥

A photo posted by Andrew Zimmerman (@andrewzim) on


Flirty & Fun Valentine’s Day Outfit Ideas

January 29, 2016

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching… seriously where has 2016 gone?! I’ve spent many of my Valentine’s Days with my girlfriends over wine and cheesy movies, but this year I actually have a pretty adorable date (but I’m a  bit partial).

Either way, I’ve always loved getting dolled up for the day, with light pinks, beading, flirty and feminine being my go-to style. This year, the year of vintage for me, I decided to take a peak at some vintage styles on Etsy. There were so many great options! Seriously drool worthy and I wanted them all, especially the champagne pink beaded blouse. This is why I love vintage. The pieces are so unique, no one will have that look or something nearly as fabulous, I guarantee it! Below I included my treasury with my favorite items. What are your go-to choices for date nights? For a girls night out?

Vintage 1950s Dress | Pink L…


plus size magenta dress hot …


Vintage Bamboo Print Dress |…


60’s Babydoll Pink Short…


Pink Paisley Dress | Plus Si…


Plus Size Pink Pastel Pleate…


Plus Size Vintage Dress / 60…


Vintage Plus Size / Plus Siz…


CLEARANCE SALE Ladybug dress…


Plus Size Holiday Dress // V…


1950’s red button down s…


Champagne Pink Beaded Sequin…


Vintage 70s Dress – Plus Si…


Vintage Plus Size Skirt / Pl…


Plus Size – Vintage Pink Pas…


Hot Pink polka dot sheer Dre…


Powered By Handmadeology


Are You Afraid of Vintage? Do Not Fear, Vintage Styling Is Here!

January 28, 2016

I’ve always been in love with the past. From my obsession with ‘The Sound of Music’ and Jane Austen to taking the most random and (to me at least) interesting history classes in college. I’ve always also loved fashion. But vintage fashion? It scared me a little.

Sadly, as a plus size gal, finding on trend, fashionable trends IN THE PRESENT is hard enough? Can I get an amen? Let alone trying to find vintage pieces. Vintage also seems for the tiny. Finding plus size vintage pieces seemed like finding a unicorn or Big Foot. Styling vintage pieces for modern looks also seemed daunting.

Yet, treasure hunting at thrift stores was something I also loved. And, after moving to the Big Twin Cities, I’ve found SO MANY adorable plus size pieces that gave me hope that I too could enjoy vintage clothing in my size. SO, I’ve opened If I Were Jane Vintage. I want to spread the vintage and body positivity love. I also wanted to help styling vintage looks easier.

Also, I think in general many women are afraid of vintage. They love the look, but they don’t know how to pull it off in the modern world. I’m here to help! Every week I’ll be sharing how to style an item or two in my shop. Today I started with one of my latest finds that I love-this paisley dress blouse. I’m going to have to send my boyfriend to photography lessons so I have my own personal photographer… for now ‘Rhonda’ my dress form will have to show off the pieces. 
Vintage Plus Size

Plus Size Vintage

Plus Size Vintage

First I paired the shirt with a maroon blazer I’ve had in my closet for ages from Forever 21 along with a grey tutu style skirt that is very modern and on trend. I love matching vintage with trendy modern pieces.

Secondly, I paired the shirt with a brown blazer (also in my shop here) with some grey dress paints I also had from my closet. Super adorable for work! It also looks great without a blazer for warmer months.

Lastly, I paired the shirt with a forest grey wool skirt that I found on $1.29 Goodwill sale day. I’m debating on whether putting it in the shop, because it’s also vintage!

Does this help make vintage seem less scary? Do you have any styling questions for vintage pieces you may have or be coveting? Shoot me a message or comment below! I’d be happy to help!