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Storm Down The Door of Life With a Hatchet + Some GUMPTION.

In: Feeling Dead and Uninspired

I always wanted to be the woman with the white floppy hat.

The one with the easy laugh, where time had not made her older, but all the more delightful.

The one who carries a basket of strawberries wherever she goes, the one who frolics in fountains, the one who holds his gaze just a little too long, who doesn't care if her hair gets wet in the rain, and whose signature scent is mystery–the straight up parfum version.

For the record, more people should carry baskets of strawberries, don't you think?

The woman with the white floppy hat knows her likes and her dislikes, as well as her great loves–and never apologizes for any of it. She radiates don't-give-a-damn bravado, while at the same time, manages to be elegant, ladylike, and effortlessly cool.

She can have a temper, however, because all great women also have their fire. And with good reason, because these kinds of women have their convictions about things. They've drawn their lines, they've taken their stands, they've dug up the unapologetic confidence to embrace their beliefs–the ones that make them who they are.

I recently posted a quote up on the TMFproject Facebook page that said:

Would Cleopatra have become a legend if she doubted her beauty and power?

And as I read that quote, I thought of my woman with the white floppy hat.

The one who's only a figment of my imagination, but who is always whispering into my ear, lulling me to lean into life just a little bit more.

::  It's because of her that I started my first copywriting company, without enough money in the bank to do so.

::  It's because of her that I found the nerve to leave the house, the relationship and the stability I built, in a comfy development in Philadelphia–in favor of my pleading heart, begging me to GROW.

::  It's because of her that I first left on a whim for both Costa Rica and later Chile, not knowing who or what I would find there.

::  It's because of her that I started TMFproject–this site–almost four years ago.

::  It's because of her that I dropped everything and pirouetted across the United States in a two-door car with nothing but my music and my gumption.

::  It's because of her that I found my strength again after The Mexican.

::  It's because of her that, the following year, I showed up to live in a never-before-seen apartment in Barcelona to live with people I'd never-before-met or talked to–and ended up rekindling a romance with a Spaniard I once met in London, many years earlier.

::  It's because of her that I then took the money that friends are putting down on houses and spending on car payments, and instead, went with Kyle to France. To Patagonia. To Ecuador. And soon, Colombia. (Click on those links for scandalous photos of us at each place.)

::  And weaved throughout it all, it's because of her that I love when I am not sure I should, and love even more when I am sure I shouldn't.

::  It's because of her that I've learned to have faith in the process. Faith in the unknown. And faith in knowing that when I put my mind to something, I will succeed.

::  It's because of her that I survived.

::  It's because of her that today I thrive.

:: And it's even because of her that I sometimes work far too less, and attend happy hour far too much (that troublesome bitch), because at my god damn funeral, I don't want them to remember what I did; I want them to remember who I was. The laughter, the good spirits (no pun intended), the connection we had, and the way we felt ALIVE.

It is she who guides me.

Who helps me remember to only do the things that would make me proud of my future self; the future self who carries strawberries, and few regrets.

I'd say I can't wait to meet her.

Except I know that, deep down, she's already arrived.

Minus the floppy hat, of course–those bitches were on backorder.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

-Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver

Oct 22


You Think The Stakes Are High Now? Please.

Oct 22, 2013

I wonder about people. Specifically about the 50-something woman speaking softly at the table next to me, telling another woman how she desperately wants to go abroad—because, verbatim, it would be the opportunity of a lifetime—but… And her words trail off. JUST LIKE HER DREAMS. Kidding. Dramatic doesn’t look good on me. But, really. What […]

In: Feeling Dead and Uninspired


Apr 30


If You Feel Like a Big, Fat Imposter Who Doesn’t Deserve Anything and Worries About EVERYTHING, Read This. It’s a GOOD Thing.

Apr 30, 2018

I’m writing this from a place that could almost be mistaken for the Italian countryside, were I not surrounded by lizards and toucans and bullfrogs the size of a fucking dinosaur. Rather, I am high up in the hills of Central America overlooking the Costa Rican valley from my squishy, pancake lounger—it sort of reminds me of […]

In: Feeling Dead and Uninspired, Feeling Disillusioned With Life


Jul 18


The Real Value of Travel (Come Sneak Away to the Beaches of Costa Rica, If You Dare)

Jul 18, 2010

A Sexy Story With a Lesson We sit in near silence, the only interruptions being an occasional mojito-induced outburst of nervous laughter, the sound of my silver chandelier earrings gently clinkering together, and the relentless tropical rains that steadily pelt the top of the canvas roof of the 4×4 automobile we are in. It’s shamelessly […]

In: Feeling Dead and Uninspired


Sep 5


Are You Going To Be Someone Who Does? Or Doesn’t? (Warning: Contains Least Amount of Swear Words Ever Written On TMF)

Sep 5, 2012

It’s 5am. I’m checking out of my hotel in Buenos Aires, and I’m hoping the $80 eye cream I bought is ACTUALLY HELPING ME NOT LOOK LIKE I JUST CRAWLED OUT FROM UNDER A MOSSY, EARTH-STENCHING, FUNGI-COVERED ROCK. Mostly because I knew Andrés would be checking me out–hopefully in more ways than one. Andrés isn’t actually his name, as […]

In: Feeling Dead and Uninspired


Oct 25


Be Brave, Courageous, Interesting, Crazy, Difficult, Weird, and Downright Complicated. But Don’t You Ever Be Normal.

Oct 25, 2018

You know what’s fucked up? Normal. Normal is so fucked up. For example, it’s normal for expats to drink daily in Costa Rica. This is a terrible idea, and yet, because it’s done over and over again, it’s become normalized. NO ONE WILL GIVE YOU THE STINK EYE FOR SLUGGING A BEER AT 10AM, Y’ALL. […]

In: Feeling Dead and Uninspired, Feeling Disillusioned With Life


Mar 30


When Following the Crowd is GOOD FOR YOU.

Mar 30, 2017

So the other day, it happened. There was one person stubborn enough to finally coerce me into doing the one thing I’d promised I’d never do. I’d hedged for many painful weeks. (Okay, fine, months.) I’d squirmed and I’d squithered (new favorite word) and I’d writhed and I’d wriggled. And yet, she kept asking. “Today […]

In: Feeling Dead and Uninspired


Jan 30


The Numbers Don’t Mean Jack.

Jan 30, 2013

Hi.  It’s me, Ash. Was that obvious? I’m sorry to pardon your regular programming, but today we’re going to talk numbers. I hate numbers–you can go square root your mom. But sometimes, you’ve got to look at ’em. You know…like when it’s tax season. As you may remember, in 2011 I publicly showed the world how to make […]

In: Feeling Dead and Uninspired


I'm a Bad Influence on Women

Hey, I’m Ash! Twenty years ago I was a small town girl growing up in a trailer park in rural Pennsylvania. Fifteen years ago, I lost my family and everything I knew right as I became the first to graduate college. Fourteen years ago, I found myself leaving everything behind for a new life in the city where I could be “normal.” Ten years ago I realized normal was the most disappointing thing that ever happened to me. Nine years ago I quit my job in advertising and pursued my dreams as a creative writer. Eight years ago, I built a 6-figure business doing what I love using nothing more than the Internet and my voice. And now, today, I’m the founder of The Middle Finger Project, an irreverent media co. that helps other women find their voice and teaches them to use it to build whatever the f*ck they want to. With a book coming out with Penguin Random House in February 2020 (YASSS, WE’RE A PRODUCT IN TARGET!) I’m proud to be a bad influence on women and guide them into doing something disobediently brave with their life and their career.

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