Don’t Try So Hard

I really like reading ‘the “florkens”‘ (who doesn’t?), but when Kate announced her “Don’t Try so Hard” link-up, featuring pictures of yourself without your hair and makeup done, I wasn’t sure it was really for me. Why? Because I don’t try that hard….every single day. I can’t be scared of what the world thinks of me without being all dolled up because you’ve all seen it before. I’m still trying to figure out makeup, and one of the only times you’ll find me wearing makeup is if I’m going out for a big-ish event. Dinner with friends might qualify, depending on my mood. I’ll definitely throw on mascara for a wedding. Ya get me? 

Try not to hate me and stop reading my blog forever and ever when you read this, but….I never had acne issues. Not even as a teenager. I would break out a bit on my forehead when I got really stressed, like during exams in college….but other than that….my skin is relatively acne-free. I don’t really have any secrets to pass along about my naturally acne-free skin. I don’t use a special face wash (ok, I don’t use any face wash at all…just water on my face in the shower…) or creams, or moisturizers, or anything. I know about 90% of the females on the planet will want to kill me for not having to deal with this, but I have no control over it so please don’t hate me! 

Anyway, my blemish-free skin didn’t require the use of a lot of makeup as a teenager. I was a competitive golfer, and frankly I knew I would be hot and sweaty anyway, so I didn’t worry too much about trying to look great every day. So missed that whole part when you learn all about makeup (P.S. – where do you learn these things anyway? Magazines? Friends? Mothers? Sisters?…not that I have any of those….). 

I am a tad more particular about my hair. I don’t like whispy pieces flying all over the place. I used to straighten it fairly regularly to keep them in control, but recently I found that if I use Aquage silkening oil in my hair before I blow-dry, it ends up fixing most of my whispy issues. Everyone who has lived with me will tell you that I spend at least an hour drying my hair….and I can’t deny it, because it’s completely true. There are two reasons for this. 1) My hair is insanely thick and I have a lot of it. It does actually take a long time to dry. 2) People (my parents when I was younger, and now my husband) don’t bother me when I’m drying my hair. It’s complete “me” time. I’ve usually used that time to just sit back and relax, and forget about everything else going on in my life. I read a book, I play a game on my iPad, catch up on the news, whatever. Occasionally I do use that time to be productive…like replying to e-mails, or researching something on the internet. But most of the time, it’s just relaxing. It doesn’t really have anything to do with looking good. 

Despite the fact that I have acne-free skin and thick hair, and despite the fact that I go out into the world without a whole lot of primping, I’m just as self conscious as every other woman out there. Pictures of myself aren’t really any different…these days I rarely find myself truly happy with any picture that I see of myself. But – this link-up is all about finding the beauty in our own natural selves…so here are a couple of photos where I didn’t try that hard and I still feel beautiful.

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We took this picture a few months ago on our house lot. We went over to check it out and I decided to take a selfie…just us on our land. My eyes are squinted, my bangs are insanely long, it was a bit chilly and my cheeks are all rosy, but I’m happy…and that is a beautiful thing. 

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If you want to see me in my natural state….this is it. That’s me in bed snuggling with Katie-dog. Of course Katie’s “awww” factor distracts from the fact that I’m right there next to her, but her presence always relaxes me and I think my general contentment can be seen in my face. 

Thanks to Kate for hosting this link-up…go check out all the other lovely ladies without their makeup on! Is it bad to admit that I’m surprised how GOOD everyone looks in their natural state? Seriously ladies…I think a lot of you would be just fine if you didn’t try so hard every single day! 

Jade and Oak


Until later, Ashlen


  • Isn’t it funny how pets just totally can change our mood and make us happy and smiley?! I had to grab my cat before I could even get a true smile for my no-makeup selfie. P.S. You’re gorg, girl:)

  • kdhopwood

    You don’t have to “try so hard” everyday, you’re SO pretty! Don’t be self conscious, you’re great!

  • Oh girl! I didn’t struggle with acne either! We’ll just keep our fingers crossed that we pass on those good genes huh? I really love the picture of you guys on your lot. You look so happy and SO beautiful! When someone is truly happy with the person they are (as you clearly are) I think it radiates through them! And girl — you are radiating!

    Thank you so much for linking up with us!


  • i am so jealous you never had acne. i got my first zit in the 4th grade and its plagued me ever since! i’ve always been jealous of people that don’t even wash their face and have flawless skin! but anyways besides your flawless skin, you’re beautiful! you’re smile is super cute and looks infectious 🙂

  • You are so beautiful and happy. Don’t worry about those bangs. Everyone has too long bangs from time to time. Hair can be weird. No big deal.

  • you look great and so happy in both photos. and i’m jealous of your thick hair!!