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#BalanceforBetter: International Women's Day 2019

Happy International Women's Day to all of the amazing women in this world! For this post, I have teamed up with Style Collective to spread the mission of this inspirational holiday. For those of you who have never heard of International Women's Day, it is a "global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women." This day is about all of the #girlbosses, #influencers, #entrepreneurs, #leaders, #teachers, #bossbabes, and any other amazing women who have made a difference in this world. We are all leaders in our own way, which is why it's so important to inspire and support one another. This year's theme is #BalanceforBetter, so several of us are joining together to stand up for gender equality.

Introduce yourself, your blog, and tell us why you started it.

My name is Ashley Nicole Sullivan and I'm the creator of Blessed in Lilly. I started my blog in December 2018 because I've always had a passion for inspiring others. When I was younger, I would write stories and share them with everyone around me. I even attended a conference to share my book with other writers. Writing was a creative outlet for me, which eventually turned into volunteering in my community. The joy I see on people's faces from my love and support moves mountains. It's absolutely incredible to know that something as little as a smile can leave the biggest impact on someone. Eventually, I wanted to put my two passions together, so I joined The Odyssey at SVSU. It was an amazing experience because I was able to write articles and share advice with the world. I always asked myself, "What kind of advice would you want in this situation?" and then wrote about it. Unfortunately, I left after a couple months because the group's mission statement didn't align with my values at all. They were focused more on clickbait, while I was trying to spread inspiration. After a couple years of thinking about blogging and pushing it off, I finally got the courage to start Blessed in Lilly. This is my place to share inspiration through beauty, fashion, health, etc. and be completely myself. I've only been blogging for a few months, but I've already met some of the most amazing women. I'm excited to continue this journey and see where it takes me!

What is your personal mission statement?

"Always be yourself. You know who you are inside and the person you're meant to be. Regardless of what people say, show them your best qualities and stand out above the crowd. People will judge, people will stare, people will hate, but always stay true to yourself and let your light shine."

What are some big goals that you’ve accomplished?

One thing I've always done in life is dream big. I've done this my entire life and I like to make future goals for myself. Once I achieve a goal, I cross it off the list and soak in the moment. There have been so many smaller goals, but there are definitely some that I'll always remember.

1. Purchasing my first "big girl" vehicle - I had my Jeep Liberty for about 4 years, but it already had several miles on it when I purchased it. Once it died, I was looking for another cheap vehicle, but that wasn't the most logical thing to do. For the first time ever, I took out a loan to buy the 2017 Chevy Trax! This was such an accomplishment and I was so proud to make such a big purchase. This was definitely an adult moment for me!

2. Finding my dream career - I'm currently in my 5th year of college and it definitely hasn't been easy. I started my freshman year as an Elementary Education major, but quickly realized it wasn't for me. I loved working with children and inspiring others, but being stuck in a classroom all day didn't sound like a good life. Don't get me wrong, teaching is wonderful, but it wasn't something that interested me. I then switched my major to Computer Science (I know, completely different!). I was interested in designing websites and found it enjoyable, but quickly realized Computer Science was much more than that. There were so many complicated programming codes and techniques to learn. It was hard and I struggled with it the further I got. I started to ask myself, "Is this the right field for me?" I ended up doing one more career change - Occupational Therapy. I went through OT as a child, so I already knew a lot about it. It was fun, it was interesting, and I loved learning about the human body. Every medical class and psychology class was enjoyable. I always left my classes wanting to know more and get started as an OT. Just the thought of becoming a pediatric OT someday honestly makes me smile.

3. Making it to Nationals - I have been a dancer since I was 4 years old. It's basically part of my blood. When I was in middle school, my studio started a competition team and we competed in tap. I did this for several years before going solo. I performed a jazz solo to "Firework by Katy Perry." It was absolutely incredible and such a rush! I always lose myself in the moment during a performance and float on cloud nine. I ended up making it to Nationals in Ohio, which is the first time anyone at my studio had ever made it that far! Unfortunately I didn't get to perform (not enough teams signed up), but I was still super proud for making it that far. I really wish I could've performed at Nationals, but just knowing I made it is such an accomplishment.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

To me, International Women's Day is about celebrating each woman's accomplishments in life. We all categorize success differently, but even the smallest accomplishments are something to be proud of. We should all be supportive of other women and lift each other up. This is a day to appreciate one another and show that us as women will stand together and create something beautiful.

What does being a member of Style Collective mean to you?

Style Collective is about family. You're given an amazing sisterhood of supportive bloggers you can always go to for advice. No matter questions you have, my SC sisters are always there to help out! Everyone is so kind, wonderful, and knowledgeable. I haven't been a member for very long, but I've already made several amazing friendships and learned more about the blogging industry. I highly appreciate Annie Spano for creating this amazing community for growing blogger babes!

Tell us three fun facts about you and let’s celebrate the fearless woman that you are!

1. If I'm looking down at the ground, I will not step on a crack! This applies both indoors and outdoors. I don't know what it is, but it's just something I find myself doing without thinking! (Pretty strange, huh?)

2. I'm the biggest karaoke singer when I'm driving alone. I will crank up Spotify and sing at the top of my lungs! (Cue Sucker by The Jonas Brothers) However, don't ask me to do that while you're with me because I'll shut down. I'm such a cowardly lion!

3. Shopping is my retail therapy (literally). Anytime I'm stressed out or having a rough week, I love taking trips to the mall! Just being able to try on clothes and see cute things brings me happiness. Some might say I'm obsessed with shopping, but it's definitely my therapy!

Even though today is about celebrating women and their accomplishments, I hope we continue to do this for the rest of our lives and always lift each other up. Let's make everyday International Women's Day and be proud of the amazing women we are!

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