First, an explanation of this blog's name. People have always called me Ashley. Something about my full name (Natalie Ashcroft) just brings "Ashley" to the lips of those addressing me. I've been addressed as Ashley so many times that I now answer to it without hesitation. 

These days, I like to think of Ashley as my evil twin. She's the one I blame every time I feel dumb, plain, or boring, the one at fault any time I feel scared or inadequate. 

Well, my name is Natalie, and this blog is all about how I learned (and am still learning) to be a happy, confident person. By writing here I hope to share what I've discovered about dressing well, eating well, and being well, all in the pursuit of uncovering Natalie and putting Ashley behind, once and for all. I also write a fair amount about books, TV shows, movies, and other cultural things I love, and I hope to start writing more in-depth posts on current events and issues important to me.

A little about my background: I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. I am the eldest of five children, a circumstance that shaped who I am more than anything else. I attended Rice University, also in Houston, and loved every single second of it. I'm married to a boy I met in the fourth grade, dated in the seventh grade, said goodbye to in the eighth grade when his family moved to another city, and said hello to six years later when we ran into each other at a party the summer after our freshman years of college. We've been together ever since. We got married two months after college graduation and moved to San Francisco the next day. We've lived in San Francisco for over four years now. 

I originally started this blog because I was working in banking, hated it, and desperately needed a creative outlet. Now I work at a tech startup and I love it. This blog has morphed with me. At first it was a secret (I was terrified people would think I was horribly lame), then it was my lifeline (I wrote five posts a week for an entire year), and now it's an intermittent hobby. It's written almost entirely for my friends and family--I don't think blogging fame is anywhere in my future. But who knows what it will be next. Whichever phase we're in, thanks so much for reading. I'm glad you're here.