Thursday, September 22, 2016

Fall So Hard

#tbt to last fall and adventures apple picking in Wexford!

Did anyone else wake up this morning aggressively craving a pumpkin spice latte and a jaunt through an apple orchard? Just me? Great.

Fall is finally here. This is Christmas for my people (read: those with Pinterest accounts and a love of layering and booties.) For several reasons all unrelated to each other my summer has been hands down the worst on of my life. Seriously summer 2016, thanks for all the stress. But fall? Mmm...I can smell it on the crisp morning breeze; it's about to get good.

With the changing of the season I always find that my attitude changes. Call me crazy, but summer might actually be my least favorite season. For some reason I do not enjoy being hot, sweaty, and physically uncomfortable all the time.

This month I'm going to try super super hard (honestly!) to blog a lot more often. This summer just felt like one big creative slump. Seriously, my brain felt drained. But as things start to look up and I commit to being a lot more positive I think that the creative juices can start flowing again and you can expect to see a lot more fun content on Sunday Brunch!

<3 Ashley

Are you excited for fall? How do you experience and celebrate the physical and symbolic transitions that the change in seasons provide?

Friday, September 9, 2016

Beautiful Superfoods

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Going into my freshman year of college I resolved to change up my lifestyle in favor of a healthier one. Not to say that I was a totally unhealthy person beforehand, but my eating habits and physical activity probably was not top notch. Each student on campus had access to at least one fitness center on campus and is equipped with a meal plan that provides an endless array of possibilities. But those possibilities also include foods and snacks that are maybe not-so-good for you. Along with all of the other research I did for classes, I also focused some research on nutrition and what was best for consumption. I was amazed at the kinds of effects that these foods not only have on internal health, but also, externally, how it can be a part of your beauty routine.

While I certainly sing the praise of health foods overall, there are some that I won't even go near—get that kale and tofu away from me! But that's the thing: you don't need to be the big bad super foods monster. Pick and choose. What do you like and what will be best for you? Here are some of my favorites:

- Blueberries: This is my ultimate. I could snack on bluebs for years. I think I get this from my mother actually. It's one of those things that we have in common. I've read that these little blue orbs help to fight against premature aging of skin. Happy I started early! Blueberries are great for getting your brain up and going, and get you ready and focused. I actually make sure to have blueberries in whatever I am eating for breakfast the morning of a job interview!

- Olive oil: Not necessarily a food, but it is a staple in my food prep process. Anything that goes into the skillet or is roasted in the oven is accompanied by a healthy amount of olive oil. While it is great for you internally, you can also use the oil on your skin and in your hair if you're in need of some moisturizing. I would use it if

- Yogurt: Call me crazy, but I actually love a bowl of plain Greek yogurt (with some berries and granola mixed in!) Yogurt has a ton of calcium, which is wonderful for your bones of course, but also your nails!

- Dark chocolate: While I certainly go for the Dove dark stuff, I'm talking about some high cacao chocolate. Both my roommate senior year and I had a stash of bars containing at least 70 percent cacao. Dark chocolate is great for your skin and helps to keep it hydrated!

Nuts.com shares a few more ideas about some great super snacks that do wonders for your skin, hair, and nails. Check out this neat graphic!



You can also do a little bit more research on the greats like goji berries, matcha green tea, cacao nibs, and chia seeds.

<3 Ashley

What superfoods do you include in your diet for their health AND beauty benefits?

Thursday, September 1, 2016

September

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Can you believe that the last weeks of summer are upon us? Pretty soon the air will feel a little chillier and the leaves will start changing color and falling. Fall is—as with many women—my favorite season. The transitional seasons are just the best because they are not extremely hot or cold. Fall is just right. I am waiting to break out the boots, I want scarves back in my life, and it's only a matter of weeks before I show up shaking at a Starbucks demanding a large Pumpkin Spice Latte.

While I'm not one to wish the time away, ya'll know how this summer has treated me (per my last post). I'm ready to jump into a new season and new adventures...hopefully I will have those new adventures by the time fall officially starts.

Fall also means the return of college football; who needs the professional stuff? Be forewarned that Pitt is playing Penn State next weekend and I will be back in Pittsburgh for the game. Steer clear of my social media if you want to avoid the unreasonable amount of alumni school spirit and certain level of trash talk. ;P

<3 Ashley

Are you ready to ditch this hot summer for fall's cool embrace?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Day 112: Still Nothing

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I've been very quiet on here lately and I apologize for that—to be honest I'm kind of upset at myself for it. I am almost four months into my job search and still have not nailed down a regular morning commute. Did I think that a job would land in my lap upon leaving the Petersen Events Center on May 1? No. No I didn't. But no one ever told me about how long it could take for me to land my first post-grad job.

Summer 2016 will definitely go down as the least fun for me. Most days were spent in the confines of my bedroom pouring over listings on Indeed and Glassdoor, fielding email rejections from "Do Not Reply" addresses, and only just recently landing a few phone interviews. Note: I have actually had a couple of interviews for a job that I super want. Fingers crossed I get a face-to-face meeting in the next week! 

There is a lot that I wish I had done to make this process and summer as a whole a little easier on myself and my now insane stress/anxiety levels. 

I wish I had gotten myself a summer job. Maybe I should have just bitten the bullet and listened to my parents—but when does anyone my age ever really want to do that? As much as working retail in high school really destroyed my soul maybe I should have just gotten a job. Now, I have applied for a couple; to no avail. In a moment of sheer panic (those have happened sporadically over the past month) I did bring back my Care.com and Upwork.com accounts in search for short jobs that would give me just a little bit of money to work with. That being said: if anyone is in need for a freelance writer/editor...hit a girl up!

I also wish I had just gotten out of the house more. It's tough since I have a grand total of one friend still here at home and she works through the week. I was really envisioning a summer made up of more happy hours and nights chatting it up. Of course, I initially was also imagining a summer still in Pittsburgh. 

The biggest lesson I've learned through this whole process and ordeal of a summer is this: very little is probably going to work out the way you think it is. Especially at this point. My future is still in a very uncertain place and to a personality like mine that is a scary idea. I like to have a plan. I like to know. I have also learned that the waiting is the worst. No company will respond in a matter of days no matter how much you will your email to show an incoming message. There are companies I honestly waited months for just to be rejected. As someone coming from part-time jobs and internships that came a bit easier, this can be a pretty rough realization.

I just hope that with the few interviews that I have started to schedule that a trying summer will give way to an active and fruitful autumn.

<3 Ashley

How do you/did you deal with your post-grad job search? 
Also: in all seriousness...freelance editing/writing...I got you. I don't charge like crazy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Surf vs. Turf

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The internal argument for me used to be: to shop or not to shop? Now that I understand myself and know that the perpetual answer is to shop, a new question has presented itself: shop online or in-person?

While getting out of the house and walking a distance greater than that of my bedroom to the kitchen would be the healthy and logical answer the world of online shopping can seem so much more alluring at times. It can be more convenient, you can take as much time as you need without the sales associate breathing down your throat, no waiting in lines, and sometimes it can be easier to spot the deals. Do I sound like an anti-social millennial yet?

Sounds like online shopping wins. But, hang on! What if you are like me and your sizing is by no means consistent? I'm looking at you jeans! There are several situations like this where it's just easier to go to the store and spend some time trying everything on since there really is no telling if the item in your online shopping cart is actually going to fit the way that you are expecting it to. Then you have to return it if it doesn't and that takes even more time on top of the 5-7 business days you spent waiting for the item initially.

When I shop I prefer to do it in-person if I can. That way I don't have to play the waiting game and don't have to pay for shipping. If no store has what I am looking for, only then will I turn over my attention and my card to my good friend, Amazon.

<3 Ashley

So what about you? Do you surf the web for your fashion finds or do you prefer to see the options right in front of you?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

#BeachDayMusts

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When the sun's out and the temps are up it can be difficult to find the motivation to step out of the air conditioning. The only way you will find me out in the heat is if there is a cool body of water nearby. For those blessed afternoons spent lounging in the sand or poolside I have an arsenal of items that are essential to the perfect day. 



Swimsuit and coverup. Of course you have to wade the water in style! While swimsuit shopping historically draws up strong (read: negative) emotions, I love going through the different options and colors to find what works best for me. Lately, I love a vintage silhouette—high-waisted bottoms and a slightly conservative top. I'm in love with polka dots so my pick from Adore Me is perfect! It's cute, classic, and perfect for an afternoon reading and catching rays by the water. When it comes to coverups, I like to keep it simple and classic. Adore Me's Gwendolen cover is lightweight button down shirt, which works with my aesthetic; like a beachy Holly Golightly! 

Bold sunnies. I have a problem: sunglasses. I simply have too many, but I just can't stop. Ask my brother...he yells at me every time he notices a new pair on my face. But no two are the same. In my opinion, sunnies are one of the best accessories that show case your personality—there are just so many fun shapes and colors! Ban.dō is one of my favorite websites to figuratively window shop for bold and colorful accessories. This pair of sunglasses features a fun, gold cat eye frame. And if you know me...you know I try to paint my life in gold. 

A nautical tote. I'm a sucker for a theme and aesthetic. When it comes to the beach, the sea and sailing are themes that I take the whole nine yards. This striped tote from Kate Spade's Broome Street collection speaks to the theme. Is there anything better than blue and white stripe against the background of the open sea? The answer is 'No. There is not.'

Reading material. While getting a little wet should be a goal when walking down the sand toward the water, I take advantage of the R&R opportunity and usually carry along a book and a few fashion magazines. You check back on my summer reading list for some inspiration for your next beach read.

Don't forget a towel, SPF, and H2O. Oh—and it's probably a good idea to have some money on you. You know...for when the ice cream cart comes your way. ;) For more swimwear ideas check out the swim selection on Adore Me—they have great styles in many different sizes! 

<3 Ashley

What are your beach day musts? Share along on Instagram with Adore Me and myself using the hashtag #BeachDayMusts!

Monday, July 18, 2016

"I Don't Know About You.."

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"...but I'm feeling 22." Yep. Another year older but none the wiser. But it's only been a few days so give me a minute and maybe the wisdom will show up. :P

The one thing I love about my birthday is that it tends to be a quiet affair. It's in the summer, tends to be during the week (really...a Saturday birthday would be swell!) and, especially now, very few friends are home to celebrate. But you won't find me disappointed in the fact that I can't celebrate by painting the town red into the early morning hours. I love spending the day grabbing a meal out with the fam. And last night was actually my preferred method of celebrating myself: homemade nachos, many helpings of margarita, my birthday cupcake, and an in-home double feature (who says no to Sex and the City AND The Devil Wears Prada?)

And since not everyone is around at one time to celebrate the day with me, that only means that the celebration must be spread out—I'm not complaining. I love setting up dinners and happy hours with friends as they find they are available to set aside some time to hang out; especially since my summer has consisted of sitting inside for hours weeding through job descriptions and applying to companies that may or may not get back to me. Perhaps being another year older and wiser will bring good things on that front. :)

<3 Ashley