Friday, June 23, 2017

A Home Away from Home

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Remember like four months ago when I told y'all that I had finally gotten a job and was finally moving up and out? In case you missed it ... that happened. I moved to D.C.; or rather the D.C. area-ish. I'm currently living with family in Maryland with a fun (read: long) commute into the city every morning. But actually, I won't complain. I'm #blessed to have family here to help me save up money before I venture out on my own. Speaking of which ... I have officially started the search for a new place. That's right! I'm on the hunt for a room with off-street parking—fun fact, I am very much afraid of street parking. :)

Anyway, since I really wasn't sure how long I would be staying with family, I was very unsure of how much of my stuff to bring. I'm not someone who likes to roll in with everything they own in tow ... that seems a bit presumptuous, right?

But at the same time, I did want to feel at home. I was going to be coming back to this bedroom every night after work and needed it to be a place for me to unwind from the stresses of the day. Even though I was told I didn't need to, I brought my own bedding with the encouragement of my mother. There is just something about the Room Essentials brand microfiber sheets from Target that I absolutely love. They are so comfortable!

I brought a bunch of books. Books I haven't read yet, but have had for approximately 1,000 years. Cookbooks since I knew I needed to find new things to keep my appetite up through the week.

After a few months, I went home to visit my parents and came back with my record player, and a few of my favorite records. The room has my scent now; I have candles and sprays everywhere.

I got comfortable buying things for the room that I wanted and knew I would use down the road in future rooms. I bought a cute retro style fan from TJ Maxx, since it is so so hot south of the Mason-Dixon line.

In my next place, I hope to feel a bit stronger a sense of permanence, though I know it won't be permanent. But the kind of permanence where you feel comfortable sticking a few nails in the wall and hanging up fancy wall art like the adult that you are. Of course, I will have to become a collector of such art first.

I do have a ton of photos of family and friends, though! However, I do feel slightly uncomfortable hanging too many pictures of them and having their eyes follow me room to room as I make my daily questionable decisions. Since most of these photos are stored in a digital space (very millennial, I know) and printing them seems a little excessive, I am a fan of placing the files in a digital frame and having it slide photo to photo. Check out these frames from Aura! How cute are they? You better believe the ivory and rose gold colored frame is all up in my shopping cart. And when you think about it, this is a way simpler idea than dealing with hanging frames on the wall and stepping back to see that one is like three inches lower than the rest, and you don't run the risk of people pointing out the aggressive number of picture frames crammed on bookshelves—I obviously have some opinions. Haha!

<3 Ashley

How do you make your space feel like "home?"

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Dream Dressing Room

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I have spent many valuable hours (read: work hours) daydreaming lately. Having just moved to a new area and getting ready to enter into the transition of finding my own place, I have been doing a lot of fantasizing about what some of that space might look like. Of course my living room will have cushy seating and lovely wall art. The bathroom will have a distinct color scheme and hip accents. My bedroom will be a literal paradise because, duh ... it's me. Then I imagine opening up a pair of French doors leading from the bedroom into the amazing closet/dressing room. Note: I find that it is easiest to dream when one does not have the adequate funds to make the dream a reality; #firstjobstruggs, amirite?

But let's continue our tour through the closet, shall we? As a child of the MTV Cribs generation, I cannot have a dream closet without a massive shoe wall a la Kimora Lee Simmons—I feel that sentence was very 2005.

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Between the floor to ceiling windows, and the beautiful lighting fixtures, this will be the best lit dressing room ever. The windows will be dressed in soft, sheer drapes. I've been scrolling through the lighting fixtures at Arhaus, which conveniently (or dangerously) has stores located in the D.C. area. Perhaps one of these fabulous pendant fixtures hanging from the ceiling can fit in my dream. Tbh, I like the look of the Annabella light.

There will be paper ... yes there will be wallpaper, my friends. I'm thinking white with a gold pattern—I'd hate to be very plain. The shelving and furniture will be an antique off-white color. Not straight white, because I do not wish to blind myself; that certainly wouldn't be very good when picking out a stylish outfit, would it?

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I want a massive mirror in a tarnished gold frame leaning against the wall. Hardwood floors throughout, with a few soft, rose colored rugs. Of course, there needs to be some seating for the squad to hang out on while we take turns rummaging through the wardrobe before heading out for an incredible night (in this fantasy have a booming social life ... bear with me.) I love those big comfy chairs in the image above. ^

Ideally, despite the size of my dream closet, I would be the kind of person who takes initiative and keeps it up-to-date and organized with the clothes and accessories that I actually wear. That way it wouldn't be too cluttered. But, you can't really trust me with that kind of responsibility; this post is coming from a girl dreaming of the world's nicest dressing room on an approximately $5 budget. :P

<3 Ashley

What does your dream dressing room look like?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Looking for a Little Inspiration

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Every once in awhile I hit a roadblock and am in desperate need for a little inspiration. Now ... because I'm a casual mess of a human, I look for inspiration in multiple areas. Perhaps we will explore all of them down the road. For now, I am focused on just one: food. With the change in the weather and the seasons, so does change my cravings. This makes sense. The seasons change and so too do the foods that are in abundance. For example: strawberries are the only fruit on my mind, and spinach is the base for all of my salads.

But beyond that I feel stuck. Having to plan lunches for the week doesn't make the situation less annoying ... ya feel?

I mean I do little things like buy Greek olives on a whim, or dabble in artichokes. However, every time I cook the result is a pasta/rice dish, eggs, or a flatbread. I essentially take the same salad to work every day interchanging shrimp and chicken as the protein. I would love to switch things up every now and then to keep my diet more exciting—and keep myself from wandering into a restaurant for a $10 salad. Message to the city of D.C.: salads don't need to be $10.

I have amassed quite a collection of cookbooks for a 20-something who only cooks for herself on any given night and does approximately zero entertaining. So I have resolved to flipping through one or two to at least get a list of ingredients for the week that will maybe inspire several dishes. Does anyone else get into a food funk with the season change?

<3 Ashley

What are your favorite dishes to make in the summer?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Summer Wedding Tips

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Tis the season ... wedding season. What better time to tie the knot than under the sun on the beach, or under moonlight of the cool summer nights?

I remember being the flower girl at my aunt and uncle's summer afternoon wedding and then dancing (and eating) the night away under the stars. But when you are not part of the wedding party, what is one to do for dress? Fear not—I have just a few things that I like to consider before the big day:

Consider the invitation. Is there a theme or selected colors for the wedding? What time of year and day are you attending? Is it outside or inside? These are the important questions to ask. Also, take into consideration the location for the reception. The graphic below offers some great quick tips for the different type of wedding celebrations.

Think comfort. I love to find a dress that can easily make the transition from the tradition of the wedding ceremony to the fun that the couple has planned for the reception. Make sure you've selected something that you are comfortable dancing the night away in.

Are you going in a pair? I am by no means insinuating that you go all out prom night and throw on a lime green tie to match your date's lime green dress. However, if you are going as part as a couple, you should aim to complement your partner's look.

Check out this helpful graphic below from The Black Tux, which provides men with a great option for suit/tux rental. Renting is always a great way to curb cost if the item in question is not something you wear regularly. Lord knows I wish my prom dress came from Rent-the-Runway and was sent right back ... instead of being a large midnight blue clump taking up valuable space in my closest.


<3 Ashley

Do you have go-to guidelines for wedding wear? Share in the comments!

Monday, May 29, 2017

We Remember

https://www.instagram.com/amor0713/
National World War II Memorial

Today, here in the U.S., is a day of remembrance dedicated to those who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our nation's past, present, and future. I am proud to be a part of a family that boasts a number of dating back to the War for Independence.  Now that I am in D.C., I was able to experience Memorial Day weekend and took the opportunity to visit the Vietnam Memorial yesterday to find the name of a relative lost during the war on the wall there.

Take a moment today to think about those who gave it all in an effort to protect freedom and progress.

<3 Ashley

Sunday, May 21, 2017

So How About That Weather

 Just another artsy shot taken outside of a Starbucks

Ya'll ... what is this weather lately? We are now living in a world where 90 degree days happen and then the world bounces back to a casual 70 degrees.

This would be the way I start a blog post after so much silence, right? Talking about the weather.  I'm sorry that I am the actual embodiment of "the worst."

But real talk: since it's been so hot, I decided to lift the ban on spending outside of gas and groceries and bought a few dresses that I can wear to work. Let me tell you, the District was hot and humid those 90 degree days last week. So I bought these super cute dresses and I was feeling super great about it. Then I saw the forecast for the week and I will probably wear these dress zero times this week.

Am I the only one who gets super bummed when I can't debut an outfit to the world immediately? Am I the only psycho here?

Then I went and bought myself some new flats and sandals because walking around D.C. the excessive amount I do has made my shoes so gross! So I guess the good news here is my wardrobe has gotten a little refresh before we reach the depths of these warm months.

As an update while I'm here: I am so happy right now. My job is great, and I am loving the chance to get to know this city outside of what I got to know as a tourist growing up. I also find myself staring longingly into expensive bars and restaurants cuz I'm not quite cool enough to walk in and fit in - something about me still screams "rural Pennsylvania!" So, my D.C. alter-ego is still a work in progress. ;)

<3 Ashley

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Adventures of a First Time Adult

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As of yesterday I have considered myself an adult for about two months. For me, obtaining a full time, salaried job makes me a grown-up. It wasn't graduating college. I wasn't the first bill for my student loan repayment adventures—check-in with me in 20 years!—it was the day I walked into the office in my "trying too hard" professional outfit and faux confident smile. Granted, that first day turned into the most hectic and awkward day, which set the tone for my time in this position. Yesterday marked two full years as a working adult.

During those two months I navigated my way through selecting all the insurances, dedicated myself to packing healthy lunches everyday, committing to continuing my fitness regime, thinking about my bank account constantly, and making sure that I speak with my parents at least once a week...I seem to have developed the habit of calling my mother every night.  She misses me right? ;P

College was like adulthood-lite. Of course, in college we are responsible for getting ourselves up and to class. It was up to us to maintain motivation to do well and get to the finish line. But there was the familiar safety net: my parents handled the hard stuff. Now I'm getting my car inspected and setting appointments to make adjustments so I can keep it running for another year. I am planning my meals through the week so that I buy just what I need at the store and don't shop without a plan. I am incredibly restrained and no longer make whim purchases. I think about the dentist more than I would like.

Here I am now. Getting my thoughts together before heading into a very busy week, drinking a glass of white, watching a special on Princess Diana, avoiding the basket of laundry that is looking at me expecting me to act responsibly and against my own habits; I have a tendency to let the clothes just sit in the basket until the next laundry day. This is real. This is me. (This is me quoting Camp Rock.)

Thank you for reading the latest installment of "Late Night Thoughts with a Young Woman Who Really Should Go to Bed Now."

- Ashley

Are you finding "adulting" to be an amiable experience?