Monday, March 30, 2015

Easter Dresses

If there is one thing that I absolutely love about spring, it's Easter! I have always enjoyed going to grandma's house for the Easter meal, engaging in egg hunts, painting eggs and getting tons of chocolate covered peanut butter and jelly beans. Even more so, I enjoy dressing up for Easter. There is just something about the day that inspires me to show up to the morning mass in my best dress. For me, that means my white dress from White House | Black Market. It is a beautiful dress that extends to the knees, has a frilled collar and looks great with a fresh pair of heels.

Here are just a few of the other kinds of dresses that I have taken notes of that would be perfect for an Easter day.

<3 Ashley

Do you have an Easter dress?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

An Open Window Policy

Nearly 60 degrees with rain showers. After months of bitter cold and snow fall nothing seems any better. That's the situation today and you better believe that my window is open. There is a light breeze and the distant sound of raindrops hitting surfaces outside and I have all of my paper writing necessities spread around me.

I have been up since 3:30 this morning (for reasons quite unknown) and after an attempt was made to get through my 9:30 class this morning I made the decision to just not continue with classes today. Luckily, in both of the other classes there was either presentations or review of readings that we have already discussed--I picked the right night to be restless! While I probably should try to nap and rest up, I have decided to use this time to my advantage and get things done. I have so much coming up in the next few weeks that any extra bit of time helps! Let's just hope it manages to get even warmer and the sun makes an appearance so I can move my paper writing outdoors!

<3 Ashley

Is spring beginning to show its face where you are?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

On Productivitiy

As a college student I have my studies, on campus job and the stress of applying for a million summer internships until some responds telling me that they are interested in giving me money and responsibility. Fingers crossed on that last one, folks! Anyway, I have a lot on my plate plus my commitment to blogging pretty frequently based on my stress level that week. While I do consider myself to be a well organized and responsible person, I do believe that there is always room for improvement.

This month I committed myself to figuring out ways to get even more organized and stay productive. If my assumptions based on the grades that I have gotten back are correct, I have some pretty squeaky clean grades and need to maintain them for this last month of the semester (read: hell month). I have millions of papers and digital media projects due throughout these next four weeks and need to distribute my attention to all of them somehow.

I have cleaned up my tech and downloaded a few apps to keep me organized as the spring semester draws to an end:

- Emails: As I am sure you do, I have more than one email account. I have decided to make the commitment to one and have linked the others so that all of my other mail can be forwarded to one account. This empties my brain of a few passwords!

- Sunrise Calendar: While I do have access to Google calendar, I have heard a lot about the Sunrise calendar app and have fallen in love with it. It is linked up on both my MacBook and my iPhone. I use this in conjunction with my weekly planner and my desk calendar. That way I am reminded constantly of impending due dates and events.

- EverNote: This is another nifty little app that can be downloaded on both your phone and computer. I like to use it for to-do lists, which I like to use for any tasks I have to do at work, and also grocery lists. It is also where I keep record of my blog content. I have several notes specific to different topics (i.e. recipes, lifestyle, etc).

<3 Ashley

How do you maintain your productivity and keep organized?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Sunday Brunch: Blueberry Cream Cheese Pancakes

This weekend we have been entertaining a guest and had to be sure to make it a good one. Happy to say that he pretty much experienced college in one night--good hosts for the win! We spent the days exploring some new places around Pittsburgh and doing some shopping. To keep with the theme of new things I decided to do something a little different with my Sunday brunch: blueberry cream cheese pancakes! Sounds yummy, right? You would be correct.

Here's what you need:
- 8 oz. package cream cheese
- 2 eggs
- 2 c. flour
- 1/3 c. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 1/4 c. milk
- 2 tbsp. butter, melted
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 1/2 c. blueberries

What to do:
- In medium bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs one at a time incorporating them into the cheese as you go.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Make a well in the center of the mixture.
- Add milk, butter and vanilla to the cream cheese mixture. Pour into dry ingredients. Stir until well mixed; stir in blueberries.
- Set lightly greased on medium heat. Cook pancakes just a few minutes on each side.

I have seen other ingredients that also include lemon in the recipe which I imagine is just delicious and summer-y! 

<3 Ashley

Will you try this yummy breakfast? 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Welcome Spring

That title should be sincere, right? I thought it was going to be sincere too when I woke up this morning to temps in the 40s and some rain. Then in the middle of breakfast things changed. Rain became...SNOW! It is beginning to taper off now, but that is not the point. Winter needs to take a hint and scram. Beautiful sunshine, singing birds and blooming flowers are on the way!

I am so excited for what spring has to bring. Easter (which I will be happy to spend with my roommate's family), the end of a tough semester, warmer weather, more sunshine and more walks in the park are right at the top of the list. Also, getting some more color and doing away with the pale, itchy winter skin will be on the to-do list as well.

In more immediate business: don't forget to pick up your free Rita's Italian ice today!!

<3 Ashley

Are you excited to step into spring? What do you enjoy most about the season?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Bedroom Decor Inspiration

As the school year begins to wind down, my friends and I find ourselves looking forward to moving into our house in August and decorating floor to ceiling with Pinterest DIY projects. However, I am thinking just a bit more about decorating my own bedroom. How exactly will I set up and decorate my new lady haven?

I am going to be limited by space--the room is pretty small--however the closet does make up for it a little bit! :)

Also very important to me is the fact that there will be real furniture in it. No more uniform dorm furnishings. I am purchasing a full bed from one of the girls who lives in the house currently. The room has a built-in book case. The only thing I need to look for is a desk and chair!

Here are a few of the rooms I am looking at to get me inspired and thinking about my own plan!

<3 Ashley

Any tips for decorating a small space? 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Just wanted to stop by before I start my day to say happy St. Patrick's Day! This is a holiday I hold near and dear to my heart from my days attending St. Patrick's school (flashback to elementary/middle school). I hope you enjoy you day wearing green, eating green minty things and grabbing a Guinness to accompany your kicking off of March Madness--if you do such things.

<3 Ashley

How do you celebrate St Patrick's Day?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday Brunch: Baked Blueberry Muffin Oatmeal

This week home from school has been so beyond relaxing. I'm happy that the break came when it did. However, I did manage to not touch any of my assignments so I have created a kind of hell week for myself when I get back. Oh well, what's a little extra work, right? I can just do it on the bus on the way back.

What I am going to miss during this next month and a half before the end of the semester (which I miss after every break) is waking up when I please and having a slow, relaxing morning with a breakfast into which I have actually put an effort. One breakfast that I made this week--as always inspired by what I find on Pinterest--was a baked blueberry muffin oatmeal. Yummy, right?! The original recipe from Mother Thyme below makes four ramekins full of oatmeal; I used a bit of math and guesswork to get it down to one serving.

What you need:
- 1 3/4 c. milk
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 c. old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 c. fresh blueberries
For the topping:
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp. butter

What to do:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Mix milk, sugar, vanilla and salt in saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil.
- Stir in oats and continue to cook 3-5 minutes until oatmeal has thickened
- Gently stir in blueberries and remove from heat; let sit for about 3 minutes
- In a medium bowl combine sugar, flour and butter. Mix with pastry blender or fork until butter resembles crumbs
- Spoon oatmeal into ramekins and distribute the topping over them
- Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake in the oven 10-15 minutes
- Remove and allow to cool a little. Enjoy!

Et voila! It was as delicious as it looked!

<3 Ashley

Are you going to try this yummy baked oatmeal?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Travel Tips

While I am sad that spring break is winding down--and I have not looked at my school work at all--I am also thrilled to get my last boring bus ride back to Pittsburgh out of the way. Next year we will have three parking spots at our house so I will be able to keep my car with me. This means that I can go get groceries without straining to carry them from the bus stop to my apartment, find an internship outside of the bus route and drive myself home for the holidays. I can honestly say that I will not miss riding the bus one bit (I get to save $95 from each break!) After taking so many trips, however, I find myself a little qualified to offer some tips about taking bus trips:

1 || Make sure you show up a bit early. The departure time on buses is pretty fixed. My bus has never left more than 10 minutes late for a trip. I make it a point to show up half an hour beforehand. That way I am on time and usually get myself I window seat!

2 || Get comfortable. Typically, when I am riding to or from home I like to wear a pair of leggings, boots or flats and a hoodie (being a college student has provided me with several!) Keeping clothing relatively loose will make the long hours of travel a bit more bearable.

3 || Have hand sanitizer on hand. Coach buses usually have a small bathroom on board. If you can't wait for the rest stop that usually comes every two hours you will need the sanitizer. Not one bus I have been on has had soap or sanitizer of any kind. Gross!

4 || Stay entertained, my friends. Always take something to do, otherwise you will be stuck staring out at the landscape for hours and hours while your seat partner ignores you. Unless your intent is napping make sure your iPod is loaded up or you have got a brand new book to keep your interest. Some buses will offer free WiFi as well but sometimes certain websites will be blocked. Imagine my annoyance at not being able to access Netflix. -_-

Hope this helps prepare for your next bus trip! Talking to you, fellow collegiates!

<3 Ashley

Do you travel by bus? What are your own travel tips?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spring Things

Yes. That's right. Since I am (as I have made perfectly clear before) absolutely done with this winter and these temps are giving me the sweetest taste of spring, I am officially and probably prematurely breaking out the spring love on the blog. I'm not the first one to do it this year and I am by no means the last. With weather hovering dangerously, wonderfully close to 60 degrees today I see no problem with showing you some of my favorite spring things.

Running Outside | I am beyond thrilled to get back to running in the out of doors. I hate hate HATE treadmills with a passion. I'm not going anywhere on them and I just cannot run for more than five minutes on them. I just cannot do it. This week over break while the temps are getting warmer I have gone on my morning runs in cool but not freezing weather and the excitement is building for spring/summer mornings.

Skirts and Dress | Read: Skirts and dresses without tights underneath. That's right...showing some leg and actually showing some leg. If you follow me on Pinterest you probably noticed a huge rise in pins the picture mid-length and maxi skirts. The inspiration for bright, colorful and pretty dressing is coming back, folks!

Fun, Floral Prints | Along with the bright colors, the bold prints are coming back! Back on Black Friday I purchased a pair of bright heels with a floral print on them (kind of like the ones pictured above). Unfortunately, those sweet shoes have been sitting in my closet just waiting to see sunlight.

Flowers in general | I just want to see some color again. I have been looking at a white ground and gray sky for about a month now and feeling the cold bite my fingers. It is about time to see some colors peeking out of the ground and blooms on the interior as well!

One Step Closer to Summer | What excites me the most is the end of the semester and the beginning of summer. While I will have an internship/job to keep me busy most days, I do anticipate spending some days with friends outside and at the pool. Who says a day trip to the beach would be out of the question either!

<3 Ashley

Are you ready for spring? What are your favorite things about the season?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Sunday Brunch: Sweet Potato, Spinach and Egg Breakfast Bowl

Hello, folks! Happy Monday to you.

Today I want to share a fabulous food find that I stumbled upon last week. I made this delicious and savory breakfast for myself this morning for the second time; I am in love with the sweet potato, spinach and egg breakfast bowl. The original recipe is courtesy of Mara over at M Loves M. I have actually tried quite a few of her sweeter dishes and all of them are delicious. My favorite is the blackberry clafoutis which I make with blueberry instead. The woman knows exactly what she is talking about.

There are just a few alterations that I have made myself based on my own timing and patience level. Perhaps if I had just a bit more time during my week day mornings I would prepare it as it should be in the oven. However, for time sake I do it on the stove in a skillet. The recipe below will made enough for one with maybe some extra potato depending on the size.

What you need:

1 smallish sweet potato (1/4 inch slices)
olive oil
salt + pepper
1 egg
The original called for onion, but I did not have onion at the time. Feel free to add the ingredient to your liking!

What to do:

Coat the bottom of a skillet with olive oil and heat up over medium heat. Arrange sweet potato slices around the bottom of the skillet and season with salt and pepper (I also like to sprinkle some thyme on mine)

Cook potatoes for about 4-5 minutes on each side; but keep an eye on them just in case! When potatoes are almost cooked throw in spinach and cook until it wilts. Set aside in bowl.

Prepare egg to your liking. I did sunny side up like the original recipe called for. When the egg is done lay it over top of the potato and spinach. Sprinkle with cheese. (Goat in the original; I used mozzarella).

<3 Ashley

What is your favorite savory breakfast?

Friday, March 6, 2015

Spring Break

To be honest, my dream break would include a road trip somewhere. Perhaps next year!

The day has finally come! The great exodus of Pitt students out of the city back to their hometowns or to warmer destinations: spring break! After my whopping two hour work day today I will be getting ready to make the three hour journey home. No big trips this year (but planning on living it up next year!) While I will have friends journeying down to places like New Orleans, North Carolina and Florida beaches I will be wrapped in my own bed sheets and playing the role of couch potato for the next week. I couldn't be more excited.

After the hectic schedule of this semester laziness is all that I really want. I'm sure I will grow restless to do something three days in anyway; don't worry about me. I just need a week where I do nothing. As I mentioned though, next year we are planning on actually doing something. My one roommate and I discussed Harry Potter World, but realistically that probably will not happen. We also just discovered that Niagara Falls is a nice four hour drive from us and got very excited about the possibility of spending a week in Canada. While going somewhere warm is the typical desire of spring breakers there is something about trekking up to Canada that excites us. Oh well. What can you do?

<3 Ashley

What spring breaks have you taken? Any suggestions?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

March On

February is finally over and man am I excited about that! Last month was probably the worst ever. I just felt miserable and sluggish the whole time and there was so much drama around all of my friends that I pretty much threw in the towel during the last week and insisted on just staying away from everyone. Do you ever get like that? Just want to spend an entire day in bed binge watching Netflix (I'm making my way through The Tudors on my way to continue Mad Men) without any human contact whatsoever...and be totally okay with it. Or am I just a crazy extreme introvert?

Either way, my fingers are crossed that March will be a much better month. It is off to a good start. The temps have increased (to a sweltering 36 degrees F!) and this Friday I am going home for spring break. A week off from constant reading and papers will be welcomed with open arms and embarrassing excitement. Also, my roommate just encouraged me to listen to One Direction's "Night Changes"--we are crazy obnoxious boy band supporters and 1D are just the cutest group of fella's--and I'm basically obsessed and have been listening to it constantly all day. I have also committed myself to getting back to running more frequently (since the temperature outside is going up) and getting myself organized. What better time to get a jump start on spring cleaning? Does this signify and good month? I have heard people say that odd numbered years are the best; perhaps that could apply to the odd months as well.

<3 Ashley

Are you positive about March? What are you looking at getting done this month?

Monday, March 2, 2015


Time is going both too slow and too fast for me lately. I say that it is too slow because I am just about done with this semester and my professors' shenanigans (they conspire against me week after week) and too fast because the semester that I am currently wishing away brings me to the end of my junior year of college. I am seriously one year away from the big bad real world. This is both exciting and horrifying.

In about two months now I will be moving back home for the summer. I will hopefully be about to start a great summer long internship (keep your fingers crossed for me!) and will be trying to once again figure out the finer points of parallel parking since I will be having my car with me in Pittsburgh next school year. At the end of these two months I will be done with on-campus housing. Next year we are renting a house and are completely responsible for everything that goes right and wrong in it.

I seriously cannot wrap my head around the fact that I am almost done with school. I don't know a life without going to classes so every time my friends and I discuss time we all get noticeably anxious. It seems like seriously yesterday I was pulling up for my freshman year...what is this, man?!

<3 Ashley