Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday

Image: here

I hope that everyone enjoyed Thanksgiving day with family, food, and football. My family abandoned the football games on TV--not everyone was satisfied with the outcome--and started our own family football match. I do admit that I was not the MVP for my team, but I did have fun! After everyone left, I spent my evening getting focused for Black Friday shopping with one of my longest friends. We stepped out at midnight to take advantage of lower prices as Target, where I picked up some pillows and towels for my apartment...because apparently I am an adult now. We were then promptly disappointed to find out that the mall closed at midnight and would not be opening until 6 AM. So I'm going to break that down for you: they were open on Thanksgiving but closed once Black Friday started...this makes sense how? We then had to re-establish our attack plan for the night and agreed to take our shopping trip a little further from home to the outlets at Hershey.

While the outlets did not feature our intended stores (New York & Company and Forever 21) we did have successful visits to Rue21, Yankee Candle, and Bath & Body Works. I'm not usually a Rue21 shopper, but with puffer vests at $10 and a handful of tops priced between $3-$7 I could not resist. I walked away from the evening with everything I had on my list and even a bit more. I also took advantage of the time and spent some time eye some of the higher priced stores and their deals. They may have still been out of my budget but J. Crew and Ralph Lauren also had some great sales with the stores going 50-75% off.

Before this Black Friday ends, I did log on to NY&Co's website and get what I wanted to last night--pants. As someone whose pants size is always changing it seems, I am currently in the market for a new pair. The entire site (and store!) is up to 75% off today with the chance for an additional 10% off on select items. Also free shipping on all orders! I'm now waiting on this pair of leggings and this pair of pants. These will be great for the extensive job search I will be embarking on in the coming semester in preparation for graduation.

Also another great sale that I wish I had the budget for is the one over at Kate Spade. 75% off there too...unfortunately I still can't afford most of it. :( I hope that you all have had a fruitful Black Friday and were able take advantage of some of these great sales.

<3 Ashley

What does your Black Friday haul look like?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Most Wonderful Time

This weekend truly kicked off the holiday season for me (Thanksgiving too...because I'm an inclusive person!) Friday night in Pittsburgh was Light Up Night, when I swear that every individual in Allegheny County converged on the downtown area. While I have only gone once before, I can honestly say that it was not nearly as packed as it was this year. When I was not angrily shoving my way through crowds or coping with the rude teenagers cutting right in front of me in the line to see the gingerbread houses--am I sounding like an old lady yet?--I was quite filled with holiday spirit.

We missed the lighting of Pittsburgh's answer to the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, but we were sure to make that our first stop. I really do love all of the lights and Christmas decorations that are in PPG Place from now to the end of the season. My roommate said it very aptly when she looked at the tree in the middle of the ice skating rink and said, "I just gives me the happy, warm fuzzies inside."

Back home for Thanksgiving! After a 4 hour drive, this was a nice and familiar sight.

I do feel the warm fuzzies on the inside, I must say. But just the inside...externally I am freezing because temps are finally dropping to characteristic levels and as poor college students we are pushing the limits on when we should cave and turn the heat on. Edit: the heat is now on. Wearing gloves in the house was a good hint that it needed to happen, I guess.

<3 Ashley

Are you ready for the holidays? Also, Happy Thanksgiving...probably will not be online tomorrow. Enjoy your families!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Photo Diary: Fall Vibes

With temps dropping outside, my roommates and I are seeing how long we can go without cranking up the heat. Current status: blankets on blankets.

The sweaters are unpacked, placed, and ready to go!

This is this photo's second appearance on the blog, but it's a favorite of mine. Photo creds go to my girl, Michelle on this one. This is from a very well spent day at the apple orchard and pumpkin patch.

A delicious butternut squash and sweet potato soup that I will be posting the recipe for soon!

(photo credit: Pitt Alumni Association)

Also, I cannot say more about how beautiful this campus is in the fall! I love walking through the leaves on the sidewalk and seeing the Cathedral poking out behind the colorful trees. 

<3 Ashley

Are you enjoying the autumn? What is your favorite part of the season?

Monday, November 16, 2015

How Early is Too Early

Recently--about a week ago--my roommates and I decided that we could officially start going holiday crazy. We are planning our roommate Thanksgiving for before our break, making plans for Light Up Night in Downtown Pittsburgh this Friday to see the Christmas tree in PPG Place, making gallons of hot chocolate, and also listening to Christmas music. Yes, Christmas music started a week ago and has all been downloaded to my phone. We are all on the same page with the holiday schedule and it is wonderful.

However, there are mumblings of people getting frustrated with the early Christmas excitement. I know one girl my friend is acquainted with loves Thanksgiving and feels that we are skipping over the day of thanks completely. So the question I pose to you all: How early is too early for Christmas?

Here are my thoughts. For me, the winter holidays are not really systematic to me. To be perfectly honest, I lump Thanksgiving and Christmas together as the holidays. Both are spent with family, sharing time and stories around the table together. They are only a month apart anyway, so both make-up the holiday season for me. For that reason, I do not feel a shred of guilt for starting the Christmas tunes in early November (not the first day...I do have some self-control.) I respect the rights of others to rage about my level of joy in mid-November, but please also respect my right to wrap myself in Christmas lights and belt "Silver Bells." ;P

<3 Ashley

How early do you start Christmas music/decorations? What is too early?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Book Club: Dead Wake

Good morning everyone! Before I get into my little review (and I mean little...sorry...time crunch!) I wanted to just send out a "Thank you" to all of our veterans on this Veteran's Day. Thank you so much for your bravery and sacrifice. You've made getting up everyday and pursuing good things possible!

Now, in an unexpected turn I finished reading a book during the semester. *pause for gasps, passing out, and utter chaos*

That book was Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson. As minor in history with a focus in U.S. history, this kind of book is what speaks to me. It is not necessarily historical fiction. Larson pulls from a number of sources--seriously, a good chunk of the end of the book is endnotes--to tell the story of those who were on the ship when it was attacked by a German submarine.

Not only do we get the accounts of those on the boat, but also chapters devoted to President Wilson, Churchill and Room 40, and even Walther Schwieger--the submarine commander who initiated the attack. Through researching letters, notes, video, and photograph Larson was able to pull together a convincing account of day-to-day life on the ship and the mentality of the British and American governments as the signs of an attack grew even more obvious.

After finishing the book, I was left with many questions that would be interesting to research--this is the history student talking! If this is the kind of reading that you enjoy, or find yourself particularly interested in the World War I period, I definitely recommend this book to you. I can't wait to read it again.

<3 Ashley

Have you read Dead Wake? What did you think? 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Holy Moly!

Research for my final ad campaign. Hire me, Kate Spade?

Sorry for the absolute silence last week guys! It appears that this is the time when college comes at me at warp speed because I have been doing nothing but work, work, work! While I enjoy being busy, having so many projects due at one time has really knocked the wind out of me. I was up late last night, and woke up early this morning to put the finishing touches on an ad campaign project so that I can make final edits throughout the day before it is due at 3. You can tell that I really like to push it to the limit. However, since this campaign is figuratively for Kate Spade (thank you, prof for letting me follow my dreams on this one) it wasn't all a horrible experience. :)

I was able to break up with work a little bit with some fun in between. We had our home football game against Notre Dame this weekend. Spoiler alert: we lost. It was a great game though and the most packed the stadium has been in my time here--kind of incredible to be a part of!

Hopefully this won't be the last you hear from me this week! I will try to have a post set up Wednesday. xo

<3 Ashley

How was your weekend? 

Monday, November 2, 2015

November is...

...long hikes through fallen leaves
...a tall mug of hot apple cider
...a cozy cable knit sweater
...evenings baking with roommates
...large family meals
...breaking out your holiday best
...buying decorations
...impromptu coffee shop stops
...early nights in bed
...early mornings to attack the day

<3 Ashley

What is November to you?