Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year, New Resolutions

Image: here

Get ready everybody - tonight we turn the page from 2015 onto 2016. This past year has been a good one for me. I managed to land a summer internship, worked myself hard both semesters by taking the max amount of class credits, and also made being more active a priority. 2015 was possibly the first year that I really did succeed with my resolutions.

With the new year just hours away, I think I have finally settled on some solid resolutions for the next 366 days - it's a leap year! I had not thought about it too much until my mother told me about her plans to go all-organic this year. I liked the sound of this and decided that maybe I could pursue an all-organic diet as well. In order to do this, I'm going to have to do a lot of research and commit more to meal planning during the week. Additionally, considering that this is my senior year and I am coming up on my final semester as a student, I would like to work toward getting a job. The real goal is to have a job for graduation - but that's everyone's goal, right? I do have a lighter schedule this semester though, so the hunt is certainly on!

<3 Ashley

What is your resolution? How do you plan on executing it?

Monday, December 28, 2015


Image: here

We made it. Another holiday is done and now it is time to wind down 2015 and prepare to kick off 2016. More on the New Year later this week - for now, we need to fight our ways through the remaining food coma effects and put Christmas away for another year. Taking down the Christmas decorations is always the hardest. This is the most wonderful time of the year after all...why would we want to put it away so quickly?

The days following Christmas are for finding places for your gifts, getting rid of leftovers, and slowly taking down decorations. Of course, if my mother had her way I think all of our decorations would have been down two days ago! We were sent home with many cookies and candy from family and I am pretty sure that I am the only one in the fight to consume it all before the New Year because, you know...fresh start.

Note: I started writing this post like a million hours ago and got distracted by the Military Bowl featuring my Pitt Panthers. Spoiler alert - we are losing and I am an emotional wreck. NBD.

<3 Ashley

Are you in the process of de-Christmasing? 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Kick Up Your Heels

When it comes to holiday parties, while the dress is certainly important, I personally spend too much time fixating on what dancing shoes I will be sporting. Above are just a few styles that I love this time of year - featuring plenty of bows, the boldest of reds, and the classic black and gold. I have a pair of black, bowed kitten heels from White House | Black Market that I will be hitting the town with.

<3 Ashley

What shoes do you sport for holiday parties?

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Recipe Box: Gingerbread Cookies

Image: here

As Christmas draws near, I find myself facing the panic of searching for gifts for my friends. Considering our very meager college bank accounts, I am of the opinion that none of us should feel compelled to buy gifts. A dinner together is what I am content with. However, each year we get the message in our group text, "We need to hang out. I have your Christmas gifts" and I go into cardiac arrest. You can't receive and not give a gift for Christmas! So in recent years, I have resolved to combat this by baking a bag of cookies for each of my friends. Last year was sugar cookies with homemade icing. This year, I have been in the mood to bake some delicious gingerbread cookies.

Turning to Pinterest, I've discovered the recipe from The Parsimonious Princess. The recipe is simple and contains just a few ingredients compared to some of the other recipes I considered. I am not baking until Tuesday, but I wanted to share with you now in the case that you too are searching high and low for a Christmas cookie recipe!

What you need:
- 1 1/2 c. (3 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 c. brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 c. molasses
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- 2 tsp. ground ginger
- 5 c. all-purpose flour

What to do:
- Combine butter and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Incorporate eggs on at a time.
- Add molasses and mix
- Combine baking soda, spices, and flour in a separate bowl. Add the wet mixture. Mix until smooth
- Let the dough chill for a couple of hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Roll out on a floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness
- Cut into desired shapes and place on lined or greased cookie sheet
- Bake 10-12 minutes
- Cool. Decorate. Enjoy.

<3 Ashley

What is your go-to Christmas cookie?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Busiest (And Most Wonderful) Time of the Year

Hello, remember me? It's been a few days yes? That silence is over now that...I AM DONE WITH FINALS! That's right; it's all celebrating and relaxing for a few weeks. That is at least after tomorrow's job/internship interview (it could go either way!) I am heading back home Thursday morning for just a couple of weeks to spend the holidays with my family and friends.


While this month has been busy between preparing for finals, getting things organized for the new campus late night show, and minor panics at becoming an adult; it is also a beautiful month of celebration and joy. Here, we managed to take a few steps back from the productivity to enjoy the holiday in the 'Burgh just for a little bit. One of my roommates and I went Saturday night to Phipps Conservatory to walk through all of the beautiful flowers, trees, and Christmas lights. This year, we witnessed for the first time a very long line going into Phipps - never have I seen a line! We followed the trip with Thai takeout, because nothing is complete without glass noodles with chicken and veggies...right?

Last night was also a big night, because Pitt Tonight finally premiered. Since September, I have been working as one of the heads of marketing for a student run monthly, late night broadcast. After a few stressful months dealing with social media, promotions, and other tasks we could finally take a breath and let everything we have worked for unfold. It went fabulously! The link for the episode will be live tomorrow night and I cannot wait to share it!

<3 Ashley

Are you taking in the holiday festivities?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers

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Is anyone else of the opinion that stocking stuffers sometimes make the best gifts? Even after opening the big gift boxes under the tree, there is always the excitement of finding a surprise in that little sock hanging from the fireplace or bookshelf. For all those gifts that are a little small to warrant extravagant wrapping, deliver them together--like nice happy holidays care-package. I've taken the liberty of searching the internet for a few ideas if you are stumped about what to put in your loved one's stocking.


One big thing that I especially love in a stocking is make-up! Small, travel-sized items like fragrance rollerballs, mascara, or lipstick are welcomed gifts! Also, if the woman you are shopping for is anything like myself, candy is not a bad stocking stuffer either. ;)


While men remain a mystery to me, I think that these gifts are a good jumping off point when it comes to ideas. I laughed out loud when I stumbled across the Pocket Ref book--it holds answers to all! 

<3 Ashley

Do you have any go-to stocking stuffers? 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Recipe Box: Peppermint Crunch Dark Chocolate Cookies

Image: here

This past Saturday my roommates and I spent some time at our friend's house baking with her mother (spoiler alert: that friend is studying abroad currently! Haha!) Last year, her mother came to our apartment and we knocked out 11 types of cookies in 6 hours. This year we did not boast the same stats, but only because we were under an actual time constraint. But we did manage a solid 8 cookies between 10 AM and 2:30 PM! One of them, I will share with you today. The peppermint crunch dark chocolate cookies are everybody's current favorite I believe. What's not to love? Dark chocolate + peppermint = holiday happiness.

What you need:
- 1 box dark chocolate cake mix
- 1 bag peppermint baking chips (note: we bought Hershey's peppermint candy bars and just broke them up)
-  1/2 c. vegetable or canola oil
- 2 eggs

What to do:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Combine mix, oil and eggs in a bowl
- Stir in peppermint chips
- Chill in the refrigerator for one hour
- Roll into balls and drop onto ungreased, non-stick cookie sheet
- Bake 7-9 minutes
- Enjoy!

<3 Ashley

What are your favorite kinds of Christmas cookies?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Life of the (Holiday) Party

I love this time of the year because it is one holiday after another. We move from Thanksgiving to Christmas to the New Year in a pretty short time. During this month of celebration we fill special evenings with family dinners and gatherings, nights out with friends before going home for the holidays, and holiday parties. For that reason, one must enter the season armed with fun, festive, and versatile holiday ensembles. I've scoured the internet and compiled some of my favorite holiday looks for you here! 

<3 Ashley

Is you schedule lined with holiday parties? Do you have a go-to dress or outfit?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Oh December!

Image: here

There is one thing that I have been waiting for this semester, and it is the beginning of the end. Once December starts, the work starts winding down and we start giving presentations and submitting final papers. Yesterday I gave my first presentation, there is one tomorrow, and Monday is my last. Sunday I night I will submitting a final paper and next week will submit my last...and I'm done. Hallelujah!!

While for college students it marks this wind down, December is also the heart of the holiday season! Hanukkah begins this Sunday for many to celebrate and Christmas is just around the corner. This month, I will try my very best to be your friendly neighborhood blogger and help your shopping with a few gift guides to help you find the perfect surprise for the people in your life. Also know that this month the cookie recipe game will be strong. I will also be sharing my favorite winter fashions. I hope your are all as excited as I am to jump right into all that this month has to offer!

<3 Ashley