S.M.A.R.T. GOALS (continued from the Soap Digest Column)

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Thanks to all of you that sent DMs and emails about the Digest article. I love that many of you related to something in the article. I like the SMART intentions because they simplify my thoughts.  I get easily overwhelmed and overthink things. This model helps keep my mind on track. I didn't say this in the article, but I'd like to lose 5 pounds. It's that little last bit of baby weight. What I did mention is putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) and outlining some ideas here. So, here goes. 

SMART: SMART, MEASURABLE, ATTAINABLE, REALISTIC, TIME-BOUND

SPECIFIC. In the article, I mentioned getting up earlier everyday. 45 minutes to be exact. I want to try to get more done first thing in the day. Preferably, before the kids get up. This proves to be easier said than done because they wake up at slightly different times, especially the baby. But, my goal is to start the coffeemaker, then hit the treadmill or jump on the trampoline. We'll see how this goes;) So, far, not so good! ha.

MEASURABLE. For me, right now, it is drinking the water. That is a very measurable challenge that I can track throughout the day and feel accomplished no matter what. Even 4 glasses of water is better than one- or none! I do notice the more I drink, the more I seem to need. Anyone ever notice that? I'm actually going to take a break right now to go down a glass in my new Swell bottle I got for Christmas. 

My next measurable goal will be a race of some sort. Heather Tom and Katherine Kelly Lang from Bold and Beautiful are inspiring me. They set goals like this constantly. Marathons, races, charitable walks, rides, you name it!

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ATTAINABLE. My disciplined girlfriend Kaley (Cuoco) will text me when she's going to yoga (usually with advance notice for me to arrange a sitter). It's so helpful to have someone hold me accountable. My other girlfriend Amy (Davidson) and I recently took the babies hiking with strollers. It was such a great workout! I was dying afterward, but secretly thrilled Amy encouraged me to do it. (I wanted to just walk flat ground!)

REALISTIC. I'm going through my closet right now giving away clothes that no longer fit me... I've held on to them thinking I might be that size again. But, it's not helpful! It's not realistic. I'd rather set goals that are realistic and feel great about achieving them, instead of constantly being reminded that I'm not where I "want" to be. It's silly, really. In the article, I mentioned being realistic about your workouts, too. I've told myself that if I can't fit in a workout/yoga, I can always do strengthening exercises ANYWHERE ANYTIME. Sit-ups, push-ups, leg lifts, jumping jacks, etc. are always a good idea. I appreciated Mary B. mentioning the Bosu Balance trainer in one of the comment sections here. It inspired me to incorporate that again. If you don't want to attend a class or go running or to the gym, it is a great way to workout at home. A Plan B (or A) that eliminated any reason for an excuse not to workout.

1. Bosu Balance Trainer  2. Personal Trampoline 3. S'well Bottle

TIME BOUND. I work better with a deadline. It's just the way I'm wired. I like to know when something needs to be completed. So, I'm setting a time-frame to achieve that 5 pound goal. Hayden turns 2 on May 24th. I feel like this is a completely realistic goal for me. And I'm putting it out there so you all will help hold me accountable!

FAMILY.

Overall goal- fun activities to keep the kids moving and mentally stimulated. If you follow me on instagram, you may have seen Hayden "playing" soccer on instastory. I enrolled him in a class. Huck was in soccer and karate. He is deciding which one to continue. They both love being outside on their age-appropriate scooters (with helmets) or bikes. For inside, Joel got them this robot that they enjoy chasing around called Think and Learn Teach n Tag Movi

We have a basketball goal in the house that can easily slip in the garage when we don't want it inside. But, if you have the space, it's an affordable, fun way to get the family involved. (Remember playing HORSE as a kid?)

1. Basket Ball Goal 2. Think and Learn Movi 3. Trampoline 4. 

Another variation for the "R" part of the SMART goals:

REWARD. Motivation for me to keep going? Something new and cute for workouts!

If you made it this far, thanks for reading! And I was really inspired by comments you guys left on other posts about fitness goals. Feel free to chime in more here about your own progress, leave tips, etc. 

 

RASCAL RABBITS, SPRING DRESSES oh and a little help from our friends

Amy Davidson, Lennox Lockwood, Huck and Hayden

Amy Davidson, Lennox Lockwood, Huck and Hayden

Yes, this is a little post about Peter Rabbit's adventures, but it's also a post about the village we create for our own little rascals. I am so grateful for friends around me that are part of my kids' lives (and some said people don't even have kids). 

That particular Friday, I had a full day. I wasn't sure I would make it to the party and screening of the film. Between naps, picking up Huck from school (with Hayden and getting Huck dressed in the car!) plus my own work schedule, it didn't seem like it would be easy or even feasible. But, my other girlfriends were going through it, too. We knew the kids would have fun, so we encouraged each other to make it work (thanks Amy!). Sometimes that's all I need to keep going. ENCOURAGEMENT. I'm sure many of you can relate? Our preacher this morning at church talked about what to do when you're at the end of your rope. How do we create more energy for ourselves to just keep on keeping on? It sounds simple, but give out what you're not getting. If I feel under appreciated, tell other people thank you. If I feel discouraged, send out encouraging vibes to people. Sometimes we may only have the bandwidth to simply send a text, but it's a start. 

And laugher does wonders. It helps to laugh with each other when the angels turn into little rascals. And they can be rascals! I love how each of Hayden and Huck's friends all have such a unique personality and style!  Lennox is so hip! Huck loves his bowties, shoes and preppy style (he decides what he wants to wear). And I still love the little outfits my mom sends for Hayden!  Joel thinks Hayden ends up looking like a little Danish girl (not sure where/why he came up with Danish). Oh well, the time is limited here. Before I know it, I will no longer get a say in what he wears!

xo Ashley

Ps- I have been reading your emails and see the DMs about fashion and food and fitness posts. THANK YOU for those. So, for those wondering, I like this easy dress I'm wearing from Eliza J. I didn't know it came in pink when I ordered this one. I love the pink one. It's really great if you're looking for a versatile, easy staple to add to your closet. Also, if you don't mind scrolling though to find your size, look at the brand on Ebay. You can find new with tags for less. 

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This is our first elevator selfie! HA. 

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in this post....

2018.

Hello. It’s been a good minute (or many good minutes) since I’ve written. In the last post, I said I would share some thoughts about my “intentions” or resolutions for the new year. Can you believe it’s February already? And I’m still making my list! I can be long-winded and a bit scattered, so I’m doing my best to keep the list short and sweet. This list is somewhat generic, but it's real. I love what readers wrote in a previous post about their goals and intentions for this year. Self care came up, morning routines, etc. Your thoughts are encouraging me. I appreciate what Robin Van Drunen said: Goals are important and they must be typed or written down somewhere or the accountability goes out the window.

So, here goes.

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PERSONALLY:

  • LAUGH (it off) MORE. Let it go. Underthink it. 
  • GET UP EARLIER.
  • DRINK 8 GLASSES OF WATER. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I say it every year. Probably because I truly WANT it to happen.
  • Take my vitamins and supplements EVERY DAY! 
  • GET ORGANIZED. I no longer want  to get frustrated as I’m getting ready to leave the house because I can’t find something. I want to DOWNSIZE MY BELONGINGS. And I want to streamline my mom-life. (I will go into better detail in posts to come, but if that doesn’t make sense, what I mean is this: I long for smooth mornings. Is there a world where it’s easy to find two clean socks (that FIT) every person in the house? Sounds trite, but lemme tell you…. Can I easily find my favorite lipstick (it could be anywhere between diaper bags or purse to my car glove compartment- not advisable because it melts, I know)? Does anyone feel me here? And if you don’t have kids, substitute water bottles for portable coffee cups. We ALL have these mornings where we swear we’re coming STRAIGHT HOME AFTER “THIS” AND GETTING OUR LIVES TOGETHER. So, that’s what I mean. 
  • WORKOUT MY BODY. Because this also works out my mind. I will do some form of a workout EVERY SINGLE DAY. I will. I’m writing my next column for Soap Digest based on this topic. I have a “strategy” that I’m borrowing form the business world. And I hope you respond to it. (I got many requests to discuss health and fitness). It’s currently helping me, so we’ll go into greater detail in that column and future blog posts. Hint: It’s about being S.M.A.R.T.
  • MOM and Step-mom. Just be better, I guess? This set of intentions is way more personal than the more generic ones above. I have a blended family. It’s hard and not something I often discuss. But, it’s my reality. Some activities we do, Huck is not present. He’s simply not with us (it's his time with his mother). I try and schedule as much as possible when I have him, but some things are out of my control. Like, we didn't have Huck for Joel's birthday party, so we celebrated again once we did have him. And Hayden… my sweet baby boy. We always feel we can do more as moms, right? Time goes by so fast and I want to soak it all up while he’s still little. Funny enough, I think if I’m aware of the previous intentions listed above, I’ll be a better, more present mom? I leave that as a question... if we work more on ourselves, do we have more to offer our children?
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PROFESSIONALLY:

  • Be more time efficient. I will learn to prioritize URGENT over IMPORTANT. Procrastination gets me nowhere I want to be. I want to be extremely prepared for all endeavors big or small this year. 

SPIRITUALLY:

  • Spend more time in prayer. Continue to attend the Women’s Bible Study.

Thoughts?  You know I love them and have missed being here on the blog, so leave a comment or piece of advise if you are inspired. Also, who has been implementing their own goals so far? Are any of you using certain tips to stick to them?

 


PS- for those interested in above photo details, sadly, I think this coat is sold out. But, my necklace is a staple. And I'm not the only one that loves it... if you visit the blog often, you might remember this post?


reflecting on 2017, MY THANK YOU TO YOU.

As I reflect back on 2017, I realize how grateful I am to YOU.

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THANK YOU FOR VISITING THIS SITE and generously contributing ideas. I'm especially grateful for your recent comments some of you left on this post HERE: you really inspired me to want to write more on the blog. You also sparked great ideas for the column in Soap Opera Digest for 2018. Thank you! I hope to make this a fun endeavor for all of us. 

THANK YOU FOR ENGAGING ON SOCIAL MEDIA. I enjoyed live tweeting with you all during my first day back on General Hospital, the Lifetime movie, and the Christmas movie. It’s fun to get to go back and forth with you all during an air show. I consider this a privilege to get to be on your screens at home.  Hoping 2018 brings more opportunities to engage and (hopefully) entertain you.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR ENTHUSIASM with the line of soaps I’m hoping to continue. I appreciate your comments in the post HERE and DMs! 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROSITY. YOU all are inspiring. Getting to chat with some of you who called in to donate to the Red Cross for Houston was an honor. I sat next to Maurice Barnard for part of that time and we were overwhelmed by the response. As many of you know, my hometown of Houston was flooded beyond anything anyone could imagine. My grandparents’ house was ruined. My uncle’s house is gone… aunt and uncle’s dental business had to be rebuilt from ground up. I could go on and on about extended family and friends. It makes you reevaluate what really is important.  

Then, Los Angeles felt your support and prayers during the recent fires. I am only discussing tragedies that affected me personally…. the hardships of 2017 around the country and the world are too vast and deep for me to attempt to discuss them all.  How heartwarming it is to see people rally around each other… to those of you that are still recovering from 2017 hardships, may 2018 be a year of renewal and prosperity. 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR WISHES. When we moved into our first home as a family earlier this year, your well wishes were appreciated. Nothing makes me feel happier and more accomplished than when my husband and kids seem happy in our new home, but it takes a long time to get settled! And your wishes when our children celebrated their 1st and 5th birthdays. When I met my stepson Huck, he was just a little bigger than Hayden. Now, he’s a backpack wearing, money counting, video playing smart little kindergartener. And Hayden… he learns a new word everyday. He takes things apart and figures out how to put them back together (he is his father’s son). He got his passport in 2017, too! And THANK YOU to those of you that tirelessly coordinated the greatest birthday gift for me: donating an incredibly generous amount to Step Up Women's Network, an organization near and dear to me. I'm still speechless! 

Looking ahead, I’m making some spiritual, personal and professional goals right now. Do you all make lists of resolutions or goals for the upcoming year? If you feel like sharing, I think it’s a great way to hold ourselves accountable. I’ll be posting some of mine in the next few days. Still finishing up the list;) Maybe you’ll be inspired to share with me? God Bless. And Happiest of Years ahead.

DINNER WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS

Gathering the group at our Friendsgiving Dinner / photo: Mattheus Spinelli

Gathering the group at our Friendsgiving Dinner / photo: Mattheus Spinelli

First of all, I have to say thank you to you all. Thank you for visiting this site and going down this journey with me. Secondly, thank you for your patience when life gets hectic and I don't get to post everything I'd like. 

I've written about cooking (and attempting to cook) lately. But, preparing a meal for Joel and the boys is a bit different than cooking for friends and relatives. 

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Chaka Fairbanks, VP Operations, GrubMarket

Chaka Fairbanks, VP Operations, GrubMarket

For thanksgiving, I ordered Grub Market to be delivered. Joel's brother and his family came over. It was amazing to be able to just relax on the big day and spend time with my family.

I met the amazing team (of women!) behind GrubMarket, the farm to table online grocery store. We had a "friendsgiving" meal with them and we loved the food so much, I had it for our own Thanksgiving! Chef Christine Daley worked alongside GrubMarket's own Chako Fairbanks who sourced all the farm-fresh local produce, sustainable meats, artisanal cheeses and more, and she whipped it up into seven stuffed courses of finger-lickin’ food. They all came in oven-safe containers ready to reheat and eat.  

So, now, I'm figuring out Christmas!! Should I attempt to cook? My mother arrives Christmas day, so I want it to be special. 

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I got some DMs from a few of you after the instagram live video from our friendsgiving dinner...you didn't have grub market in your area. I know the prepared foods are for specific areas of the country,  but grubmarket.com is nationwide. Browse their selection of organic groceries! FYI- Today is the last day to have delivery by Christmas Eve. So, I'm making my decision quickly. 

Question: what are you all doing for your big holiday dinner?

And last, but certainly not least, thank you for your comments and participation in this blog! I thought I'd take this opportunity to post a few of your recipes you have shared with me here in this post

xoxo Ashley

 

 

SHARING MEALS: RECIPES FROM Y'ALL

photo: Mattheus Spinelli for our Thanksgiving dinner with Grub Market

photo: Mattheus Spinelli for our Thanksgiving dinner with Grub Market

With three growing boys in the house (yes, I'm counting Joel, too!)-- it seems I can never get enough ideas of easy ways to create a meal. I'm hoping to start a whole new section of this blog in 2018 with interactive ways to share ideas on cooking. After discussing the slow cooker in these posts HERE and HERE,  I loved getting emails, DMs and comments from some of you with your favorite recipes! I'm sharing a few of them below! If you have one you'd like to share, please send to me in the comments section below or email it (with a picture, if you have one!) in the comments section. THANKS EVERYONE!


FROM MARY B.

PORK CHOP WITH MUSHROOM SOUP

- 4 pieces of pork chop
- Large can of Cream of Mushroom soup

I use about 16 oz. of the cream of mushroom to cover the pork chops and cook on high for 4 hours and then serve it with rice (pilaf, etc.). So easy and my husband and kids love it!

Thanks for sharing your chicken taco recipe. My daughter wolfed down the tacos! For the tortilla soup, I added the below ingredients to the remaining salsa since we like more veggies in the soup (still easy):
- 1/2 ts pepper
- 1 ts ground cumin
- 1 can chicken broth
- 1 can whole kernel corn (drained)
- 1 can (10 oz.) enchilada sauce
- 1 small onion (chopped)
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Cook on low for 4 hours and then add remaining shredded chicken and cook for another 30 mins. Serve with tortilla strips.


From AMY B.

One of my fams current faves: Healthy, super easy, super yummy: CHICKEN ROPA VIEJA

Ingredients
1.5-2 lbs chicken (I use breast)
4 cloves garlic
1/2 TBSP oregano
1 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 med yellow onion
1 med green bell pepper
1 med red bell pepper
One 15 oz can diced tomatoes
3 TBSP tomato paste
Salt to taste (I actually don't put any in)

Instructions
Trim fat off chicken, place in bottom of slow cooker. Mince garlic (though I cheat b/c time and use already minced), put on top of chicken. Sprinkle oregano, cumin, red pepper flakes, and pepper over chicken. Slice onion and peppers into strips, place on top of chicken. Add can of diced tomatoes w/juices, dollop tomato paste on top. Cook on high 4 hours. Shred chicken, stir all together. Serve in a bowel, over rice, or in a warm tortilla.


Name: Susan K.

Message: Hi Ashley -
Wanted to share a super simple Crock Pot recipe my kids love....

Slow Cooker BUFFALO CHICKEN SANDWICH

Ingredients:
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 (@ 17 oz bottle of your favorite buffalo wing sauce- divided)
1/2 of a 1 oz package dry reanch salad dressing
2 tablespoon butter
6 of your favorite rolls (whole wheat, whole grain or plain hoagie)

Directions:
Place clean chicken breast into slow cooker and pour 3/4 wing sauce and the ranch dressing mix. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Once chicken has cooked, shred the chicken finely with two forks. Add the butter and mix well.
Pour over rolls and serve.

A great "game day" party meal - I add a salad and your done.


 

 

 

SOAP OPERA DIGEST column- I need your help!

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Maybe you've been in the supermarket and grabbed a Soap Digest in line? Maybe you flipped through and caught the new column I'm contributing about parenting and everyday life? Or maybe you're a diehard fan of the soap genre and get the magazine in the mail!? Many, many, many people do!!

I'm so excited to be contributing fun tidbits in this new column. The first one was on time management... how to be a more efficient person (because I need all the help I can get). Slow cookers topped the list of items that are helping our household....If you missed the column the first time around, you can take a look below. 

THE FIRST COLUMN: more daily efficiency

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By the way, Joel and I have been working on our diet after the food intolerance test. Some of you were so encouraging- thank you. I will write a post about that all soon. 

THE SECOND COLUMN: bag lady

The second column was a question I am asked constantly... what is in my diaper bag? It seems like a basic question, but I remember being pregnant or just after having Hayden wondering what other women were toting around all day. I remember my dear friends giving me a huge diaper bag when he was first born... they said I'll probably be like everyone else and learn the hard way. At first, you'll bring the house with you, then over time, you'll par down and realize you don't need to travel to every location in your city with half your nursery. Ha. They were right. Take a peek below:

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THE THIRD COLUMN: gift guide for the hurried parent

I was JUST at the market and saw the 3rd column on the stands. It's the basic gift guide for moms/parents (or kind of for anyone needing gifts). It was fun to put this one together. Ideas include DIY teacher gifts to a great go-to for girlfriends, sister, boss, etc. I'm really loving doing this type of column/project. It's a fun creative outlet and genuine opportunity to share with you all. The holiday gift list was a bit longer than the magazine could allow, so I'm making an extended list that will be up very soon (one list is HERE already for the under $25 gift ideas).

WHAT I NEED FROM YOU: what would you like to read about in 2018 Soap Digest columns? I would love to know what interests you... the best "non- mom" mom jeans? Technology? More kitchen type activity? Family travel?  Please leave your ideas in the comments section below. I'm excited to read them. Thanks, Y'all!

 

CYBER MONDAY sales

So many outfits I've worn this year are on sale today.... like the peacoat (scroll down to see picture) I've loved is now $30!! There's still time to snag the best deals of the year! I outlined some of my favorite sales going on HERE in this post and they are still going strong... with some additional savings today only. I just stocked up for Hayden and Huck at the Gap. 50% off everything - PLUS use code TREAT after you use the first code CYBER and get an additional 10% off- no minimum and free shipping! I left some items in the "cart." When I came back, several were sold out. Now, I'm not waiting! 

J.CREW's site is having issues, but if you can catch it when it's not down today (too much traffic)- the sale is great. I just got Joel this leather belt for almost $20. 

My favorite denim jacket (pictured below) that was $90 is now $54. For reference, I'm wearing a size 6.

I know I've nearly exhausted discussing this jacket below that Ali and I are both wearing, but it's back in stock for $30!! I have it in a medium for layering, but if I wanted to wear a small, that would work well, too. 

This red silk dress below comes in many colors and is only $42!! The perfect holiday dress to wear under your coat!

I pulled some amazing deals on great gift ideas below. Most are priced way below $30 after you apply the codes the stores require at checkout. 

World of Soaps

I'm collaborating with Carved Solutions on a line of soaps!

I'm excited to finally share this new endeavor with y'all. For a long time, I've wanted to collaborate on a line of products and eventually create my own. It just made sense to start in the soap world;)

Some of you that follow along on social media might remember me asking for favorite quotes. (I can't tell you how fun that was to read them all.) I originally wanted the quotes carved into the soaps. However, even though the bars of soaps are a good size, they are still a bar of soap with limited space. So, the quotes will be used for something else in the future. As for the soaps, I put "words to live by" on them. There's a trust, believe, faith box. And a love, hope and peace box. I'm enjoying the fresh, clean feel and subtle smell. 

Our Eco-Luxury line is revered for its guilt-free pampering. Each bar is made in Vermont, triple-milled, and features a vegetable-based formula with our famous water-based Aqua Mineral fragrance and antique white color. Trusted by connoisseurs for those with allergies, sensitive skin, or delicate noses! I appreciate that I can use these on my children. 

It's a luxurious present I hope you'd be pleased to give or receive. These make perfect hostess gifts! I will be looking forward to your thoughts. For Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday, get 20% off with code 'Ashley.'  

xoxox

THE BLACK FRIDAY SALE starts now! Adding new info all the time;)

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Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

I want to spend the first Thanksgiving holiday in our new home, well... in our new home! 

But I have a bit of FOMO about the sale extravaganza going on this week that we've all come to know as Black Friday. A part of me wants to throw on comfy shoes, get in traffic, search high and low for parking (which I'll promptly forget unless I video or photo where I am), fight the crowds, risk the store not having the right size or color-- all in hopes of scoring the big ticket item for a fraction of the cost. It's so gratifying to get to bring it home, too. But, truly, I'd rather be curled up with the boys working on my digital scrapbooking (on Shutterfly, which- incidentally is having a great sale right now, too). Increasingly more people are clicking away on their tablets, phones and computers for Black Friday. Wanna see what I've been scoping? Duh. I wanna hear what you've been eying online, too!

Best Deals I'm finding Right NOW

All Saints- the iconic edgy brand is up to 40% of everything right now. If you're gonna get a cool jacket, now is the time. 

Ann Taylor - almost the exact opposite of AllSaints (ha!)...50% off of everything. Even Sales Items!! Check out their crystal layering necklace. Love this. Will be under $25.  

EBAY- don't forget eBay. Such a good place for tech gifts for Xmas. We love our Alexa. I wish I had one in white... we got ours when it only came in black. There are some great deals on eBay.

JCREW - 40% off your entire order!! Plus free shipping. This is a no- brainer. Use code THANKU

Madewell - 25% off of everything. Get a fab coat, or stock on basics like their best selling t-shirt  for under $15!

NEIMAN MARCUS - 40 % OFF select items. FREE shipping both ways. I got these "let's make lemonade" pjs. I'll post them soon.

NEIMAN MARCUS LAST CALL. Up to 80% off. Check out these over the knee Charles David boots marked down to $75. Or these heeled over the knee boots are half off for $150. 

BAUBLE BAR - 30% off of everything. They have the greatest gift sets and trendy, fun jewelry. (These earrings I've been wearing lately are now only $30!).

BLOOMINGDALES - up to 60% off. The star faux fur jacket I've been wearing that many of you have asked about (instastories) is 25% off. Hasn't been on sale anywhere yet.

 

NORDSTROM - their Black Friday sale is on point! I am ordering this off the shoulder tunic sweater for about $40 right now in beige. Sexy and sweet! 

NET-A-PORTER - For major designers at once a year prices, check them out. Up to 50% off now.

H&M - serious sale. Also, I never realized there was an H&M Home section? Did you?

SHOPBOP - Up to 30% off with code MORE17

WILD FOX -Almost never on sale...ever. It's pricey, so I only buy now 40%off. My sister would look so cute in this star crossed road trip sweater. Use code ALLSMILES.

GAP - 50% off everything with code BLKFRIDAY

Villeroy & Boch - love this sale. I'm ordering the water glasses for hostess gift (great morning orange juice, too). And this 12 piece set of glasses is lovely!

Vineyard Vines - The preppy iconic brand rarely goes on sale, but right now, it's 25% of everything!! And free shipping. How cute is this little toddler shirt for Hayden? And I think I'll get matching ones for Huck and Joel. ha.

Willimas-Sonoma - up to 50% off and free shipping, no minimum.

Happy sales! Scroll below for some of the items mentioned in this post...

Dogs, Beanies and Boots

During a recent shoot for a holiday gift guide, Oscar snuck outside and decided he wanted to be in the photos, too. (The third picture below shows my panic when he first darted out! But he quickly came right to us.) I've been carrying "baby weight" on my hip long before I actually had Hayden. This picture makes me laugh because Oscar will not be ignored. He loves to join the party wherever it is. Look at that face! HA. This day did make me realize I need to spend a little more time playing with him. The good news is Huck and Hayden keep him pretty occupied, though. 

I love that it's beanie season again. I might be too old to wear beanies, but I don't care. They are awesome on bad hair days (or when I wait too long to wash!). Dry shampoo (a life saver) can only do so much for so long. Beanies are one size fits all and great gifts or stocking stuffers. 

I've been wearing this sweater lately, too. It's a bit oversized and super comfy. Also, I can wear it with leggings, boots and a long necklace for a dressier look, or with jeans like I am here. Win-win. 

Last but not least, these Lamo boots are comfy and you can find certain styles on sale for great prices. I'm wearing the ones with the detail on the back, but the simple version here are under $40.

Forgive the lame title... my brain is not creative today. I might be trying to do too much. Working on a few DIY Christmas gifts. I'm also working on a holiday gift guide for the blog-- and one for the Soap Digest Column---started the "under $25" section so far.  Take a peek! Who all is on your list this year? Leave a comment (and any great ideas you have!). 

I gotta go run errands for Thanksgiving. And start dinner (chicken in the crockpot). By the way, thank you to those of you that have shared your recipes. I'm attempting to make some of them and then share with everyone else. Thank you!!!

1. Grey Sweater Dress  2. Varsity Striped Beanie  3. Lamo Boot (pictured)  4. Lamo Boot (different style) 

Daytime Girlfriends

All photos by Holly Brown @hollymbp for Ographr.com

All photos by Holly Brown @hollymbp for Ographr.com

Do you guys remember the Facebook live with Joel and an Awair expert? It was my first live video like that and I didn't know how the live video all worked, but it was fun!! I loved seeing all your comments and questions. Thank you! 

All photos: Holly Brown for @Ographr

All photos: Holly Brown for @Ographr

After the live video, I hosted some girlfriends with GoodCarmaStudio for good food (thanks to Lemonade), drinks and conversation. We even had a bling counter compliments of EmmaJCo. We chatted and learned how a little "awairness" can contribute to cleaner air for us and our children. I was also grateful that we brought in the Creative Coalition. I admire how they're fighting for arts in our children's daily lives. Since Huck started kindergarten in an excellent public school, I'm able to see their hard work come to fruition. I want every child in every school across the country to get the same opportunities. Some of you already saw the instastory on the hair tie bracelet by Maria Shireen. A portion of the proceeds are going toward the Creative Coalition. I'm happy to support people that are giving back! Some of you already have your bracelets. Know you helped a wonderful organization keep going!! Thanks, US Weekly for spreading the word. 

UsWeekly.com

Also, thank you to CelebrityBabyScoop for covering our day, too.

So--- now about the girlie day. I got to visit with friends I've known and worked with back when I was a teenager! I remember the scenes I was doing with Jennifer Garies and Sharon Case... I never had scenes with Tamara Clatterbuck (did I?), but we were friends. I can't help but smile when I think about it all. Especially my sister on Y&R, Sabryn Genet. Time seems to just fly by us. And I adore my B&B family (which also includes Jen!). Jacqueline Wood and Kelly Kruger are two ladies I could hang out with all day everyday. 

AshleyAJones.com
AshleyAJones.com

Sharon was the first to arrive (which doesn't surprise me... she was usually the first on set, too) so, we got a chance to catch up.  I admire that habit of hers. I can think of other friends that are like this- early or on time for almost everything.... wanna take a guess who they are?

It's the strange thing about being an actor. You get extremely close to these people on a show. So, these people really feel like family to you. They've seen you at your best and worst and everything in between. Then, business takes you to another project and you don't see each other as much. Luckily, we're all based in Los Angeles. One last little note- isn't it lovely when your worlds come together. I enjoyed seeing Ali and Amy chat with my other girlfriends!

AshleyAJones.com
AshleyAJones.com
AshleyAjones.com
AshleyAJones.com

We moved into this house not long ago...I still feel like it's not finished, but realized it doesn't matter if it's all ready or not. What does matter are the memories we are starting to create and this was a special day.

GIRLFRIENDS and Sunday Casual

HEY y'all... I was scrolling and posting pictures of recent events when I found this one with my girlfriends Amy and Ali. This photo is from the post HERE about Awair and the Creative Coalition.

I decided to do a separate post about the outfits for those of you that want to know;)

You've already seen me wearing this sweater in my insta stories on instagram. I kinda fell in love with it because it's like a party all by itself. Still subtle, though, not loud. It's on sale at JCrew right now. And due to the fact items have been selling out so fast, I'm adding this link HERE where you can also get the sweater. I'm wearing the same earrings you may have seen me wear recently, too. The jeans are ones I've had for a while and love. They were pricey, but I always feel like they look clean and polished and "hold me in," so to speak. I even wore the maternity version of them while I was pregnant and filming GH.

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I really like Ali's over the knee boots. I've seen her wear them a few times and they look so chic and still comfortable to walk. And this adorably cozy poncho is under $50. I love it. What a great gift for someone in your family or circle of friends.... sister, babysitter? Or, for you! I appreciate gifts that are one size fits all- much easier!

Amy's holiday dress is so sweet on her and very Christmas-y. Eliza J makes the best dresses. We have all worn her designs. I added the earrings above because I think they would work with any of our outfits. I ordered them recently for myself. Merry Christmas to me;) 

I was thrilled to have Ali and Amy there--- (You might already follow them on their socials and sites, but if not, click on their name to see their blogs) thanks ladies! Your support means a great deal! 

Family/Friendsgiving Dinner

We had a very impromptu family/friendsgiving dinner last Saturday. Maybe you caught some of it on our instastory or Facebook (and btw- started a new facebook "page" if you wanna glance! Trying to add to that page everyday.) We were on our way inside this building downtown and I asked a passerby on the street to snap a family photo with my iPhone. I wanted to try and get one picture of all of us before it got too dark. We don't always have Huck on the weekends, so if we're out as a family and all cleaned up, mind as well snap one, right? We were a tad late to our dinner at this point. (Had a couple meltdowns getting ready. The older one switched bowties and shirts more than once. #ThisIs5. I'll leave it at that). ANYWAY--Joel didn't want to stop and have a mini photoshoot. But, he humored me for 3o seconds. 

Those of you that did tune in to instastory left so many fun DMs. Thank you for chiming in and making the interaction fun.  After enough of you asked about what I was wearing (especially the earrings), I promised I would link them. The earrings are 25% OFF right now HERE. I wasn't sure I'd wear them all the time, but I do!! I'm wearing the dress a lot more than I thought I would, as well. I wore it to a Pepperdine charity luncheon event I had earlier in the week. And don't laugh at me if you see me in it a few more times...!! I bought the grey, but I kinda wish I had picked the white. The winter white dress with the black bow seems holiday to me.  FYI: I'm wearing a 2 regular. The dress ($88, but check J.Crew for sales) runs big in my opinion. It's J.Crew (they have more size options on this site). So, if you need an easy go-to holiday outfit in totality- look right below. 

When I saw this dress on the mannequin in J.Crew, I thought it had an Audrey Hepburn feel to it: A classic, timeless feel. I'm not the only one that saw a throwback to the Hepburn days. The reviews agree it's a great staple. I chose to pair the simplicity of the dress with louder earrings and boots. But, you could easily go for pumps and stud earrings to complete a daintier look.

Oh, and... the longer version of the Huck dressing story? He wanted to wear Christmas colors. He's already asking for stockings and Christmas music and when we can put up the tree. (I secretly love it!). So, we worked hard to pull something together in "Christmas colors." And we did it! (Get his cute blazer HERE;) Both kiddos are in these shoes that are suppose to help them walk properly: pediped. I know they are a pretty penny, but if you are looking for a great shoe for your kids, check them out. They are sturdy and last. 

I don't usually match with Joel -ha!- but I guess we were both wearing grey. He loves this shirt I got him by Hugo Boss at Nordstrom Rack on sale right now. Note: do not dry it! It takes away some of the original texture, but he's wearing it anyway;)

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please ask....

xoxox Ashley

 

 

 

#FBF TWINNING in the $37 Peacoat!!

Flashback Friday! Our babies were so little! That's what I think about when I look at this picture below. Molly and Hayden were barely crawling. Now... well, life is mobile! Things have changed! And life goes by so quickly now, too. Some things stay the same...like some of our favorite outfits.

This picture also reminds me of my sister trying to get this Peacoat and it sold out record fast! I got many DMs from you all about that, too. These coats are back and have the most beautiful colors this year as well. When I saw it was back in stock, I had to let you all know asap! Check out the first post (it's WAY more detailed) HERE I wrote about this coat earlier in the year. (And again HERE in this post!) With the large tortoise shell buttons and oversized collar, it's even more in style now. Plus, a lot of the times we are wearing in these photos are back in stock. Scroll down for cliff notes;)

photo: Ashley Burns Photography

photo: Ashley Burns Photography

PHOTO: Ashley Burns photography

PHOTO: Ashley Burns photography

1. Necklace (on Ali- I have this one, too!) 2. Nameplate necklace 3. Bracelet   

Happy (Flashback) Friday.  And happy shopping. xoxox

ps- got your messages about other sweaters... and some of your suggestions. Which ones are your favorites below? I'm ordering one today.

Holiday Feels and Sales

Life never seems to slow down on its own... at least not with young kids! So, it's up to us to take a moment wherever we can. Sometimes that moment might even be in the car when I'm alone for a second. Or first thing in the morning when I'm praying in bed before the day starts. Really gonna try to carve out more moments like this before the holidays. I'm learning it happens for me in the earlier, crisp part of the morning. Things still seem new, and still. The clean canvas of life ready to be painted for the day. I love fresh air in the early morning.

Now, on to the fun part..the fashion of it all. The perfect holiday sweater

I must sound like a broken record about my love of "fun" sleeves, "party" sleeves and the likes thereof. I'm a sucker. Now that it's chilly enough in LA to wear sweaters, I'm indulging. This sweater is so easy because it makes the whole outfit. The bright red is so festive, it's the centerpiece so to speak.

I paired it with my usual jeans and black boots (mine are last season, but the brand has the new version this year and they're on sale), but I think it'd look just as cute with sneakers, too. Or heels and dressier dark jeans at night. I'm wearing the same earrings over and over lately- these delicate hoops. Again, just letting the red be the focus.

And this grey tote has been going many places with me. It's actually a diaper bag doing double duty. My diaper bag/purse seems to often become one. This one from Petunia Pickle Bottom is easy to clean and chic and durable. Flowers not included;)

1. Red Sweater  ($75) 2.  Black Tall Boots (on sale $236) 3. Grey Tote ($139)

 4. Threaded Hoop Earrings ($28)

So Hayden is up with me and just finished his breakfast. We're on to the next part of the morning. And I'm seeing my roommates from college today for a charity benefit for Pepperdine. 

PS: THE QUICK UPDATE

I had to add this... the fun "party sleeve" shirt I loved this summer is on sale in red and black for $32. I think it'd be a great holiday top with jeans and a coat. And while I'm here, I adored this dress earlier in year (in this post) - and it's on sale for almost $50 in many colors... another great holiday dress I'll be wearing. For this price, another one might be in store! It comes in several color options.  And last, but not least--- the peacoat I wore HERE in this post is back in stock and on sale for $37! Last year, it sold out in most sizes and colors so quickly, I wanted to give a heads up. I LOVE SALES!! xoxo 

If I can make it....! The easiest recipe.

I recently wrote a post about the re-discovery of the slow cooker. I'm continuing that thought process here...IF I CAN MAKE IT, SO CAN YOU! My mom makes a roast with carrots and potatoes for the family. Joel has his own version. I now have mine. I had no idea how easy it was to do (sad to say, I realize) with a slow cooker! The meal always looked so much more complicated than it is. So, recipes on this blog are really for people like me -- if you are a seasoned chef/cook, this will seem too basic! Greatest part of it all is that you can prepare it so quickly, then leave the house and it's done when you return. Joys of slow cookers. If you're only cooking for 2 people, you can easily cut the recipe down and cook it for a shorter period. The pot will (should) turn itself to warm at that point and it'll be ready when you get home! 

AshleyAJones.JPG

EASY LIKE SUNDAY MORNING ROAST

You'll need:

  • 3-4 lbs of meat (I like the leaner cuts- for our family we used 3 lbs.)
  • 3 potatoes sliced (we bought a bag of small ones and cut in half)
  • 3 carrots (or a bag of baby carrots)
  • 1 stalk of celebry
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 small can of Rotel (optional)
  • salt and pepper

If you look at our pictures, we're the lazy preparers! We barely chop anything. We put the carrots down first directly in the pot of the slow cooker (we use this version of the slow cooker ---on sale right now), then put the meat directly on top. Wash all veggies before cutting. Add the potatoes, celery and onion. Salt and pepper (I'm generous with the pepper). Then, empty the can of rotel on top (you could do this half way or from the beginning). Cook on low for 4 and half hours. That's all we did. Joel likes to test the temperature of the meat to make sure it's thoroughly cooked. 

And, of course, this makes excellent leftovers! Sometimes it's better the second day! Scroll through the gallery of pictures below to see more. Oh and ps- Joel wanted two options for the pot inside the slow cooker. So he bought this one we used today to have on hand....ceramic white insert.

.....and last but not least- I'm collecting recipes you all have sent via DMs or emails or comments here on the blog. Stay tuned for post written by you all. I love sharing recipes now, so this is really fun for me. 

xoxox


 

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Rare Moments (and leopard prints)

Hi! Jotting down a few lines before I head out for the day. After seeing how crazy fast the green sweater is selling out I posted about earlier this week. I wanted to share some of my favorite sweaters before they starts to sell out, too. I have received the DMs about the green sweater. I will let y'all know as soon as I hear it's been restocked. Fingers crossed. 

This cardigan sweater caught my eye. So glad I snagged it. I love the color scheme and the way the blue pops. I paired it with jeans, a white tee and boots for a casual look, but it could easily be dressed up, too. I'm wearing the same earrings I wore earlier in the week...the delicate threaded hoops for only $28.


side note: I just read in the comments this sweater is already selling out (!). I added this note:

Ugh! How did it sell so fast? When I posted this they had EVERY size. Ok.... first of all, I just checked my sweater. It's a 2. I saw that it looks like it runs small, but in my opinion, I liked the size I got (and I usually wear a 2-4, sometimes 6!). But, since it's more of a cardigan, I think there's some wiggle room there in sizing.
Great thing is there are free returns!! I also found it HERE  (free shipping both ways). It comes in tall and petite on that website.
BTW- (giving a lot of info here) that site works best with chrome. Safari sometimes does't work well. (you could cut and paste to put in chrome if need be).


 

Joel and I had a very rare moment without kids to say goodbye before he left for work. It looks so posed, but it was actually real, or at least started out that way discussing schedules for the next few days. Life gets busy before the holidays!

I had just given him this new messenger bag that doubles as a diaper bag for dads. He loves it. For those moms that would like a gift for dad this holiday--- this is a great one from Petunia Pickle Bottom. His laptop fits perfectly (along with all his other stuff he totes around, too). 

all photos by @Ographr

Got a lot going on today... what's up with you guys? Have a great Thursday!

 

SWEATER WEATHER arrived in LA!!

I ordered this kelly green sweater with oversized buttons a bit ago, but it's really been too hot to wear it until today. There's somewhat of a throwback Jackie O feel to the sweater, while simultaneously being fashion forward with the roomy silhouette. Plus, the buttons and these sleeves make the whole piece! Someday, when I design my own line (hey, a girl can dream), I'd like to implement similar aspects. It also comes in a gorgeous burgundy color that was recently restocked in all sizes. I wanted to jump on this post asap because they are selling out of the green quickly. (Although I am told a new shipment is arriving and to check back online soon for other sizes). For reference (cause some of you usually ask!), I'm wearing a size 4. Both of these colors will be great for family Thanksgiving time or Christmas parties.

Ha! I just saw I have my phone in my back pocket in the first picture. I guess it's always on me, sadly. Anyway, I'm pretty excited to put on a sweater today. It's basically November and we've been in t-shirts. Sweaters and boots and scarves and beanies--- here we come.

I'm having a quick coffee and getting ready to take the boys to Joel's Halloween party today at Disney. I'm not dressing up in a costume, just thrilled to be in a something cozy and soft like this sweater; plus, I'm able to bust out my boots from last year (I found a very similar pair HERE). I did, however, just get these gold earrings I'm wearing (got two pairs, one for a gift) that are delicate and different and $28. They almost look like hoops, but more unique. These are Baublebar (just a side note, I ordered the earrings from Nordstrom, but the Baublebar site is having a good sale right now). 

I'm really hoping Hayden will keep his little monkey costume on at the party... he doesn't like the hat. My girlfriend Ali gave me a tip: put it on him in front of a mirror and let them see what it is... it worked for Molly! I'm sure I'll put some of the chaos up on instastories;) Follow along if you are on your phone. lol! 

AshleyAjones.com

1. KELLY GREEN SWEATER ($65)  2. STRAIGHT DARK JEANS ($179)  3. BURGUNDY SWEATER

4. BROWN NINE WEST BOOTS ($188)  5. THREADED HOOP EARRINGS ($28)

SEE YOU ON INSTASTORY. XOXOX 

Blue Jean Baby

Good afternoon, y'all! Happy Friday. We had @Ographr come take some snapshots a little bit ago. I take so many photos of the kids on my phone, but it's nice to have some high quality pictures of them and the whole family occasionally. 

After wearing variations of the denim on denim trend this week to meetings and auditions, I thought I'd do a quick post about it. I'm really hoping to do more of these posts. The easy thing about denim layers is your probably already have it in your closet! The one new piece I added this season is this jacket

Remember the super snug, almost kid-size phase the denim jacket had for almost a decade? (I've kept that jacket as it's still in style, along with the distressed version here!) But this year we have options with breathing room. Which I like. And I love throwing the jacket over my shoulders--over a dress, like in THIS POST. As soon as the weather switches temperatures, I'll wear it with a light sweater, leggings and boots and scarves! 

Along with the Topshop one I'm wearing (size small, pictured first), I also like these other styles:

I wore hoops to the meeting earlier this week (these are so inexpensive- only $12). Running around, I wear my white converse or washable rothy's flats (I actually wash my converse, too- on gentle). I have the flats in navy rounded-toe, red and light pink (pictured right). They aren't inexpensive, but comfy and easy to wash; the flats are also made with recycled, earth-friendly materials. Mine have lasted a long time. 

On a different note, the one thing about this outfit I will change next time- I would wear darker denim jeans. I like  the stark contrast of the two different denim shades for fall and winter. 

Hope you all have a great Friday. Game 3 of the World Series is on tonight! Who will be watching?? It'll be a good one. I vacillate between who I want to win! H-town needs a good break!

And undoubtedly, we will be outside a lot this weekend. These two boys of ours LOVE the sunshine.

xoxox

ps- while I've got you here, thanks to those of you that watched and commented on NCIS. Means so much.