BoyMom Twinning

A few weeks ago I put this dress and matching shirt for Hayden on instastory. I stumbled on it during a quick run into the Gap. I bought mine and ordered Hayden's (then ended up ordering one for Joel and Huck!). Hayden's just came in the mail. I think I'm gonna do that one cheesy picture this year where the whole family is wearing the same print for summer vacation. Too cheesy? I think it's kinda fun while the boys are still little. And it's not everyday that you find matching mom and boy outfits, so I'm taking advantage.

These matching outfits below (clickable images) are from the Gap. So affordable. There's usually some code for an extra percentage off, so check the website. Joel's shirt came to $24. For reference, I'm in an size XS. This dress is so easy. I love the map print reminding me of places I've been and places on my bucket list. Wear it by itself or with a denim shirt or jacket, or cardigan at night. I added the little toddler/baby girl dress for those of you with little girls! Ahhh. So cute. 

Wearing these extremely budget friendly white sunglasses too much lately, but they're fun (and $14).

Whatever you are up to today, hope it's a good one. Vacation plans soon? 

I'm off to an audition!!

xo

AAJ

Oh the place you'll go...! PEEK INSIDE

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I've claimed a zip code in Los Angeles for over 20 years. Hard to believe. I still feel like a Texas girl at heart. Before I travel to a new city, I enjoy scoping out spots online and read other people's experiences. So, I thought I would start sharing cool places I like in case any of you are visiting that area, too.

Pictures (shot by @Ographr) for a recent blog post were taken in The Butcher's Daughter Cafe, a little coffee/wine bar in Venice in a charming neighborhood pocket called Abbot Kinney. Of course, you've heard of the infamous Venice and Muscle Beach, the Venice Canals, the Marina, Santa Monica, etc. Nuzzled right there in the midst of it all is Abbot Kinney. Sounds English, huh? There is a bit of an English pub vibe as you walk the street. 

About 15-20 minutes (note: everyone says that here... so could actually take longer if there's bad traffic) away from LAX airport and you'll find Butcher's Daughter. A quick google search will tell you how fabulous this place is. Of course, the food is outstanding from breakfast to dinner, but what draws many inside is the design element. Owner and designer Heather Tierney creates a unique blend of old world charm with industrial elements. 

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I would love to create wall "art" out of ferns and succulents. Her hanging plants have my mind racing with inspiration. At meal times on each table, a glass bottle of water waits to greet you. Some of the bottles (I just ordered some of these) are filled with fresh mint and reminded me how much I love mint in many of my drinks! Tea, water- hot and cold, or a good mojito! 

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The palm tree lined street boasts unique mom and pop shops, as well as the diverse flavor only Venice can draw...we watched a women get her body painted in an alleyway. And directly across the street from the cafe, there's the "palm tree wall" (scroll on down;). Perfect wall mural backdrop for a photo.

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 Photos by @ographer

Photos by @ographer

CREATIVE WOMEN

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Yesterday was a day full of creative energy. I wanted to share a few thoughts in case some of you are like me and need a little nudging to make things happen. 

You know how you meet people occasionally and you say, "Let's get together!" The intention may be pure, but the follow through fails? Well, recently Ami Desai, Lisa Breckenridge and Jamie Greenberg found ourselves chatting away at an event. We said we would get together soon. But, you know, we ALL say that. We actually followed through!! 

Jamie (celebrity makeup artist) had to work, boo... (with Kaley funny enough!) but we STILL KEPT OUR PLANS. Lisa made lunch for us (if you're not following her blog and stealing her amazing cooking tips, you're welcome!) and Ami and I indulged as we all took notes for our future project. 

I left feeling full (literally full from food, but also full of ideas!!). I've felt like I needed something like this, so I'm grateful we connected. 

Sometimes, it's helpful to rearrange schedules and prioritize certain gatherings. It's not always easy, I know. Especially with kids. But, it is worth it when you find that group of people that inspire and encourage and excite. Share if you have a story... it might help someone out of a slump. Changing things up occasionally is good for the creative spirit. 

xoxo

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Oh and for those of you interested, the green floral dress I'm wearing is really versatile. I put it up on the liketoknow.it app. In case sizes sell out HERE, it's available HERE, too. It's Eliza J, a brand I've been wearing lately and like.  I'm wearing a 2. It came in the mail and was ready to go (no steaming required like some things!). Many of you DM'd me that you bought the blue and white striped fit and flare from the same brand that was featured in this post. Hope yours is working out, cause I love mine! For the green dress, it's fun with simple strappy sandals or even flip flops during the day. I wore dangled earrings because I wasn't with Hayden who loves to play with them, but usually I wear my studs!!

 

 

THE GINGHAM DRESS WAS ALL I HAD TO WEAR

Happy Sunday! Hope you all are enjoying the weekend. I had a busy few days shooting the film, but relaxing today with Joel and Hayden. Branching out here in this summer frock! It's not a typical pattern I wear. But the summery vibe caught my eye and I wanted to share it with you before it sells out

School is out and it is officially summer!! Nothing says summer BBQ quite like gingham! And this adds a bit of flirty farm girl with the bandeau style (or at least my husband thinks so;) and cut-out back, keeping the look modern, chic and fresh. The adjustable straps and A-line frame make it flattering to a variety of shapes and sizes. And love the pockets (don't we all?). You really can't beat the 50% off price tag under $45. I'm telling you, this dress will sell out-- especially for 4th of July! I get so frustrated wanted to share items with you all, only to find out they are gone by the time I get a blog post up! 

The dress is kinda the star of the look, so no need to compete. I wore simple diamond studs (these linked are in honor of the late, great Kate Spade). And I've been wearing these fun white sunnies nearly everyday ($14). I kept thinking I needed a tan to wear this dress, but gave up on that....and I'm okay with it! 

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The coffee inside the cup is too pretty not to share. I've become a real coffee person lately. You may have noticed if you watch my insta stories. And I put up our latest coffee finds on the liketoknow.it app (if you don't follow me, please do! Download the app and I'm @ashleyaubra. I post links more often about things I like or find. On the app, though, you can read the captions, too.) You can also always check out the SHOP link here on the website. 

As always, thanks for visiting! Hoping to get some good posts (that you all have been requesting) out this week. 

OH AND PS- WHO KNOWS WHY I PICKED THIS TITLE? xoxo leave in comments!

xoxo

AAJ

little update: title of the post is a line in a Dolly Parton song! #oldschoolcountry. ;)

 

You can't have a bad day in POLKA DOTS.

TRUTH. No bad days in polka dots. I think Anna Kendrick said this. I must agree. I wore this top last Saturday to Bloom Summit and it was a good day.

 actresses Christine Lakin, Virgina Williams, Vanessa Ray, me;) Photo by: @Ographr 

actresses Christine Lakin, Virgina Williams, Vanessa Ray, me;) Photo by: @Ographr 

The summit, produced by @NewBloomMedia@beautymomme expert Saarah Samadani, kicked off the morning with a plethora of wellness tips and new products. I'm learning about tricks of the health trade. And you know I'll be sharing my favorites tips and products with you. There were so many new things to wrap my mind around, especially in weight management. With all the inner beauty talk and focus on wellness, it made me reflect on my "SMART" GOALS in this post. Am I accomplishing them? Well, some of them I am! And many I need to revisit and refocus. 

Loved getting to visit with the ladies at the event, even for a moment. All of us have kids the same age (with the exception of the darling Vanessa Ray...you know her from BLUE BLOODS or PRETTY LITTLE LIARS but soap fans will remember AS THE WORLD TURNS!). 

After the event, we headed to San Diego to meet my sister and the day got even better.

I felt very "bright and cherry" in my white sunnies, polka dots and blue pants. Was it too much? ha! Maybe, but whatever- I went with it. The converse grounded the outfit, right? This polka dot top really makes me smile. Love the tiny ruffle on the sleeve. If this one isn't the perfect one for you, here are other fun options. Just click on an image to go to the item at the store's site:

FYI: the blue pants linked are not the same ones I'm wearing. I'm wearing the ones I wore in this post at Hayden's first birthday! But, they sold out quickly. I enjoy a pop of color, so here are some other options of brands I wear:

Non-sequitur, but I asked in the last post about good book recommendations...? Just compiling a list. I'll share! Thanks to those that have dm'd or commented with their suggestions.

xoxo

AAJ

 Photo: @Ographr

Photo: @Ographr

 Alex Basowski, Amy Davidson, me;) Photo: Alex's iPhone 

Alex Basowski, Amy Davidson, me;) Photo: Alex's iPhone 

WEEKEND GETAWAY! Nautically Speaking...continuing my love of STRIPES

Joel, the baby, Oscar (yes, we took the dog!) and I met my sister and her boyfriend this past weekend in Mission Beach. It was a spontaneous decision and ended up being lovely. I think it was really good for us to get away for a bit! There's something about a change of scenery that's good for the soul. Even if we are having a "staycation" for the weekend, I have a to-do list running in the background of my mind. Laundry, clean car, organize this or that. Hayden loved being with Jordyn (my sister) and Cody, being in the pool, looking at all the boats. I love weekend getaways via car. They are more affordable and easier to pack. But, the downside is they end quickly. And Hayden doesn't always sleep as well when he's not in his own crib. Full disclosure, I still haven't finished this Vanity Fair magazine I'm holding. LOL. #toddlerlife

I packed super quickly...a package from Nordstrom had just arrived, so I grabbed the sunglasses and striped shirt out of the box. A couple of posts back, I shared some of my favorites from the Nordstrom sale in a photo. The shirt (with such cute pockets) sold out, but just came back in stock in all sizes. I paired it with wide-leg white pants, but next time I would try for high waisted white jeans like these from the Gap. How cute are they??

I don't think stripes ever went out of style, so to say they are back is silly. But they are everywhere. Along with polka dots (I ordered this polka dot shirt and wore it this past weekend to a different event- will post soon). 

This shirt is classic and affordable. Looks expensive, but only $35, which is a plus. I love the nautical, summer feel. Would be a very cute outfit for July 4th, too. 

I added some bright white, fun sunnies and so glad I did. I got stopped!! Ladies asking where I got them. My favorite thing is to report how affordable they are, "Go order them! They are $14!!" Great sunnies can change a whole look, in my opinion. I appreciate expensive, high quality ones, too, but sometimes it's nice to change it up and not break the bank. Especially while I have a toddler! 

(scroll to the bottom past the pictures for a few quick questions and recommendations)....

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Ok... add to the list! What screams summer to you?? I'd add read a good book (or a magazine!). I need a good book, rec, btw! Have you just finished one you'd highly recommend? Promising myself I'm gonna see more beach sunsets, too. I DO live very close to the beach if I can make it out there. And what's the one thing you would pack if you were heading out this weekend? 

xox

AAJ

Step Up 2018 INSPIRATION AWARDS

Those of you that have been visiting this blog and know me are aware of Step Up Women's Network. Last year, I was overwhelmed with gratitude at the generosity of many of you for your donations on my birthday! I still can't believe it.  

(quick sidenote: I'm reading the comments below. Thank you to those sharing your own experiences!)

Needless to say, it was great to be hosting another Inspiration Awards. Lacey Chabert and I have joined forces and gathered our friends in hopes of spreading the word about what Step Up does.  It was a beautiful day. 

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Beverley Mitchell, Kimberly brown, briana cuoco, kaley cuoco, lacey chabert, katilin vilasuso

Highlights:

Every year, one girl is chosen to share her moving, inspirational "testimony." About 20-30 girls walked out on stage and reported where they will be attending college next year. The majority of these girls are first generation high school graduates. Another group of alumnae (it looks like I misspelled that, but I looked up the plural form of female graduates!) came out and shared where they already graduated and where they will be working. It's such a honor to listen to them talk about their successes. I loved watching my friend Kaitlin Vilasuso's reaction to hearing about Step Up for the first time.

I loved that the high school girls of Step Up that want to be journalists were in the press line asking questions. I was asked what I would tell my younger self 20 years ago. Such a good question for us to all ask ourselves!! I said, "Oh, hope you do not worry so much. It's all gonna work itself out. Focus on the present and be your best YOU today." Now, if I can only take my own advice. Oh, and then I added to enjoy your youth! 

Regina Hall was honored. My favorite line she said to the Step Up girls: pursue excellence, not likes. In a world of social media, this is so important. 

Finally, and selfishly, I love this day because I get to see many friends all in one place. They inspire me. 

This year, I am vowing to do more in the mentorship department. Every little helps, whether we are giving our time or a little donation, or a big one. Programs like Step Up make it very feasible for us to make a difference in someone's life.

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The picture above with Lacey Chabert and journalist and activist Lisa Ling was also taken two years ago when we were all pregnant. We promised each other to get the littles together for a playdate soon.

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Since I do talk about fashion here.... here are a few details on the clothes/my dress. I liked wearing this dress- at $65, you can't really go wrong. Perfect for year round parties, summer weddings, etc. It comes in five colors, so check it out. I am wearing a size us 4 and it was very fitted. I actually had to clasp the back before I zipped it up, but it holds you in really well. I love the cobalt blue and just ordered a 6 to see the difference. Nordstrom is so easy to return if it doesn't work. I also found it on Topshop's site HERE in a deeper blood red!! On both sites, they are selling fast, FYI.

And I have about worn out my nude heels-- right now they are on sale under $50. These elongate your legs (close toed or open strappy). Since the bow and the red color were the focus of my dress, I kept the jewelry to a minimum. I did my own makeup which sometimes works for me and sometimes doesn't. Ha! I like this great highlighter to even out my skin and make my shoulders and cheekbones shine a bit (use sparingly) on top of my lotion. I attempted to use a self tanner the night before, but it didn't work that well overnight, so I mixed Sally Hansen's spray on tan (they also make a body makeup) with baby lotion!

(Tip: if you do this, mix it well. Use more lotion that spray. I stand over an old towel because it can get little bits of makeup on the floor. I quickly take the blow dryer and go over my body to set it once it looks even enough. THEN BEFORE I PUT ON THE DRESS, I take the old towel and gently rub over my legs and arms to make sure the makeup doesn't rub off on the dress. This sounds like a lot of work, and it IS! But, for certain events, it's worth it and once I got the hang of it, I can do it very fast. This was how we evened out my skin in all those swamp scenes on True Blood. On Bold and Beautiful or other soaps, we have BODY MAKEUP artists that come and make your skin even and tan and glow. No joke! Many actresses like to spray tan regularly so they don't have to wear so much body makeup.)

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 taking a quick selfie with Lisa Ling

taking a quick selfie with Lisa Ling

Finally, I have to mention a few of the other gorgeous dresses my friends wore. I am VERY into polka dots and fun prints. Amy Davidson wore the cute dress with a cut out back- darling summer frock. And Beverley Mitchell wore the pretty floral print. My girlfriend Kaitlin Vilasuso wore the stunning white Ted Baker dress. 

Thanks for visiting!! 

Have a great week....

xoxo AAJ

Best under $100 #NordstromSale

Hey Y'all... Happy Saturday. I'm looking for what I'm going to wear to two weddings this summer (first up is my best friend Kaley's wedding, rehearsal dinner, bachelorette dinner party!). As I'm surfing sites, I found some items I wanted to share that are one sale at the Nordstrom Half Yearly Sale. I love these deals. I often get a few items that I know I'll wear over and over again. Last year, I didn't jump on it fast enough and sizes went fast, but the pieces I did snatch up, I seriously wear!

The red dress pictured above- I wrote about here  - is back in stock and on sale for $52 in many colors. This item has been a year round gem for me. It's easy and can be dressed up or down. Great for certain weddings or a rehearsal dinner. 

And if any of you liked the "perfect shirt" I wrote about recently (the one I borrowed from my sister;), it's on sale now for under $29! I am getting the black and white striped version (there are several patterns). SO cute with white jeans or shorts. I ordered the small, but for a more "boyfriend" type feel, I could go up to a medium. 

Below are just the pieces I tagged as some of my favorites. Scroll through and let me know what you think... some of the prices are lower than the tag, FYI.

I'm still scoping out the sale... so stay tuned. Enjoy your weekend! 

xo

AAJ

Let Go, Let GOD.

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I mentioned a bit ago that I would write an update on "life and work." You all have been so supportive asking. You have no idea how much that means to me. So, here goes. 

A couple of great opportunities came my way work wise. I normally don't discuss this stuff, but for some reason, I feel compelled. Let me explain why. A wonderful role became available on a soap I've never been on (a network television soap, so if you do the math, it's easy to figure out). I ended up testing with a group of amazing women, most of whom you would know if you are soap fans. For those of you that are curious about the definition of testing? The casting directors, producers and network narrow down their choices to usually two or three (in this case it was more than a handful). Then, you show up on set and shoot a scene as if it were a usual tape day. The ladies testing worked opposite one of the show's stars (not sure if I'm allowed to say who yet, so I'll refrain). I woke up at 4:30am. Did a bit of hair...put on some makeup. I had my bag and dress I wanted to wear already in the car (I later wore the same dress to the Emmy parties the following weekend). My call time was 6am in Burbank at the studios where they have taped this show for years. You rehearse, then wait, then head to makeup for touch ups, then wait, etc. Finally, you're called to set and tape the scene. Around 9am it was all over. The tapes go to all the "heads of everything." Producers, writers, network people, etc. They figure out exactly what works for them at that time. You get one shot, by the way. No re-shoots. It's a lot of build up for about 2-3 minutes of delivery.

It was a great experience and you have to hope for the best once you walk away from your test. Any type of test. I've done this many times. Sometimes you get that job, sometimes life takes you in a "different direction."  The quotes at the end of the last sentence symbolize the words actors have heard for years when it doesn't go their way. They simply went "a different direction." 

I love the soap world. I love soap fans. I love getting up to go to work in LA and come home to my family. But, that role wasn't meant for me. I have to take a deep breath and let it all go. Let go, and let God handle it.  Not gonna lie, it's not always easy to swallow. But, it just means I am meant to be somewhere else. Or back on a show I've been on before? Maybe. Just maybe.

Then, another great opportunity came up to be considered for on Hulu. A-List actors. George Clooney directing. The script was stellar. But, there was nudity involved. For my own reasons, it wasn't right for me. 

UGH!!! Back to the drawing board. I know that every time a door closes, you can just open it again because, well--- it's just a door. Timing is everything! If you're in a frustrated spot too, keep your chin up, do your preparation, then open that door again.  

Something has came up for June. I have to get permission to discuss it, but it's fun and dare I say... creepy! Ha!

But, know that I am hoping to be back on your screens soon enough...one way or another. 

And personally, the last couple of months have been interesting. Hard interesting. Having a blended family can be wonderful. It can also present challenges. Since many of you have asked and DM'd why Huck hasn't been in pictures lately, I also feel compelled to bring that up, too. Let's just say we're hoping to have our family all together again soon. I know some of you have shared journeys going through similar experiences, which I have appreciated. I'm grateful for all the good going on in my life, too. My family. My friends. My husband. Hayden is PURE JOY. Our time in Texas was very special. 

If you're in a season of frustration, know that this, too, shall pass. God has something bigger in store for us. Beyond anything we could imagine.  It's one of my favorite verses in the Bible. Ephesians 3:20. And if you wanna share anything in the comments below so we can all encourage each other, please do. I will be reading them later today. 

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Big hugs to all.

xoxo

AAJ

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ps- the dress I discuss is on sale under $100 for those that need a fun wedding dress! 

And I there's this post with details on the pictures;) Or click below. 

THE PERFECT SHIRT

Happy Tuesday, everyone. I hope all the moms out there had the best weekend! I was going to save this little blurb for a combined post of our travels to Houston (this was at the Butterfly Museum), but I decided to put it up separately as a quick post because some of you might want this "perfect shirt" that just arrived back in stock in all sizes. I get frustrated when things sell out so quickly!

It's no surprise I'm wearing stripes. I'm a little obsessed lately (see this post HERE). I love the classic and sophisticated look of stripes that offers a collegiate, preppy vibe. It's fun changing things up a bit with one piece. For instance, the knit cardigan I wore in THIS POST offers a completely different vibe, while this striped shirt gives a "casually put together" timeless look. And it's so soft and comfy! I borrowed it from my sister's closet when I was in Texas (thanks, J;) and instantly loved the fit and feel, as do many others if you check out the reviews. (She is a bit smaller than I; this shirt is an extra small. I'm going up to a normal SMALL for my build.) It's tailored, so if you like a roomier feel, go up a size. 

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The shirt would also look a tad more professional with a boyfriend blazer. Or dress it down with shorts and converse? Ideas....??

Hoping you are all having a productive week so far... got more posts coming, so thank you for checking in!! 

xoxo

AAJ

SUMMER CARDIGAN

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In the last post, I wrote about loving "jackets/wraps" while I'm freezing indoors, even when it's 90 degrees outside. As a little gift, my mom got me this Issac Mizrahi knit cardigan ($66). I'm surprised how much I'm loving this because it's not my usual go-to style. (Truth be told, I think she got it for herself, but then I tried it on and kinda kept wearing it... and wearing it...oops!). I may have to return the favor and get her one in the blue color

These are the reasons I could see myself wearing this cardigan a lot more in the future: 

1) covers my bum and many other flaws

2) will work beautifully as a bathing suit coverup

3) will work just as beautifully over a denim top (take a look at the video in that link to see how they paired it with denim) with the sleeves rolled up for a more "professional" look and take me into fall... which leads me to my next point-

4) will work most seasons

5) gives a hint of "cool girl coachella-ish" vibe if worn with the right pieces.

So, there you go!

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1. exact sunglasses 2. crossbody purse 3. similar sandals

4. similar earrings 5. similar Hat

Quick note: for every pair of sunglasses bought, Diff Eyewear donates a pair of reading glasses to someone in need.  Sandals: I love the look of these. I'm very picky about fit for sandals. I don't like my toes sliding out of the shoe, so I appreciate the band in between my toes to keep my feet in place. The reviews are great on these shoes. Same brand that makes the gladiator ones I'm wearing. Earrings: love my hear earrings, but they're sold out right now. These are a similar concept and add a sophistication, while keeping the accessories fun. Hat: I love a good cowboy(girl) hat. This one is such a good price, you can't go wrong, am I right? (My hat is borrowed out of my mom's closet!)

I am hoping to get a moment to write more about work and life later today... but first, we are off to the butterfly museum in Houston. I'm sure I'll be posting on instastories. What are you all up to this Monday morning? 

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Reversible Bomber Jacket: unicorn magic

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I am in Houston, Texas right now. The irony of being here even during the warm months?  I still need a jacket. Everyone keeps it SO cold inside, I freeze! So, I usually have something to throw on at all times. I'm not gonna lie, this jacket is amazing...unicorns and stripes!  It was a gift from a sweet friend and I love it, but it's not within my usual price point here. It is pricey.

It's reversible, incredibly comfortable, has pockets and I'm kinda obsessed with both sides of the jacket. Unicorns just never seem to go out of style with me. But, even when you might grow tired of the trend, flip the jacket around and wear the timeless navy and white stripes. (I'm clearly appreciating stripes lately. If you visit my blog, you might remember this post?)  If you're looking for something like this and want to invest, grab it. Alice & Olivia make the best pieces that I wear again and again. 

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I'll wear this undoubtedly with white pants, but today, I threw it on with shorts, a white tank and converse that don't even match! HA. As a mom that is constantly bending over to grab Hayden, I'm not all that interested in wearing short shorts unless I'm at the beach. So, I appreciate the longer styles. They're not quite bermuda length, but almost. I can't find these (the brand is MOTHER) exact ones, but I linked some from Nordstrom that are very similar. JCrew also has some very cute white ones this length. I love mine, I just didn't bring them with me here to Texas.

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Yes, I still carry my JuJuBe black back pack (it's originally a diaper bag!). I use it on planes and it comes in so handy. It fits my large laptop, too. Today, I actually had that on my backpack and carried my tote with me, too.

I'm laughing at this photo below. I'm at La Madeline. I think it's a southern restaurant (or do y'all know if there are more around the country?). It's one of my favorite places to go for lunch when I'm in town seeing my family. I routinely order the fat free chicken caesar salad. Ok- sorry for the non sequitur! 

 My sister said this photo was so cheesy, I wasn't allowed to use it. Lol. Did she mean, like, ever? Or just on social media? Ha... at least you can see how cute the  jacket  is!

My sister said this photo was so cheesy, I wasn't allowed to use it. Lol. Did she mean, like, ever? Or just on social media? Ha... at least you can see how cute the jacket is!

I decided to link a few other bomber jackets at various price points below. Although I have ordered successfully from the sites, I don't own these items. They're just similar pieces I found (that I would totally wear, especially for some of these prices!). 

Headed off to a family outing with Hayden. I wanted to add more to this random fashion post, so hope to add more later today. Just in a rush. Hope you all are having a great Saturday. 

xoxo

AAJ

SUMMER LUNCH: USANA beauty event (and my new go-to skirt)

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1. Black Lace Skirt  2. Statement Necklace 3. Perfect white tank 4. Similar strappy black heels

I got to attend a very cool beauty event for USANA this week and met some pretty fancy people and the fancy London Hotel. Jamie Greenberg (pictured above) and I sat together. Jamie's a dear friend and celebrity makeup artist. She always has the lowdown on the the latest and greatest. I'm wanting to do a Q&A soon with her... so, stay tuned! 

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I know many of you have followed along my journey with USANA and have become fans yourselves. I have even promised to do a post ASAP on my routine with supplements and answer a few questions. I will get to that! (And there is also a new detox supplement that several of you have DM'd me). But, of course, I had to let you know about their launch of Celavive right away. I'm using the products now, so you'll get a full report very soon, including Jamie's favorite ways to incorporate Celevive. (So far, the professionals are raving about the toner, revitalizing serum and eye cream.)

And per usual, I had to let you know outfit details. This skirt is the same brand (Eliza J) as the striped summer dress I wore HERE.  It's 40% off right now! On sale for just over $100. I'm wearing a 4. I love the way it hangs and touches the floor in the back, but I know some of you would want to get it hemmed. I paired it with a white tank and statement necklace to give it a little daytime feel, but I know it would look amazing with a strapless black or cream top. Perfect for wedding season, parties and even lunches;) By the way, about once a year, I stock up on these Gap tanks just in time for summer. I love the look of a clean white tank (and I get mine dirty so quickly, I usually get a few). They're great for layering, too. 

I took a couple silly bathroom selfies to show you the detail of the skirt and necklace. Every time I wear this necklace, people stop and ask about it! It's so affordable for such a big statement. It's from Baublebar. You can also have it shipped free from Nordstrom right HERE

1. Black Lace Skirt  2. Statement Necklace 3. Perfect white tank 4. Similar strappy black heels

Gonna get back to taking care of Hayden. He's still not completely well. Poor thing! Hope you all are having a great Friday.

xoxo

AAJ

MIXBOOK for MOTHER'S DAY

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Hi everyone! Rolling out my first idea for the best Mother's Day gift!

My own mom has been asking for a coffee table book of pictures of her grandkids. I used to make these lavish, large, fun pictorials back when I was single and had time (wishing I was where I am now)! But, since Hayden was born, time has taken on a very different meaning. Mainly, because there never seems to be enough of it!

So, I really wanted to make a coffee table book for Mom (and one for myself- an extension of Hayden’s baby book!) It seemed insurmountable to think about sitting down and creating it. But, when Mixbook came into the picture and wanted to partner on a blog post, I took a long look at their online site. "Long" because I got caught up in everything they offer on their blog, gallery photo concepts, etc. Then, I got very excited to make my own. A DIY sort of project (but they do all the hard work).

I easily uploaded photos of Hayden to the albums. Then,  you can select an album to start a new project. They have all the bells and whistles of themes and fun concepts. I decided I wanted to keep it classic and clean looking for the project for my mom. I chose the hard back, large version (the 12x12 isn’t an option at the beginning, but once you finish your book, you can “edit” the style and sizes and choose the larger version then), flat laying, archival pages. Even with adding extra pages and all the “add-ons,” it still was a great price for the quality. BUT, I’ve been noticing the deals they often have, so after all is said and done, it’s a very affordable gift or memory book.

After walking down memory lane of the past two years (HOW IS HAYDEN 2?), I really thought it couldn’t get better than that. But it did. When I got it in the mail (and several days BEFORE the expected date)! I teared up opening the book.  I could not WAIT to give it to my mom for Mother’s Day. Matter-of-fact, I didn’t wait! I personally took it to Texas recently and gave it to her early. I knew she would cherish it and the many memories of little Hayden’s first two years. I’m not sure I could have picked a better gift. Mixbook really melds the worlds of DIY scrapbooking and professional quality picture books.

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 He was only one month here!! AHHHH.... how fast it all goes.

He was only one month here!! AHHHH.... how fast it all goes.

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I’m already planning the next book - and it’s a collaboration with my sister! Yes, they allow you to “share” the project with others and all contribute to the book. My mind goes nuts thinking about all the fun and affordable projects to be had here: kids making a book for parents’ anniversary, friends all contributing to a book for a loved one’s big birthday, office gift, teacher gifts!

So, get your creative side uploading to Mixbook. Please let me know how you like your projects. I wanna see them!!! And check out their Mother's Day Specials HERE! 

xo

AAJ

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SUPER TROOPERS PREMIERE: seems like old times

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If you guys saw my stories this week, you know I got to attend the SUPER TROOPERS 2 premiere. Marisa Coughlan, one of my best friends for over 20 years (more like a sister), is Ursula in the original movie. We are very used to supporting each other's endeavors and projects, but haven't walked the red carpet together in while. Especially not for one of our own movies; this was special. I'm so proud of her! Wife, mother, actress, writer, daughter, aunt and incredible best friend/sister, she's the real deal.

So, we left the kiddos at home (Marisa has 4, one of which is my goddaughter) and ventured out like old times. If the first movie is your cup of tea, getting ready to love the sequel! It's funny. The event was also cool because the producers made it all about the fans. Fans that wanted a sequel could invest in this movie and attend the premiere, Q&A, after-party, etc. The night was like going back in time for us. It was a lot of fun.

We are wearing a few different trends here: white, jumpsuits, floral, maxi and halter. 

Marisa's is gorgeous in a Black Halo jumpsuit. I think she nailed her whole outfit. Jumpsuits are so fun and "on trend" right now, as they say. Emmanuelle Chriqui stuns in a form fitting one pictured above right.  Marisa's exact one is selling out on Black Halo's site, so I linked another site below in the picture. Also, two other white jumpsuits I love. These are not the most affordable, but if you decide on one, I think it would be worth the investment. 

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Mine is a dress that my girlfriend Kaley gave her sister Bri, then Bri passed on to me! The traveling dress of the sisterhood, as Kaley says! The same dress in a different color is on eBay right now for under $15 --unless I buy it first! Ha. I love this Winter Kate brand, too. The style is classic, but sexy. There was a clasp that made it more modest in the front, but it broke before I hit the red carpet!! (I later found a safety pin). Embarrassing, but we made it work. I wore it with bangles and my trusted nude strappy leather heels I wear way too much! Also, this clutch goes with nearly everything (also a crossbody purse for more casual looks). Since this dress is from last season, it's not readily available, but I found some styles in the same vein I linked below (with a wide range of prices). Click on the image for details. 

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We both added a bit of color to our skin. I used Sally Hansen's body makeup mixed with lotion. And Marisa got this shimmer powder by Jouer that I added last minute before we left. (I like it so much, I'm getting it in rose gold.)

And two quick last things: I think the movie comes out 4/20;) Lemme know if you see it. And I'm adding a picture below of almost all the kids together. Hope y'all are having a great weekend! For those of you near the east coast--- stay warm. Marisa is in Minnesota right now in the middle of a blizzard!! xo

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Stripes. Sunshine. And a Sprinkle.

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Forgive my cheesy titles. Sometimes I sound like I'm a kindergarten teacher. Oh well...  The "s" theme in the title is appropriate. I have to share some of my favorite striped fashion for the season (and I WAS in the sunshine at my girlfriend Ali Fedotowsky's sprinkle for her second baby!). 

I'll start by saying Ali's shower was adorable with a "blue jean baby boy" theme. If you followed along on the stories, you saw the gorgeous flowers and place settings. Plus, it was kinda cloudy the day before, so the sun literally came out and shined on Baby Manno for the sprinkle. Awww. I'm sure Ali will share more on her blog soon, too. I'll let you know.

Ali/Sprinkle

I wanted to wear something theme-oriented, but also something that I just felt comfortable in, too. I picked this blue and white striped fit and flare dress. It has a cut-out in the back and is so easy to wear. For a reference point, I'm in a size 2 in this dress. It's not the most affordable piece I've worn, but I know I'll wear it a lot. This is one of those dresses that works in your 20s and even in your 60s. I'm not kidding! There's always a cute white cardigan to add (the one highlighted is $20!- white or  blue)... If you're looking for something that would work for day events or early evening-- bridal showers, baby showers, concerts, graduations, summer parties, etc.... I just love the classic combination of blue and white.

My girlfriend Willa Ford also had on stripes. I must say, she was the sexier version of stripes! And also on point with the trends right now. I'm loving the cut out, bit of skin here and there. 

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And of course, Ali looked beautiful. And no, she really doesn't have a name yet for Baby Manno. But, we all chimed in! And Miss Molly danced out on the beach.  What a doll. She and Hayden are slightly obsessed with each other. And I'm slightly obsessed with Ali's dress! I found the the print in a few other styles, too... take a peek below.

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Stripes/redshoes

 

 

I walked Oscar when I returned home. Joel snapped this picture kinda tongue-and-cheek making fun of me. But, I'm glad because it shows my favorite red flats. I actually wore them the day before, too. You've probably heard me talk about Rothy's. I love that I can wear them to the beach, then wash them when I get home (I air dry them afterward, but you can also "fluff" on delicate).   

 

I'm not quite done with this post, but I'm gonna publish it to go up for now anyway. I have a few more things to add (like I'm kinda into Willa's sunglasses... anyone else wanna know how to get a pair!?)... so stay tuned, I'll return later. Gotta few appointments today.  xoxo

 

IN 1 second EVERYDAY, make a movie of your life

***IF YOU FOLLOW @1SEONDEVERYDAY and DM them "ASHLEY SENT ME" they are picking 5 winners to get a free download. Yay!*******

THIS IS TOO FUN not to share. I learned about this app 1 SECOND EVERYDAY from my girlfriend Ali Fedotowsky and she did not lead me astray. 

First of all, one of the fun topics that comes up in conversation lately is 'what are your favorite apps?' I've been asked this so many times! Now, I'm asking YOU what your favorites are? I actually decided to put some of my favorites in the SOAP DIGEST column that will be out soon. Once I hear back from you all, I'll have a great list to put up here on the blog for all of us.

I've been using this app so much recently, I couldn't wait to share it. No matter your age, you will have a reason to download 1 second a day. This app is reinventing the home movie/birthday footage/ college party/ summer vacation.... 

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I have about 50K photos/videos on my computer. Embarrassing, I realize. I am doing something about all of that- (different story), but what really bugs me is having them behind cold metal on my laptop or on external hard drives…. I’m getting better at making books and printing, but this app takes it up a notch. It takes moving snapshots of our lives and strings them into a movie! (I am sharing the last couple months of Hayden's below).

 

1 second a day doesn’t sound like you’re capturing much (only a second after all), but get ready to be blown away! Especially if you’re a mother capturing family moments with the littles. You can go back in time and add seconds from a certain time period, but what’s really a great time saver is the “roll the dice” feature. For instance, I can go back to January and the app will randomly pick seconds from every single day. If you love their choices, you can keep the selection, or you can edit them (plus, you can now add an extra second to the days that are that special). I love getting in bed at night and “rolling the dice.” It's amazing what pops us. 

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As a mom, this app has brought so much joy and relief. Let me explain…. some days I just feel like I’m not writing down every change Hayden makes or new experience. I’m sure you get the picture. Especially first time mothers. Plus, I want to do the same thing for Huck! We naturally are capturing a ton of video and photos with our cell phones because we can. But let’s not just let them sit there on these machines! This app did the rest of the work for me. And if I have a bit more energy, I will add a journal entry to a selection. It’s a new feature they added. Plus, I have multiple projects going on- one for Huck, etc. I can’t wait to play Hayden and Huck’s movie at their 2nd and 6th birthdays. Wow. I haven’t written that down yet—— 2 and 6. Time just keeps going. But, at least I have these seconds from the days of our lives. Ha;)

$4.99 for iPhones and free for android. If you’re like me, I sometimes balk at spending anything over 99cents on an app. Yet, I’m often caught at the coffeeshop paying $4 for a pick-me-up. Or dropping money on valet, etc. So, lemme do the contemplating for you…. if you are debating- just purchase the app. Looking forward to your thoughts and potentially new tips and how I can get more out of it! I’m still learning. If you wanna hear more about the creator's back story, check it out HERE

And looking forward to hearing your thoughts! Plus, lemme know your favorite apps in the comments below. xoxo 

 

 

 

BACK FROM TEXAS: traveling with a toddler

Hayden and I are back in California and I'm missing my family. I'm not typically a jealous person, but I have to admit, when I see other people with their family surrounding them all the time, I wish we had that! But, alas, life choices took me away from Texas years ago and our family lives here in California!

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1. My Exact white dress (comes in 9 colors)  2. Variation of the dress 3. V-neck dress & bell sleeves

4. Similar Option to Sister's dress

BLENDED FAMILIES

I've been asked about life with a blended family. I don't feel like an expert on the topic, so I rarely comment. However, I realized sharing my experience is simply that... I'm not trying to give advice. There are so many beautiful aspects of a blended family. We cherish the time when our whole family is together (Hayden and Huck are very close-- it's chaotic, but great). But, when it comes to schedules and trips and visiting family, it gets hard. Although Huck was on spring break while Hayden and I were in Texas, that time is split between Joel and Huck's mom. Since I want to see my family as much as possible, often that means I am in Texas with just Hayden. We make it work like many of you do. Family trips just take more pre-planning and time. Who went through something similar recently? 

TRAVEL TIME WITH A TODDLER

It's a joy to see Hayden with his grandparents and my siblings. He loves his Aunt Jordyn! As hard as it is flying by myself with him on my lap (oh.my.goodness!), it's worth it. I think we are at an in-between stage traveling with him. A little bit older and he'll want to watch a movie. A little younger, he'd sleep on the plane. Right now, he just wants to roam. I tried to be overly prepared with a kid's headset, downloaded movies, snack packs, etc. and it definitely helps, but if you guys have tips from your own experiences, I'd LOVE to hear. I do love the backpack diaper bag. It's genius for traveling and walking through airports while pushing a stroller. 

I don't know about you all with toddlers, but we always seem to get our groove of naps and bedtime the last day or so. I have yet to figure out the best way to handle time changes and sleep routines. Hayden has done well recently in his own bed. Outside of his own bed, it is challenging. I've heard other kids sleep like champs in a pack and play, but Hayden fights me! This explains the lack of sleep and why my hair is usually in a bun! Lol. Of course, the very last day, he slept in the pack and play. 

WEAR IT AGAIN? yes, and again and again!

Okay, if you all visit the blog or follow on social media, you are well aware that I like this dress. Yes, this is the same one I wore last year on Easter. I love a great new dress or item of clothing, but I also appreciate pieces I already own. I've talked way too much about this dress, like I did HERE, so I'll move on now. Oh, and my flats are washable, sustainable and I love the petal pink. 

My sister's dress is so cute on her. Love the style and type... she got it from chicwish, a site I like, but it's sold out. So, I found great similar options. ALL the dresses below are under $100. So great for summer parties, date nights, baby showers, etc. And the dress I'm wearing comes in 9 different colors!

1. My Exact white dress (comes in 9 colors)  2. Variation of the dress 3. V-neck dress & bell sleeves

4. Similar Option to Sister's dress

 

I promise to move on to other fashion options soon! Hope everyone is having a great day. 

xoxo

 

SPRING INTO IT!

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I've been wanting to write about spring items! When I finally compiled my favorites, the list was too long.  So, I'm breaking it up and starting with EASY, WRAP DRESSES. I bought this wrap dress (pictured) and love it (especially over jeans for a transitional outfit between seasons). But, as much as I liked it, I was wondering if was too "girly" or "young-looking" for me. Then, I started to see variations on style icons (thank you, Sarah Jessica Parker), I decided it WAS NOT TOO young or girly. 

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But, alas, while I was busy wondering these silly thoughts, many others were busy buying out most of the sizes of this exact dress. However, I took note of many near-exact items (see below). I can't get over how well the GAP version fits and looks like a replica of the one I already love.

And while I was compiling this list, I fell even more in love with the "girly-ness" of ruffle and wrap style that I had to make a few (insanely affordable) purchases in some brighter shades of the wrap (see below). Not to keeping bringing up the Gap, but they are having quite the sale (up to 50% off, so check it out). I got an XS in the purple striped wrap. This color combo makes me happy.

The black and white gingham (very popular this year) is so flirty fabulous, I'm thinking I could pair it with open-toed, stripy heels and wear it to an evening event. And I can't help loving the girl version of Joseph's "Coat of many colors" for under $30! Also, I'm trying to venture out a bit to other sites. Have y'all every looked at Nasty Gal? The name alone makes me laugh, but I'm finding incredible deals (40% off everything right now) and very cute options.

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Two things to note here that I have thought through.... if I'm running after Hayden, is this dress inappropriate to wear...er... will it fly up? And, it's still on the chillier side of spring, so will I be cold? My solution? Skinny jeans underneath.  And I was shocked by the number of compliments I got on being "smart" for wearing pants! Here are two options below that I like.

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Happy Wrapping Up! Ha. But, seriously, if you haven't done a wrap dress in a while, or ever- this may be your year! 

Stay tuned for more to come... sooner than later.

xoxo You guys are awesome. Thanks for your patience!

 

WEAR IT AGAIN... AND AGAIN. Favorite inspiring moments from the Oscars.

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The sun is out this Monday morning... how was the weekend? Ours was a bit rainy, but yesterday was beautiful. Did y'all watch the Oscars last night? The show was inspiring and emotional at times addressing themes of persistence (finally, James Ivory!) inclusion and empowerment. Made me realize there's a quite a few movies I'd really like to see! I saw a tweet last night that said, "For parents, the Oscars are a reminder of all the movies we didn't see over the last 12 months!" SO TRUE. 

I appreciated Greta Gerwig's thoughts about encouraging people to go after their dreams. I liked that she said "go make your movie!" Obviously, it's easier said than done, however... she did it! She wrote and directed her film and was there in the audience for several nominations. And, naturally, how powerful was Francis McDormand's speech asking all the female nominees to stand. Talk about motivating! A few moments like this really did make me take inventory of what I'd still like to accomplish. Did any of you feel this way?

Also, how hilarious were Maya Rudolph and Tiffany Haddish? Just funny complaining about high heels (can't we all relate) and complimenting their bathroom scenes in recent movies. I could have watched more of them and less of others! 

Tiffany Haddish kept her promise of wearing her white Alexander McQueen dress again and again.... and again! She jokes the dress cost her more than her mortgage and she'd get her money's worth! We first saw her on the red carpet of GIRLS TRIP wearing the gown, then again as the host of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. And to round it out as the fashion moment of the night, she stole the show with Maya standing in that same frock. Talk about breaking all sorts of fashion taboos.... and only secured her position as the down-to-earth funny girl we'd like to see more!

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And Rita Moreno! How amazing that she wore her Oscar dress from her 1962 win! Proof that some things just don't go out of style. And also just a bit more proof that the taboo of wearing the same thing over and over again --THAT is what's going out of style!

Now, I'm wondering what's in my closet that I could pull out and update? Or some staples that I could invest in and wear over and over...clearly THAT'S the newest trend!!

So, one of my favorite dresses I wore last year will be my go-to spring dress again this year (pictured above). It sold out in popular colors (like white) and sizes last year, so if you're interested, I'd grab it now. I have it in white, but it really fits so well, I think I'm gonna go for the navy india ink or the lilac. Paired with nude heels or converse and a denim jacket, it makes for an easy spring look. Check out the colors- red and black are great, too. 

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1. Perfect Spring Dress 2. Nude Heels 3. Easy Everyday Hoops 4. Modern Sunnies

I'm working on a post of SPRING/SUMMER ESSENTIALS. So, stay tuned. In the meantime, what pieces are you pulling out from last year or before that you could update today?