Friday is for Friends, #KindText and a Sprinkle of Magic!

I pray every day and night for this child. We are so blessed to have healthy, vibrant children. There are a great many things Joel and I hope to instill in Hayden and his big brother Huck. At night, when I'm holding the baby or saying goodnight to Huck, I just want them protected forever. And I want them to grow up protecting others. 

Right now, their innocence is palpable. Huck has such a vivid imagination. I want Hayden's imagination to flourish, too. I hope he believes he can do or be anything. And mostly, I want them both to believe in themselves. I pray that God enables me to be the best step-mother and parent I can be. I think of Proverbs 22:6: Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not part from it. 

I have great friends that are creative and are supporting healthy, positive messages for all of us, especially our kids. I'm no different than any other parent that wants their kids to dream big, be brave, but never ever compromise kindness. If you saw my instagram post, you know I'm thrilled to spread the good works of a friend's project called #KindText. Chrissy Kling started this movement with her pre-teens to develop healthy, kind habits for kids with phones and social media. As Chrissy pointed out to me, the world will always have bullies and mean girls, but let's not raise them! Our kids learn from us. If we are not being kind to one another, they see that. KindText is a fun but heartfelt (and sometimes very serious) movement worth sharing, promoting and getting involved. I love that the idea is to promote kindness in tweens and teens on social media, but it's working on adults, too. Pay kindness forward. It costs us nothing and slowly changes our world. If someone has done something like this for you, the feeling is magical... which leads me to...

My multi-talented friend Kimberly Brown has her own etsy store. I really appreciate the messages on her soft t-shirts like the "I believe in magic" one she's wearing pictured below. 

She has another one that reads: being normal is vastly overrated. This is a quote from her character Marnie in Halloweentown, the iconic movie in which Kim starred. Who else can quote lines from that film? I love this message. I've never felt normal! It's taken a lifetime to understand that is actually a good thing! I hope Hayden and Huck determine what's their own version of 'normal' and not let the world determine for them! 

I be remiss if I didn't also mention the t-shirts are under $18.  Kim's site does a great job at describing the sizing and fabrics, so check it out! And you can check her out if you are anywhere near Salem, Oregon at the Cherry City Comic Con this weekend! 

And follow #KindText 

And for the lighthearted, fashion portion, see below! This chic, very light sweater (you have to see it on) is on sale for $47 right now;) I also wore it the entire weekend my friend Ali got married. It was perfect with boyfriend jeans at the beach, dinner, morning breakfast, sunset walks with Hayden, etc. I'm into bell sleeves on unexpected pieces like this one and on the hoodie I wore in this post. I'm also into stripes;  this sweater has both! 

ps- Hayden never turned around in these photos, but if he had....a little frog prince!

As always, share any thoughts! Share your own experiences of inspiration when someone else sent a #kindtext or paid it forward to YOU.  xoxo Ashley

LEATHER and LACE for a modern twist!

Hello you all! I'm excited to share this look today. Biker sweet and chic? Is there such a thing?! Sometimes it's nice to switch things up style wise. I've already mentioned how I feel in this dress.  I love it. I wrote about wearing it in THIS POST (and other outings recently). Since we just moved, I'm wearing the same couple of items over and over until I get more organized. However, I wanted to give the dress a different look and edge it up a bit.  I found this tailored biker-babe jacket and I like the dress even more now. I think it's kinda obvious in these pictures I enjoy wearing this outfit. I have a feeling it won't stay in stock too long, so I wanted to share asap. 

What pieces have you added to your wardrobe to complete or change several outfits? I've never really thought about it, but now I'm excited to play with items in my own closet to give pieces from seasons past a new, modern twist. 

The jacket (one of the best faux leather ones I've found for the price- under $100) will edge up any outfit- dress or jeans or pants or even shorts! I'm a big believer in finding the best for the least amount of money, but you also get what you pay for! The material, the zipper detail and slightly structured fit are flattering and give off a bit of attitude! It adds just enough "biker girl" to balance out my sweet & flirty dress. It was hard to decide between the black or brown optionBrown would have been a different feel, but equally cool. 

I wore some heels from a few seasons back, but like these more modern, affordable heels so much, I think I'll order them. The clean lines will work with nearly everything. They aren't too high, which works well for me these days with the baby;)

What doesn't always work with the baby are my $12 hoops, but I sneak them on sometimes. They are a fun and delicately make a statement, plus the $12 price tag makes them even more awesome. I wear the studs my husband gave me for Valentine's Day all the time, but when I'm heading sans Hayden, I switch them out sometimes for a different feel. Right now, I feel so unorganized with the move, I keep wearing the same jewelry and clothes over and over again. Until I get a system going...Hello, container store... (that will be another post!).  

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You guys- thanks for your comments. I love reading them and try to respond to as many as I can.  I'm making a list of ideas you add here (and send via email). I'm a bit backed up on it all, but will get there slowly but surely. Stay tuned! 

xox ashley

THE DRESS YOU'LL WEAR AGAIN AND AGAIN!

I can't wait to wear this dress again. Although it comes in six colors (in regular and PETITE), this coral color just makes me happy, but I bet I would wear the dress in black all the time, too. We are in the throws of moving, but my husband and I are giving ourselves a real date night reward once we get somewhat organized (we are so long overdue!) and I'm wearing this off-the-shoulder flirty dress! I just hung it up in the closet and am reminded how much I love it. I will wear this to weddings, parties, showers, events, etc. 

I'll be honest, our usual date nights are jeans and converse (for both of us). But, we have some events coming up where I'll need to step it up a bit and this dress is perfect.

I paired the dress with nude pointy heels (here is a very similar style, too), animal print clutch (that converts to a cross body purse) - see another concept here- and delicate hoop earrings (only $12!). I think I could add some fun jewelry, so that'll be for the next occasion.

For reference, I'm wearing a small and it doesn't cling. 

Back to unpacking now... We are actually in the new house! I'm trying to stay focused and not get overwhelmed, but oh my goodness. What a disaptrophy, to quote my step-son. It will get organized.... someday....somehow....soon, Lord, please. My husband and I keep reminding ourselves that "this is the fun part!" For all of you that gave some moving advice, it was greatly appreciated!! 

I have a few weeks before I head to Canada for my next project, so staying focused! 

xo Ashley

CASUAL CHIC FRIDAY! From Day to Night

It's Friday! I wore this fun, bell sleeved hoodie a bit ago for meetings during the day (see the post here) , then ended up wearing the white top for a dressy-casual night out. So easy, comfortable and perfect for a spring nighttime look. Just add dressier pants and heels! The hoodie was just restocked in two colors and all sizes! But, this brand goes fast. For under $80, I'm kinda obsessed with the top, especially the sleeves. The bell shape and ruffle really add to the overall feel of the outfit.

I'm really into white right now, as you may have noticed, but this top also comes in grey! I'm wearing leggings from last season, but I found these moto-style pant leggings  that I'm ordering. That is actually the look I was hoping to go for with this hoodie for a chic/street style. 

I can't find this exact purse from last year, but I like the brand a lot, so linked their newest style. However, this faux leather, less expensive cross body clutch (under $50) comes in three colors and feels amazing!

As I mentioned yesterday, we are in the middle of chaos! Packing, packing, packing. Thanks for some of the tips you left. I'm off to buy colored tape right now. Wish us luck! We're gonna need it.

xo Ashley


B&B 30TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY!

Kathy Hutchins Photography/HutchinsPhoto

Kathy Hutchins Photography/HutchinsPhoto

We enjoyed celebrating the 30th with cast and crew from over the years at Clifton's in Downtown Los Angeles. It was quite the evening! I hope to spend a bit more time writing about it, but for now, here's a little glimpse! I got to catch up with so many cast members. I really loved Joel getting to meet them all, too. Kelly, Heather, Jennifer, John Mc Cook... they are all so dear to me. And, of course, Colleen and Brad Bell. I look forward to the next time I get to work with everyone. I'll add more pictures as we continue to share them!

Thanks for checking in! I'm in the middle of a big move (ugh!)... so packing and running errands today before heading out for event tonight. What are you all up to? And any advice on moving! ha! Other than breathe! xo


OTHER POSTS TO CHECK OUT: 

WHITE AND LACE: sweet, playful and party ready! Happy First day of SPRING.

I am slightly obsessed with THIS DRESS. First of all, I'm really into white right now. Secondly, I love dresses that fit well. This one has adjustable straps so that it can fit your body perfectly. I like the A-line. And I love the lace. The peek-a-boo aspect is a fun, demure addition. Plus, how cute would this look with a t-shirt underneath and white converse?

1. LACE DRESS 2. SUNGLASSES 3. NUDE HEELS 

4. SPLIT RING 5. CROSS BODY PURSE 6. DELICATE HOOPS

From Sunday best at church (yesterday with a sweater) to Lennox's birthday party in the afternoon (Amy Davidson's son just turned one!), to a evening party coming up (I'm wearing it with this faux leather jacket), this dress is versatile. I'm also pretty proud of these price points. Everything is under $90, starting with the sweet and sexy lace dress. For a dress I'll wear over and over and fits so well, it's worth it. Ring is on sale for under $16, hoops are $12, pale pink sunglasses are $24 and  the cross body purse is $35

So, happy first day of spring. Enjoy your Monday. I'm off to the races for a packed week. Trying to pace myself! xo Ashley

WEEKEND, I SEE YOU!! Vacation dreaming in this GREEN dress! ps- happy ST. PATTY'S DAY! Are you wearing green?

Happy Friday! Dreaming of vacation days in this resort style dress. Those days will come again, I know it! In the meantime, I can wear pieces like this that make me feel like I'm off to an island somewhere, when really I'm off to a lunch meeting over the hill! It's in Beverly Hills, so that's fabulous enough for me! ha! Since my sweet sister is in town visiting and helping with Hayden, I can actually shower and get dressed!

1. Silk Wrap Print Dress   2. Delicate Hoop Earrings 3. Strappy Nude Heels

4. Sunnies 5. S'well bottle 

Maybe it's just me, but this also has a Palm Springs feel to it... with the pale pink sunglasses ($24!), or a similar style for a bit more heredelicate hoops ($12)and the turquoise S'well bottle doesn't hurt! (I don't always match my water bottles to my outfit, but when it happens, it's fun! lol). Can you tell I'm enjoying these new glasses? I'm wearing them in THIS POST, too!

Happy St. Patty's Day everyone. Enjoy your Friday.

xo Ashley

 

Love is in the Air! What to Wear to Weddings this season!

It's wedding season! Late afternoon, sunset weddings are now happening. We just attended a gorgeous one for our friends Ali and Kevin! Congrats to the happy couple!

I for one never know what to wear. In California, we often read "black tie optional" on the invitation. That opens up a wide range of options. If you received an invite with that description, would you think long or tea length? Is short ok? Regardless of the level of dressiness, there are a few questions I ask myself....read on!  

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1) Am I appropriate? Age-appropriate, length, color, seasonally-appropriate, coverage-wise...For instance, if I expect I might be dancing quite a bit, I don't want to have any wardrobe malfunctions! So, for this last wedding, I opted for this versatile, affordable dress (below, check out how cute it is with a t-shirt and converse underneath!).

2) Am I comfortable? Weddings are usually long. You start on the early side and go into the evening. Your shoes should be able to withstand the night (I brought these stretchy ballet flats to change into when my heels were too much), but I also heard these foldable shoes are wonderful, too. I wore my favorite (investment) closed-toed shoes because my toenails weren't painted (ha!), but if I had made the time, I would have worn open-toed strappy sandals. 

3) Do I think I'm gonna wanna enjoy the music? This is definitely something to consider when picking out your dress (and shoes).

4) For HIM? Do you want to coordinate on some level? I don't usually worry about this, but occasionally, it's fun to compliment or have a color scheme.

5) Will it get cold at night or will it be cold inside the venue? I brought a wrap for the evening. We're in such transitional weather here... warm during the day and pretty chilly at night. I like an option like this (and love all the color choices). 

6) Bag for essentials? I carried this clutch that turns into a cross body purse. (I also used it HERE for a casual look).



AshleyAJones/photoboothfun
AshleyAJones/photobooth

This post and other ideas:


AshleyAJones.com

Thanks for checking in today... chime in below with any thoughts! Stay tuned because I have some fun posts planned for the weekend. Happy Pre-St.Patty's Day!! Wear your green tomorrow. xoxo

The perfect, on-trend, chic SWEATSHIRT HOODIE!

Hello! Mondays are for coffee breaks! And I am in need of a little pep for an early evening writer's meeting. I haven't been writing many "outfit" posts lately, but when I find pieces I think you all might enjoy, too, I know it's time! And I do like finding them, so keep a look out for more to come.

I found this bell-sleeved, bright white (very light weight, by the way) hoodie that screams cozy and chic--- and paired it with boyfriend jeans and converse. A very California, casual vibe. I can't tell you how many people stopped to ask where I got this! I originally thought THIS TOP would add a little pep to the monotony of yoga pants I wear too often (which it will) and would be perfect for colder nights and transitional weather. However, the bell sleeves are fun and it's so comfortable, I find myself wearing the sweatshirt even more than I thought. So, if you're anything like me, you'll want this for weekends and even date nights...yes, dates! Read on. It also comes in grey. For reference, I'm wearing a small.

A friend even mentioned pairing it with black leather-like pants and heels for a night out (??). I think she's right! We'll see if I get it together for a date night or a girls' night out. But, I like her versatile thinking.

ashleyajones.com

scroll over the image below to click on an item....

Hope your week is off to a good, productive start. I'm squeezing in my vitamins and water and we did manage to go for a little family walk early this morning. How about you all? 

xoAshley

HANGING OUT SAFARI STYLE: nursery talk

The Italian Magazine, DiPiu, featured a sweet story about Hayden when he was only a little over 2 weeks. His nursery was barely finished, but we had some of the basics up. Boy, that time was nutty... no sleep is an understatement. 

The Italian Magazine, DiPiu, featured a sweet story about Hayden when he was only a little over 2 weeks. His nursery was barely finished, but we had some of the basics up. Boy, that time was nutty... no sleep is an understatement. 

Hi there! I'm finally putting up some little shots of Hayden's nursery. Time just keeps going and life keeps happening. So much so that we may already be moving soon. No one is more excited than Huck, my "4 and three-quarters" stepson. He's been patiently waiting for HIS OWN ROOM. (Although he did tell me last night that he is going to miss sharing a room with Hayden so much that he may NOT want his own room!). Anyhow, before we actually make it to a new spot, I wanted to share how we split the (tiny) space into a nursery and room for Huck. We just took more photos of the whole room that I will be sharing soon, but here's a sneak peak! Oh and by the way, this used to be my dressing room! My, how times have changed.

When I need to clean up the boys' room, sometimes I bring his 4Moms highchair in there and let him commiserate with his "friends!" He loves being more eye level with the giraffe. And he loves being higher up in general, so we get a lot of use out of this chair. And I enjoy the sleek look. 

When I need to clean up the boys' room, sometimes I bring his 4Moms highchair in there and let him commiserate with his "friends!" He loves being more eye level with the giraffe. And he loves being higher up in general, so we get a lot of use out of this chair. And I enjoy the sleek look. 

There is kind of a theme going on here... the best we could do! The theme started in Home Goods shopping with Kaley while I was pregnant! Lemme explain something about my girlfriend Kaley Cuoco...she is decisive. So, the fact that I hadn't come up with a theme for the baby shower or a nursery was not good. In Home Goods, she found a brass elephant statue and said, "Why not do a elephant/animal theme?" I liked the idea, but couldn't visualize it. Once I started searching online stores, I realized I could create a space that had an element of sophistication that would appeal to a baby and my stepson. Kaley ran with the idea for the baby shower! And so the safari theme began. 


I'm excited to do a more detailed post about the room once the recent pictures come in. But, I can say the safari theme worked well for both kids. My mom stepped in and helped me tie it all together. She is blessed with an incredible eye and imagination. She found whimsical, fun additions, like the Noah's ark, safari themed mobile over Hayden's crib. Huck is obsessed with the oversized stuffed animals...Mr. Giraffe! And Hayden wakes up talking to giraffe often. You can surprise your kids or brighten up your nursery for under $100 with this stunner. Read the amazon reviews! People love this guy! Here are some snaps I grabbed two months back. (Now, the crib mattress has to be ALL the way down due to Hayden's height!) 

I'm loving how this handmade mobile adds a pop of color to Hayden's nursery. And his grandmom gave it to him! It's the sweetest thing to see him watch it turn. He coos and talks to the little animals wearing his ridiculously soft little animal/safari print onesie! ha! 

I'm loving how this handmade mobile adds a pop of color to Hayden's nursery. And his grandmom gave it to him! It's the sweetest thing to see him watch it turn. He coos and talks to the little animals wearing his ridiculously soft little animal/safari print onesie! ha! 

The oversized elephantsare an affordable, fun addition and so soft. And to add an element of sophisticated whimsy, my mom added the paper mache animal heads. Huck thinks they are "the coolest things ever." The decorative wall animals* worked well to tie in a nursery with a preschooler's room. If I keep going, I'll spoil the pictures that are coming next week, so I'll stop here. 

Do any of you remember coming up with a theme for your child's nursery? It's not always easy! Especially if they are sharing a room, right? I've missed hanging out here on the blog...between family and work, it's been a while. How is everyone?

xoxoAshley

*not exact item as shown in nursery pictures, but similar item found.

GOOD MORNING, WORLD. #puppies&babies

Ahhh. I love this little man so much. We're here in Nebraska with my mom and sister while I'm filming a Christmas movie. I am grateful they're willing to take a break from their lives and come take care of Hayden when I'm working. It's hard leaving him in the mornings, especially when he looks at me like this! That thumb! And in that little hat. But, knowing he's with his family helps. And I'll see him very soon. He woke up this morning chatting away...

This outfit makes me smile. I mean... puppies and babies! 

Hayden's Puppy Dog and Stripes Onesie with hat- under $20

We're settling in here and feeling more relaxed, but I was incredibly stressed out before we left LA. What all do you bring when you're traveling (alone with a baby) and going to be in freezing weather? Babies are so tiny, but require so much gear. And the way our business works, sometimes you get an offer and need to pack and leave quickly. My girlfriend, Lacey Chabert, recently filmed a movie in Vancouver with little notice. She took her baby with her, too, so I got some tips from her. I'll be sharing in another post soon. So, more later. Have a wonderful day everyone.

xo Ashley

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

It's almost Valentine's Day! I'm actually filming in Nebraska today--- it is freezing! (I'm literally on a frozen lake right now!) I'm not used to this cold. Neither is the baby! My mom and sister came to help me with Hayden while I'm working. But, before I left LA, I did a bit of shopping online and in store... some little hands "helped" me wrap. I'm loving the trinkets I found (let's be honest, it's fun to find things for ourselves, too). I picked up the leopard print flats for myself! They're on sale and running low on sizes today, so I found similar ones below. 

Some of my favorite gifts for GALentine's are below! 

I really like the "sunshine"  sign and can't get over the $21 price. What a precious gift. For smaller purses, or for grabbing and going, I love the charming card case in patterned hearts for year round Valentine's day spirit. Instead of your guy sending you a bouquet of roses, nudge him to give you the bouquet (case) that never dies. You'll think of him every time you grab your phone! How cool is the 3D aspect of the case?

I ordered a new journal recently to write a line a day as a mother. But, I picked up this pretty journal for a girlfriend. I love the front... she is quick, curious, playful, strong. Let's all be that girl! My friend Kaley got me so attached to my Swell bottle. Plus, water is a healthy habit! NOTE: it also makes an adorable gift with a bottle of white wine. It keeps it cold at concerts, festivals, picnics, outdoor games, etc. 

A few other fun finds. How cute are the lips embroidered on this sweater? I'm being called back to set to work. More on that soon. Hope you all are having a great start to the weekend!

xoxo 

COFFEE + GIRLTALK (and pops of red)

Sometimes you just need a coffee, a hug and a little girlfriend time. It's rare that I'm alone these days without my best buddy (Hayden, if you're wondering!). I cherish every moment with the baby... especially when I'm away from him for a second to run to an audition then grab a cup of coffee like I did recently with Ali. I'm working again, so I've been busier than usual getting ready to film. More on that soon! But, that explains why I've been absent from here. What have you all been up to? 

I needed to be a "chic, casual mom" for the audition.  So, I put on my red plaid blouse --so soft and comfortable! AND ON SALE FOR $29! The top feels and wears like a much more expensive shirt. The sizes are limited right now, but I'm told to check back as more sizes are being added. There's also THIS ONE from Rails that comes in several colors that I like a lot.  I paired the top with skinny boyfriend jeans and boots. I added some bangles and simple earrings, threw my hair up in a ponytail (which I do way too often!) and snuck out of the house. 

Ali kept her look chic and sleek. Love the fresh, modern look she has going with her striped blouse against her black compression leggings. These leggings I've mentioned in a previous post HERE  and actually ordered a pair for myself. She's wearing her go-to over-the-knee boots and nameplate MOLLY necklace, too.  Maybe it's because Valentine's Day is around the corner, but I'm loving the pops of red, especially from Ali's purse (here's a very similar one she found for under $30). 

AshleyAJones.com/redblouses
AshleyAJones.com/flannels
AshleyAJones.com

Let me know your thoughts! I can't believe January is almost over! Hope 2017 is off to a great start for you all!

Body After Baby

I have to thank Soap Opera Digest for their latest interview where Mara Levinsky got me talking about body after baby (on stands now- with a blurb on the cover!). I haven't written much about this topic because in no way do I feel like an expert. However, I think it's good to talk about the reality of life and getting in shape after having a baby. Or the reality of what it takes to get in better shape for anyone: discipline and work. The article goes in depth about the things that I didn't expect, the struggles and the joys of postparatum. Let me know what you think!

This photoshoot was two weeks after giving birth, right before I went back to shoot GENERAL HOSPITAL. I was EXHAUSTED and emotional and elated simultaneously. 

I took long walks several times a week and kept as active as my energy level allowed during the pregnancy, trying not to gain unnecessary weight. Hayden got fairly big toward the end (I wrote this post after the baby shower, and this post was three days before I gave birth). I admit, I was lucky I initially lost some of the pounds I gained, but it started to creep back. I had to eat more to keep breastfeeding and wasn't working out enough. The struggle to get back in the same shape I was in pre-pregnancy has been real for me. I haven't done it yet, as I discuss in the article. My body looks different. One of the biggest struggles has been learning to accept myself for where I am in life today. A reader (thank you Cara Sue!) left a comment in another post about resolutions for 2017. She simply said she wanted to have "more self care." I love this because it encompasses more than just vanity; it's a whole lifestyle practice mentally, emotionally and physically. My priority now is my baby and my family. This used to sound like an excuse to me when other people said it, and it is to an extent, but it's simply the truth. Do you feel like you have time to workout? I don't want to be that person with excuses! My husband reminds me it's all about prioritizing the day, making smart choices.

AshleyAJones.com

So, I am trying to look at this as an opportunity to adjust to a new lifestyle! I strap the baby on and go hiking or walking. I use my Joovy jogger to jog if I'm not too tired. I have grand plans to escape to yoga, but my membership doesn't get as much use as it used to. So, I go when I can. Some days I feel like I'm running around in circles not being as productive as I'd like. I have to let my preconceived expectations of the day go as I step over full laundry baskets and Huck's toys. I have a feeling some of you can relate?  

I try to stay well so I have energy by implementing super simple tips I learned from Dr. Oz! I have to say, my whole household has been sick, but I have not! I still take Proglucamune, the immunity supplement from Usana.  I promised myself I would drink two glasses of water with my supplements every morning. I'm proud I have made that a habit. My mom recently reminded me of a tip we both learned from Ronn Moss (from BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL) years ago... hot water with lemon first thing every morning to detoxify the body. I remember him drinking it during the day on set, too. He swears by this habit. Healthy (and free) habits are the best! 

In order to make progress for tomorrow, I have to do something different today. Doing the same thing every day and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. So, I am making a list of easy, healthy habits to incorporate change in my life as part of my new year's resolutions. I'm going to force myself to try them--- wanna do it with me? Leave a comment of things you'd like to try. Drink more water? Vitamins? Less soda? Less sugar. Take more steps (literally walk more)? I'm thinking I'd like to start one habit at a time and build from there. 

In the meantime, in honor of the Golden Globes tonight, I'm sharing my favorite tricks I've learned over the years from wardrobe, makeup and hair that have helped me during this transition period of body after baby.  Read them HERE! 

LOOK THINNER TONIGHT!

A new year brings out the best in people. Who doesn't love a fresh start? As we resolve to be our best selves, weight loss and healthier living are often part of that resolution. But what about being the best version of yourself IMMEDIATELY like some of our favorite stars?

I read through the emails via the "contact" section of this site and found that many of you inquired about camera ready tips.  On this Golden Globes Sunday, I started thinking back to events I've attended and what it took to get "red carpet" ready. 

After years on daytime soaps and primetime television, I've had time to pick up some smoke and mirror tricks on looking thinner. I've also had great mentors in wardrobe and makeup departments that have taught me well. I thank them for all their assistance! Here's my list:

1) WEAR SHAPEWEAR

If you've followed my blog at all, you've heard me discuss my love of "help" with compression undergarments in all stages of my life: pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, postpartum and today. These new discoveries in shapewear are not your grandmother's girdle (if you're too young to remember that word, sorry!). I love a smooth look (like this dress in the picture below).

AshleyAJones.com

2) SMOOTH YOUR SKIN AND ADD COLOR

Blend in blemishes (veins, stretch marks, cellulite, brown spots) with a great DIY faux tan. A shade darker can take pounds off. With paraben free options widely available now, there's not a reason in the world to not have a little fun and look like you had a vacation (when you were really just binge watching tv!).

Looking back at this HBO event I attended for TRUE BLOOD, I'm reminded how much a spray tan or a DIY bottle tan can help the overall look. 

3) WEAR YOUR HAIR OFF YOUR FACE AND UP IN A PONY OR MESSY BUN

This helps take down the roundness in my face if I feel puffy. If you are having any hair loss postpartum, this is an excellent way to camouflage it!

4) CONTOUR WITH MAKEUP

Create cheek bones that may not actually be that prominent. Take what you have naturally and enhance it.

5) ELONGATE THE LEG WITH THE SAME SHADE SHOE AS YOUR SKIN COLOR

No matter what color your skin is, if your shoes match your skin tone, it elongates the leg. And perhaps the oldest trick in the book is to add inches with a higher heel. Do both and you've sufficiently tricked the eye and taken off some pounds. If you're looking for a designer heel without the designer prices, check out the RealReal

6) WEAR ALL ONE HUE FROM TOP TO BOTTOM

Wearing monochromatic colors is one of my favorite techniques to implement! Wearing one hue from top to bottom means you go shopping in your own closet, too! Put together some of your basic items...mix high end pieces with vintage or inexpensive trends and create a great outfit. 

 

My savvy friend Ali recently blogged about an outfit and it wasn't until now that I realized it was nearly all monochromatic! Take a look at the post here . She also implemented my final idea....

7) DRAW ATTENTION TO A SPECIFIC AREA OF THE BODY

Ali wore a necklace that commanded attention, drawing the eye up to the neckline. Use this same technique by showing off your favorite part of your outfit or body. Wear a shorter dress if you love your calves or legs, or show off your shoulders with a sleeveless neckline and some statement earrings. 

If you have your own ideas or have questions, we'd like to hear your comments! xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

TWINSIES in different colors ($37 PEACOAT?!) YES, PLEASE.

I met up with Ali Fedotowsky for coffee to help plan a little Bachelor get-together for tonight. (I know, how lucky am I to get to watch with a former bachelorette?!) Lo and behold, we were wearing the same jacket, just in different colors. I take this as a pretty big compliment because Ali has a great, approachable style. I've blogged about this jacket here  before (and the jacket sold out), but now that it's back in stock, it's worth mentioning again. I seriously get stopped about this jacket on the street. It's warm and cozy, but still looks sleek with it's clean lines and buttons. I like wearing it buttoned up, or open like Ali is wearing it (and don't you love her coat color? It also comes in black and hunter green). 

We both kept our looks simple, but funny enough, both had on our namesake jewelry. My nameplate necklace says HENRICKS on it (my married name!), and Ali's says MOLLY (which I LOVE). Ali usually has a statement piece of jewelry on as well. Today, she is wearing a pretty fabulous necklace -- I might need to borrow this or just get my own here or here. And I wouldn't be a decent blogger if I didn't admit I've asked her several times about her leggings. Every single time, she's wearing these compression leggings. I have a feeling they might sell out, so you can also get them HERE. I have my own go-to leggings (that some of you now love, too!), but I might add these compression leggings to my wardrobe, also.

We both tied our looks together with comfy, easy boots. Ali is wearing over-the-knee boots that I know she enjoys wearing often. And in case we might have forgotten, my coffee mug reminds us that we are not regular moms, but totally cool moms;). Yeah, right. Maybe she is!

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I didn't get a good photo of the fun, stackable bracelets I'm wearing today, so I pulled a photo from a previous post. My sister wears her "she believed she could, so she did" bracelet all the time. I love the reminder on my wrist to simply believe! And if you have a friend expecting, a great shower gift for a mom-to-be or a new mom (or a new bride!) is this custom "all because two people fell in love" bracelet from The Silver Loft

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So, HAPPY NEW YEAR... and to those of you tuning in for The Bachelor, have fun. Check back tomorrow with some thoughts from our viewing party tonight. #momsnightout! Thanks, hubby! xoxo

HAPPY NEW YEAR! a little note of reflection and gratitude

These last few days have me reflecting on 2016. I know so many people want to rid 2016 goodbye forever and never look back. But, a great deal of good happened that fills me with hope and inspiration. It makes me want to work harder, contribute more, volunteer more. 

For instance, I loved hearing that volunteers in India planted 50 million trees in 24 hours. The first solar powered plane circumnavigated the world. Strides were made in finding a treatment for ALS... the list of reasons to smile and have hope goes on.  

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Personally, my husband and I started a family. It's been the most rewarding journey of my life to become a mother and a step-mom. I've loved getting to share these moments with my own parents, friends and family. And speaking of friends, I'm blessed to go through this journey of parenthood with several of my best ones that also welcomed little angels this year. 

It's also been wonderful to have this blog. I've thoroughly enjoyed getting the opportunity to have this outlet to share ideas on fashion, motherhood and work. Your support through this past year has meant the world to me. Thanks for following along my journey through pregnancy, my baby shower, the characters I've played this year for work (the GH fans are amazing!) and becoming a mother for the first time. I'm working on my list of resolutions for 2017 (I know, I better hurry!). I'd love to hear your thoughts on 2016 and your resolutions for the year ahead!

 

 

FOR HER- THE LAST MINUTE FUN, CHEEKY, WHIMSICAL & COZY GIFT GUIDE!

FUN, CHEEKY, COZY & WHIMSICAL.... I was up late last night shopping and decided to share some of my finds. There's still time to deliver FABULOUS presents before Christmas! And many of these items are still free shipping.  Prices start under $10 (please note not all prices are reflected accurately when you hoover over the image... some are discounted at checkout). Check out the soft beanies half price for $12! Or literally my favorite gift- the softest ever- new throw blanket  ($39) that comes in several colors. And for any of your expecting friends, the receiving maternity and nursing pjs that I posted about previously. At prices this great for some items, you could even throw in something for that one person that sometimes gets put on the back burner - YOU! (click on any of the images below for more details or to shop!)

 
 

GIVE THE GIFT OF WARMTH! Snugglicious options!

We're home this morning (now, it's already afternoon) doing some last minute cyber shopping for Christmas.  I swear every year I won't do this, but alas, here I am again. Life happens and time creeps up on us. And I have to give myself a break! Hayden and I are finding some pretty cool deals, though. I'll be posting the last minute gift guide very soon. 

Let's start off with the girl friends in your life. (Or even just the perfect low-key Christmas outfit). The sweater I'm wearing above can still arrive before Christmas (free shipping) and is $27. I'm wearing an extra small, but would have been just as happy with it larger, too. It's so soft to throw on with leggings and boots and cuddle up in (read the reviews, you don't have to trust me)! Hayden fell asleep on me all nuzzled in my chest while I was wearing this yesterday. This one is fairly long (with side slits that I like) and not meant to be form fitting. This one can also be worn off the shoulder, too. (see pic below). 

At this price, I'm fine letting the dogs cuddle up on me, too. I enjoy giving and getting cozy, affordable sweaters because girls love them! If they are oversized (like this one- that also comes in several other colors... I think I need the black one!)- that's even better. What girl doesn't love to snuggle up and watch the Bachelor in something so cozy?  The sweater I wore HERE in this post is now on sale for $23. I mean, really? There's also this black cross- back sweater for under $30 that I mentioned in the Black Friday post that I think would make a great gift.  Oh, and I just have to throw this in there in case anyone is a big fan of unicorns and wants this--- I did treat myself to this Unicorn Sleigh Tee to wear Christmas Eve;) - I also wore it to the Big Bang Theory Christmas party--- more on that soon!

Another fun option are planet wraps and throws. This one pictured below that I'm snuggling up with Hayden (and Amy and Lennox!) comes wrapped in leather straps (like a picnic blanket) but is ideal as an oversized poncho. (One disclaimer about this particular one... it is warm and it is beautiful and soft, but it sheds, at least this color does. There are other color options that may not).  

And continuing on with the gift of warmth, I am giving this insanely soft throw as a gift this year to some girlfriends. (Shhhh- it's under $40). I love the color options, but mostly LOVE how soft it is. Scarfs are always a great gift to receive, too. This scarf that I have written about several times (and wear all the time) is now on sale for under $10. May be the best gift idea ever! 

Hope this last weekend before Christmas is going so well! Keep calm and keep in touch:) ps- we have received comments and emails about gift suggestions for family members (like Hayden). Hoping to have it up this evening! Shop items mentioned in this post below!

 

 

The Perfectly Priced Peacoat

I know I may look like I'm not the happiest person here, but I'm actually pretty happy! Perhaps the holidays just have me lost in thought...I'm a people pleaser and can get overwhelmed? I'm trying to fit in a lot before the end of the year. Family and work keep us all so busy. Sometimes it's the little things we do for ourselves that perk us up. I LOVE this insanely affordable peacoat that just arrived in the mail. I know this item is selling out fast, but it does come in several fall/winter-y colors. Doesn't it look so much more expensive than $37!! I'm wearing a medium, just for reference. (And don't just take my word for it, take a glance at the 700plus reviews!). I'm into this slight military feel with it button all the way, but you can also wear it open or with the collar up for a completely different feel (see below). 

These stackable, fun bracelets are such great gifts for your girlfriends or sister.  The Sojourn Bracelet set comes with five different bracelets, so you could easily split them up, too. And this cuff by Mantraband that reads SHE BELIEVED SHE COULD, SO SHE DID is inspiring and a perfect gift starting at $25! I enjoy cuffs because they fit every wrist. I have the smallest wrists ever, but I can easily bend it to stay on! And I have to give a shoutout to The Silver Loft for the sweet cuff reading ALL BECAUSE TWO PEOPLE FELL IN LOVE. They can custom make anything!