Reel Life: little update on some airdates for shows

Thank you to those of you that have inquired about work. A few things to report....

First up, NEXT WEEK on Oct. 24th, there's NCIS. It's a fun guest spot. I loved getting to work with that crew. And sometimes, as a gueststar, you only work with a couple of the cast members. Even though it's not a huge role, I got a chance to work with quite a few of them. 

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Then, there's the Lifetime movie filmed earlier this year in Canada. It's airing on LMN December 8th- I'M COMING FOR YOU, so mark your calendars for a little thriller in the winter.  Excited for you all to see it. I just finished ADR on it yesterday and got to see a bit of the film. 

There's another announcement coming about the Christmas movie that was filmed in Nebraska, 12 DAYS OF GIVING, but we have to wait for permission to announce the network, but it will also air in December. And finally, there's one more primetime show I recently filmed that I'm proud to be a part of, but we also have to wait on that as well (airs in January). So, stay tuned! 

Many of you have asked for me to comment on Parker's abrupt exit last week on GH.  I understand the logistics of making an hour long serial drama thrive. There are many puzzle pieces to put together, so as soon as I hear more from the producers and writers, I'll let you all know. I enjoy working with everyone at GENERAL HOSPITAL. Thank you for the support. I know your voices are heard! I'll be checking the comments later today (from this post and other posts), if you feel inclined to leave one. xx

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GROW OLD GRACEFULLY, with a little help from modern tech!

Being a new mom, my priorities haven't exactly been focused on preventative care or anti-aging products. I have a feeling some of you, new mom or not, understand. It's hard for me to schedule self care, be it a manicure, a workout, a facial or getting my roots done. But, the better care I take of myself, the better I feel in the long run. 

I've had questions about preventative, non-invasive techniques for anti-aging. I was able to meet and chat with Zara Harutyunyan MSN, AGNP, one of the leading clinicians in Los Angeles for cosmetic rejuvenation at CRMCLaser. I enjoyed our chat so much that I decided to make a series of them and share them with you. So, in a way, Zara is like a guest blogger! This was a spontaneous idea to video Zara, so forgive the camera work by yours truly! Next time will be better. 

Our first sit-down, I asked her about a few pressing issues I have and I hear over and over from people:

  • Lines on my Neck...I've had them forever. My mom calls them cell phone/computer lines. I bet she's correct. Years of looking down at my screens big or small have not been neck friendly.
  • Pore size... is there anything I can do to make them smaller or prevent them from getting worse.
  • Wrinkles, duh.

I appreciate how she gives ideas for all price points! She also give ideas for people that could make it into a skincare facility like hers, or those that don't have access to a medical clinic. 

 

Below are the treatments Zara discussed in the video. 

IN OFFICE TREATMENTS

Ultherapy: Completely non-surgical way to lift and tighten the skin on your face, neck, and décolletage. Ultherapy addresses the same tissues as a surgical facelift. The rejuvenating treatment stimulates new collagen and restores skin elasticity without downtime.

BTL Exilis Ultra: noninvasive face and body tightening and contouring treatment. Breakthrough combinations of radio frequency and ultrasound energy to effectively tighten, tone, smooth and sculpt. Great results, but less expensive option to Ultherapy.

Aquagold: a customized  treatment that uses a device with microneedles to deliver botox, hylaronic acid, vitamins, antioxidants and growth factors to your face. This treatment will help with:

-minimizing pores

-smoothing and plumping your skin

-improving superficial acne scars

-brighten the skin


AT HOME PROACTIVE CARE:

HA5: provides smoothing in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and supports the skin's natural ability to replenish its own hyaluronic acid skin health. I've also been told it's a great primer under makeup and (ONLY if your doctor agrees) can be used during pregnancy. Check it out on CRMC's website HERE. I will be starting this tonight.

DERMAROLLER: I am so happy Zara mentioned this. It reminded me that I needed to be using a dermaroller again. Rolling titanium microneedles over the skin creates tiny punctures, stimulating your body to produce collagen. These tissue-building blocks give skin strength and elasticity and (what I've been told) help your skincare products work more efficiently due to deeper penetration in the skin. There are different size needles for different issues. Please consult your doctor and do your own research before using anything! I am only sharing knowledge I've learned or things that have worked for me.

 

At the end of the video, Zara reminds us that quality products and consistency are incredibly important. Good to remember that the little things we do everyday will pay off in the long run.


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I'm going to have another visit with her next week, so please send me your questions about anything discussed above or other questions you have.  I'd love to address them. And while I'm here, I have to thank you all for your patience. I do have a post coming about work and the recipes soon!! Hopefully by tomorrow. They aren't finished yet! And I promised Huck we could go to the Pumpkin Patch, so.... guess who gets my attention for the next few hours. 

Oh and ps- for any nursing moms-- the dress I'm wearing was from my nursing days. (It also reminds me of Charlie Brown from Peanuts! ha!)  The dress has hidden zippers that make for discreet nursing a little easier and is now on sale! Anyway, I still wear it and love it with booties for fall. And I'll pair it with a long sleeve black t-shirt and tights for winter. Here are other styles of the same dress (also maternity). If you're interested, here's the post from last year about it.

DISCLAIMER: Once again, please consult with your doctor before doing any procedures or using any products discussed in this post or on this site. 

 

PINNER TEST- the test you wanna take

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As long as I can remember, I've had little issues with my skin. For example, I have KP (keratosis pillars) on the back of my arms. Certain topical treatments have helped, but never permanently. I've often wondered if I am intolerant to certain foods. And if so, would those said foods be contributing to my skin issues. I thought if I drank enough water and just ate less sugar and carbs it might go away, but alas... that's not accurate. ( Not to mention hormonal breakouts, headaches, bloating...ugh! You get the picture.)

Dr. Oz had a segment on food intolerance that caught my attention. (Y'all know I'm a big fan of his, especially after working with him a couple of times.) Food sensitivities can lead to weight gain, body pain from inflammation, fatigue, eczema, bloating, congestion (!), diarrhea, skin rash and general feelings of being out of control.  And one thing I never knew was that food intolerance can even lead to serotonin deficiency. 

After several discussions of wanting to be "more efficient" and have more energy throughout the day, a friend suggested I take a blood test to see what food sensitivities might be revealed. She suggested the Pinnertest. It utilizes advanced technology to analyze blood samples and identify an individual’s food intolerances. The test detects which foods may be causing negative reactions with your body like the aforementioned list - all with just a few drops of blood dispensed by a basic finger prick. 

We just got another test kit so that Joel can also have his blood analyzed, too. Then, we're going to attempt to start the food elimination period. Will be great to start 2018 off right! I don't want to reveal too much of my report before Joel gets his back, but I'm sure you'll be hearing me discuss it. If you're interested on more info on the one we're using, go to Pinnertest.com.

Has anyone else taken a food intolerance test? What was your experience? Very curious to know! And was the elimination period frustrating? I have to go to a meeting right now, but will be back on my computer later today. I always enjoy commenting with you all and sharing ideas. I'm working on the next recipe post based on your slow cooker recipe suggestions!! (And Joel's latest contribution!) Plus, writing a few work updates. Thanks for visiting here!

ps- Joel thought this picture looked like I was taking a pregnancy test! ha. NOPE!

later added:

YAY-- Due to your comments and excitement, I just got word that you all can have $60 off plus free shipping if you wanna go on this journey as well! Use code ASHLEY (all caps) on the Pinnertest site to order your kit today.

The Unicorn Factor

"BE A UNICORN IN A FIELD OF HORSES." 

I. Love. This. Top. I don't think Unicorns were ever not "on trend," but they seem to be more prominent right now. I love the reminder that being different is better... being uniquely YOU. And believing in the impossible. After all, impossible really spells - I'M POSSIBLE. 

This top just makes me happy. It's subtle and fun at the same time. When people realize you're wearing unicorns, it's sparks a smile and fun conversation piece. I wanted to post this back when it was readily available, but alas, life became very full. (More on that in another post soon). You can only get it here now, but the silver lining is that it's $30 now on sale! Free shipping both ways, so if you're looking for early Christmas gifts, or a fabulous layering piece for fall (looks GREAT under sweaters and jackets), I'd jump on it NOW. It's selling out as we speak. Of course, the temperature is in the low 80s, upper 70s here in the valley today, so I'm fine wearing it as is! Hoping fall kicks in permanently soon, but at least it's cool early in the morning or late at night;) 

I'm completely into oversized denim jackets. I'm forever cold in restaurants or office buildings, etc. And of course, at night. I like to keep a jacket with me. I've written about that in other posts recently, ironically, also about unicorns-- for Unicon. The jacket I'm wearing is an XS, FYI. I like the top under the jacket with a chunky necklace peeking through. The necklace I'm wearing is already sold out, but I will look for other ones that would work if people are interested. The first one (that I wear all the time) that comes to mind is THIS ONE from Baublebar.

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HOPE YOU ALL HAVE A MAGICAL WEEKEND. Thank you for visiting the post and, as always, love any comments or questions.  XOXO

 

SLOW COOKER EASY RECIPES!

Hello!! A quick couple of things... I've started wanting to cook more, but a) am not great at it and b) hard to find the proper time needed. If you follow me on INSTAGRAM and watch the stories, you've seen us trying out new things in the kitchen... from Hello Fresh delivery system to the slow cooker. I've trying to learn the best new ways to be time efficient and healthy. I'm not so good at it all, but the intention is there! I recently discussed it all in a new column for Soap Digest, too. ps-This post was suppose to go up over a week ago. Somehow, it never got published. So, forgive the delay, please, and thank you for your patience. 

Photo by @Ographr

Photo by @Ographr

My girlfriend Willa Ford (@wfordinteriors) shared these simple gems with me below. I'm just starting out discussing more food items on the blog, so bear with me here. Not caught up yet on great photos and such, this is a work in progress. If you're well versed in the kitchen and with the crock pot type dishes, this may seem remedial. But, maybe you'll find a new twist on an old faithful recipe. Hope so!

SHREDDED CHICKEN TACOS - so easy, it doesn't seem right.  You will need:

  • 4 chicken breast
  • 2 large jars of Pace Picante Salsa
  • tortillas 
  • Your favorite toppings-- mine are shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, low-fat sour cream, diced avocado 

Put chicken breast on bottom of slow cooker. Pour the salsa on top. Cook on slow for 8-10 hours or high for 6 hours. If frozen, cook on slow for 12 hours.  Remove chicken when done and shred in a different bowl. 

Make tacos as usual. I can't get enough of these. It's so easy and the salsa gives you so much bang for your buck!! Tastes much more gourmet than it is.

For extra credit: Use the juice left to make chicken tortilla soup. Add potatoes, carrots to thicken soup. Cook another 3-4 hours. 

MEATLOAF 

  • 1.5 lbs of ground beef or turkey
  • French onion soup packet
  • Chicken stock
  • Bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp of minced garlic
  • Chopped onion

Mix all ingredients together. Make two smaller long dome shaped loafs. Put in crockpot. Smother the tops with ketchup. Cook on slow for 6-8 hours. Voila! 

Here are two options (high and low) for slow cookers:

 

I will be adding more recipes! I'd LOVE to do a post sharing YOUR favorite slow cooker recipes and photos of the finished meal in the next few weeks. Please feel free to contact us sharing your favorites (or post in comments below). Happy Weekend!

 

Flower Power

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It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here, I know. Plenty to write about, too. After shooting four episodes of General Hospital (in ONE day!) and wrapping up NCIS last week, I'm visiting Texas with Hayden seeing grandparents and great grandparents. I’ll have to play catch up for a bit on the blog, but in the meantime, I’m quickly jotting down thoughts about last weekend. I got to hang out with some of my favorite supportive women and speak on a panel at Unicon. It was great to get a few life pro tips about motherhood and women in the work force. 

My friend Christine Lakin (above) and I both spoke at the event. (Side note- we both have a child around the same age and we attend kiddie music class together. Love this girl. Check out her podcast, WorstPodcastEver HERE.)

My panel consisted of fun women at different stages of their lives and careers. We discussed the intense need for caffeine and morning rituals. Self care came up a lot. If we don’t take the time to take care of ourselves, how will we be of any use to our children, spouses, co-workers? Self care means different things to different women. Some of us talked about how that time encompasses physical activity everyday...others said it's about a bath or netflix. I'm still trying to find the time to fit these little moments in, so this next bit of advice caught my attention: if someone else can do it— let them! Learn to delegate. Learn to ask for help, or at least accept help! This is not always easy. I've heard it over and over in life, but it struck me differently hearing it on the panel. I'll circle back around on this topic in another post soon...Thanks Sophie Jaffe for mentioning that;) Natalie Nunn and I sat on the panel together, too. She is a riot discussing sexual healing on her mom essential list.

The day started at the RedCarpetSafety event in Culver City. I brought Joel and little Hayden with me (Huck was with his mom). That was a great event to take notes on safety tips of all kinds for children. 

4) Petal Pink washable Rothy's flats 5) Modern Black Heels   6) Delicate Large Hoops $12 

7) Neutral Go-to Clutch in Pale Pink

 

And for those of you that might ask-- the #ootd. I wanted to wear something that would work all day and could transition from one event to the next, with a touch up of makeup and a switch of shoes. I went from my neutral (pale pink) rothy’s flats to modern, simple black strappy heels. The grey strapless dress has a timeless quality to it that I love. I’m also a sucker for wrap dresses. This one is faux wrap (sometimes even better). I have been slightly obsessed with this topshop oversized denim jacket, too. It works with so much of my wardrobe. Literally. Night and day. I drape it over my shoulders or toss it over a t-shirt. The oversized jacket snuck back in the zeitgeist; not sure when this happened! At first it reminded me too much of the 90s, but, alas, I’m embracing and draping- sometimes collar up and all;)

A special thanks to Good Carma Studio for including me! I'd love to hear more from you all- what are your bits of wisdom to pass on to other women? What are your favorite self care tips. Right now, I'm forcing myself to drink some water, take my vitamins and supplements and enjoy my (second- oops!) cup of coffee.

 

Photo Booth Drama (the sleeves, not Huck!)

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I could (and will) start writing more about a very special relationship in my life.... my stepson, Huck. He's growing up right under my nose. The moments we share alone lately (even as simple as the talks in the car), I cherish. Just like the opportunity to jump in a photo booth with him recently. How funny is Huck? I beg him to smile in photos. I love the ones I catch of him naturally enjoying himself.... but throw a light on him and ask him to smile, he's not so game. He gave it his best shot in this last one here, though. I see the beginning of a grin.

I was looking at this little print today and thought I'd add it to the blog. If you are in a blended family, I'd love to hear about your experiences and start a more consistent dialogue. Did you grow up with half siblings or have step children of your own?

xo

ps- since wardrobe/attire/fashion items are shared here, I'd be remiss not say this top came in the mail from the Nordstrom sale and I'm so much more pleased that I thought I'd be. For $26, it's hard to go wrong.  This top has the added fun of tie sleeves. I recommend tying them before you put the blouse on, fyi. Can get a bit tricky otherwise. I love that it's kinda blouse, helping balance out the bottom parts;)

For more of my favorite pieces from the sale, click HERE. Limited time left, but still plenty of goodies. 

p.ps- thanks for all the comments and support about work stuff... a little post up here

 

 

My favorite pieces from the Nordstrom Sale

By now, I'm sure you've gathered, I'm a fan of Nordstrom. I love that I can shop risk free from home with free shipping here (and back if I need to return). And I really love their sales.

I haven't been out and about in all my bargain buys yet, but below is a sneak peak of some of the pieces I've ordered, received and am about to pop on....like this trench coat from Ralph Lauren (pictured above). Every year, I say I want a great trench coat, but never get one. This year, I'm buying it now when it's only $149, instead of waiting till I really want it in October and pay full price. A trench is the easiest way to achieve a tailored look in a matter of minutes. Throw it over a comfy, easy top (like this striped one on sale for $17), put my hair in a bun, add a great pair of sunglasses and call it a day (or in my case, call it running errands). 

Speaking of sunglasses, a few of you commented on instagram about the glasses I'm wearing in this post here. Those were a gift from Mom. She has a knack for finding fabulous pieces at fabulous prices. If you're ready to invest in a classic pair of statement sunnies, I'm loving these rounded Gucci ones. I'm also loving that they are under $295 right now. Post sale, they go back to the regular Gucci price of $440. 

This white dress pictured above is easy and breezy... comes in navy, too. I love the playful bow in the back. And by now, you probably know I'm a sucker for a great sleeve, like these dramatic bell ones. And $49??

Scroll on down and click on other picks starting under $12 (like the leopard scarf I wore last year and still love). A lot of the items are things I won't need for a few months, but at these prices, worth thinking ahead. Other little things would make great gifts, like the $25 Clinique chubby lipset. I will be getting one for myself  and one for a friend. Happy Friday. Happy Shopping. Let me know what you get! I enjoy  seeing pictures or hearing about it. 

xo

 

TAKING THE PLUNGE- swim wear for swim lessons!

My girlfriends and I are about to start swim lessons for the kiddos. I was thrilled for Hayden to be a part of it all until one of my girlfriends asked what suit I was wearing. Suit, I thought? Why would I need to wear a suit to watch Hayden swim? And then it dawned on me... a bathing suit!! Duh. I would be getting in the pool, too, sometimes! Unless you're Heidi Klum or Giselle (or my tv mom Katherine Kelly Lang!!), I don't know a ton of new moms that are dying to wear a bathing suit in front of people. 

I'm scheduled to start shooting again soon (yay!- will be excited to share), so it's not a bad idea for me to get in better shape, but for the time being- it is what it is.

Needless to say, you whip out the coverups and towels and sunscreen and make it work. Anyone else in this boat, new mom or not? Then, I started to go through my swimsuits and realized, not a ton of them are mom appropriate (including the one in this picture- oops!). I want to find more options, so I pulled together some one pieces (from lower cut to more modest options) and cover-ups at decent prices for my friends and I to choose from, but I have a feeling we're not the only ones going through this delimma. I'm sharing here, too. 

If you have a great option, please share! I'd love to add it to the list;)

ps- when I'm jean shopping or bathing suit shopping, free shipping and free returns never sounded so good!

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little pop-in boutique

My latest go-to is $20!

I met beautiful Hannah through Joel (our husbands have been friends since early grade school). She's all kinds of cool (a little English, a little rock-n-roll). Her son is close to Huck's age and her daughter is close to Hayden's age. We've been talking about putting our mom brains together and doing some good work... 

Hannah and her family joined us at Hayden's birthday. I loved her dress and wanted to share. But also, since I wore this outfit for the party, I have worn the top and pants over and over. I already wrote a bit about it, but now these PANTS are fun, and flattering and $20!!! I had to let you guys know. I wore these pants yesterday to an audition with a black top and heels. Two people asked me where I got them. This is simply a no-brainer. Get these slightly cropped pants. Plus, free shipping both ways. (For reference, I'm wearing a size 4).

The little feminine top I wore (you can make it sleeveless or wear it the way I'm wearing it here) is only $39. Looks sweet with white pants, too. 

Hannah's dress is so summer-in-England, I'm kinda obsessed. And it's on sale, too;) - check out her story/blog HERE.

Happy Thursday Happy Summer Happy Shopping.

Party Sleeves!

Yesterday at Miss Molly Manno's birthday party, a lot of tiny people got together and played. Bubbles, unicorns, desserts- Molly was adorable. By the look on Hayden's face, you can see he was enamored by just a few things, but mainly Molly. What a little doll! It feels like we blinked and all our little babies are walking and turning one.

I haven't done a post about fashion in a while, I know. Since I'm enjoying this top I wore to the party so much, it prompted me to want to share with you all. The t-shirt blouse is something fun, easy and pretty to wear all summer. (Plus, it's affordable and comes in black, too. Probably better if you have kids! I took my chances with the white). 

I'm clearly loving the ruffle trend that's out there right now. If you visit this site much, I've had more that one piece with a ruffle, like the top I wore to Hayden's birthday. Not typically me, but if I put it with other pieces that are plain and simple (boyfriend jeans, converse and studs, for example), it's not too girly or overwhelming. And keeps it fresh!

Girlfriends! Maisie and Bri.... how fabulous does Bri look in her cool shaped  glasses and effortless plaid dress? I love her style.

Girlfriends! Maisie and Bri.... how fabulous does Bri look in her cool shaped  glasses and effortless plaid dress? I love her style.

1. White Ruffle TOP  2. Black TOP 3. Jean option ONE

4. cross body PURSE  5. Jean option TWO 6. affordable STUDS 7. criss-cross everyday RING

Hope everyone is enjoying the day before the 4th. Be safe out there....what are YOUR plans? xoxo

A BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION

I didn't know where to begin with this post because it's hard to comprehend it's been a year already since Hayden was born. But, here we are... celebrating his first birthday with a smash cake and all! Thank you to People and SoapDigest for writing about Hayden's day, but I also wanted to write a bit about it on my own site, too. 

My awesome friends at Good Carma Studio hosted the day with us. Ladies, you outdid yourselves. Thank you!!  I know the animal theme was part of my baby shower (and then his first nursery!),  but we came full circle with a "WILD ONE" jungle theme. It was a jam packed party full of love and fun, bubbles and special touches. We made sure no one left Adam's Garden hungry (thanks to StoneFireGrill---amazing!) and PolkatotsCupcakes!

My favorite part was sharing the day with friends and family. It's always a joy to see others have fun, especially Hayden and Huck having a blast with so many "little" friends at this indoor playground.

I had to combat the post party blues a bit...has anyone else experienced that? So much build up, then it's over! And it goes by so fast... the guest come, the kids play, everyone eats and visits and then you cut the cake! Huck said it best on the way home, "That was the best party. I wish it could last forever." I feel that way so often about moments in time. It's bittersweet to witness our babies starting to become independent. But, there's never a dull moment with the Hayden and Huck, more work coming up and getting situated in a new house. Always more to look forward to right around the corner. 

Photo: Linger Photography -  Location: Adam's Garden LA (such a bright and cheery indoor space and staff. Clean and lovely- they use only organic cleaning products!) everyone seemed to love the playground:) The staff play with all the kids, too!

Hayden is proud of his  milestone chalkboard. It looks like he's telling his brother all about it. Thank you, Kelly Patrice

Hayden is proud of his  milestone chalkboard. It looks like he's telling his brother all about it. Thank you, Kelly Patrice

Sharing some of our favorite photos: 

My mom gave Hayden is little birthday outfit he wore, then we changed into Fayfaire's "I'm This Many" birthday t-shirt, which also comes in an adorable pink ruffled version, before we had the smash cake session. I love Fayfaire's mission to pay it forward by donating a onesie to the neonatal unit of Miracle Babies for every purchase sold. 

And since we're talking outfits, many of you have messaged asking about my pants and top, so here are the quick details!

Pants (love love) are on sale at Topshop for under $40 with free shipping and returns. And my TOP that I LOVE is under $40, too. It comes in three designs. And nude sandals...


I have to thank all the visitors that come by here and comment and enjoy sharing ideas and thoughts and support. A few of you sent the sweetest gifts and cards for Hayden's birthday. I look forward to sharing pictures in some upcoming posts. And wanted to share one of reader's birthday poem:

One year ago, on this very night Hayden Joel Henricks was born. What a beautiful sight. 7lbs 9oz 21 inches long with love and a heartbeat oh so strong. The world watching as you laugh, learn and grow bringing more joy than you'll ever know. Seeing things through your eyes has been the greatest gift and a big surprise. I can't believe you're turning 1, such an amazing little guy you've bcome. On this very special Birthday may all your dreams come true as everyone comes together to celebrate you. - Leslie McFadden

THANK YOU ALL.  XOXO ASHLEY

When Playtime Meets Worktime

Last week, I got to go banter with my one of my besties for a Priceline commercial.  I've had the opportunity to work with friends before (even with Kaley in THE WEDDING RINGER). But, this was the first time I got to play myself and our real friendship. It was fun, to say the least, which makes it seem a lot less like work and more like a play day! I can't wait for you guys to see the spot soon!! It's a pretty fun take on real life. 

Wardrobe picked out some of the cutest pieces around... and I learned about some new stores, like & Other Stories.  We tried on many variations, but ended up with this Theory dress on sale at Nordstrom Rack! Just add a strapless bra (I'm wearing a high cut bra from Natori that I they gave me. And although I had on nude heels (the same ones I wear all the time--- they are so on sale right now, I have to share... $27... I think I'll order a second pair to have on hand), I ended up wearing my comfy Rothys

And while we're on shoes... how fabulous are Kaley's ruffled sneakers. Just a hint of ruffle. I nearly died over them (anyone that's following me lately knows I'm into a little ruffle added somewhere somehow- check THIS POST, or THIS ONE). This sneaker is so subtle, I love it. 

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Many of you have asked about makeup, so I'll post about that soon. But, stay tuned for info on when the commercial will air. And, I have some exciting work stuff I'm shooting this summer. I so wish I could say right now, but it would ruin the surprise!!

What Inspires YOU...?

This is a fun question I was asked today at the Inspiration Awards, Step Up Women Network's biggest event of the year. It's so easy to respond with a standard answer. But it actually made me think. What DOES inspire me lately? The young girls today from Step Up got up on stage at the Beverly Hilton (where the Golden Globes are held) to speak about what inspires them to grow, graduate from high school, apply and go to college. Many of the girls will be the first generation of their family to graduate high school. The recurring theme is a mentor. Someone to believe in them. So, it was more about WHO inspires them. 

The organization honored the show BLACH-ISH today. Tracee Ellis Ross spoke. She said something that inspired me. She was talking about how women don't need to try and compete with the next person or continually prove our self worth with titles or even relationships. I'll never remember it as eloquently as she said it, but it sounded something like this: We are enough. Our worth is not defined by by being in a relationship with something else. We are powerful, intelligent, entertaining people BECAUSE WE ARE.

That little speech inspired me. Because we are. The room fell silent for second. 

What inspires you every day? It's a good question I'd like to think about more often. Sometimes it could be as simple as something pretty to wear. Today, one step up girl vividly described what her mentor was wearing the first time she met the women in her office. That inspired her. She wanted to become a lawyer that would wear a beautiful blazer. Other times, inspiration comes from something priceless and intangible, like seeing the world through my son's eyes. What inspires you to be your best self today? Hopefully, we can all figure that out and then use that energy to serve others. 

Lately, my inspiration comes from my family. From prayer. And today, the women I was surrounded by at Step Up inspire me. 

Learn more about Step Up  and to donate, click here!  

Scroll down for some shots. And sharing our dress details below. Hope something inspires you;)

This exact white dress is sold out for the time being, but the style seems to be everywhere right now. So, click on options below. My favorite one (two friends have it in the yellow version) is this one. This style of dress fits many different body types well. Ali's dress is just as beautiful in person as it is in this photo. And so flattering. I LOVED it. I want it:)

4. DANGLE EARRINGS   5. NEUTRAL CLUTCH  6. NUDE HEELS (I wear all the time!)

Ali Fedotowsky, Tatyana Ali, Beverley Mitchell and Willa Ford.

Thanks for stopping by. And if you feel 'inspired,' comment below! And truly, if you have a Step Up Chapter in your city, check it out!! 

xo Ashley

Can I come, Mommy?

Honestly, how can I resist that face? Never. After moving recently, we are in need of a few key items. So, we headed out early this morning to take advantage of the sales this long holiday weekend. Honestly, it's so much easier to buy online! Especially with a baby... so, we're back home now. ha! 

For our household/furniture items, I'm looking at HERE! Up to 70% off! And I am loving Potterybarn's sale, too!

My husband stocks up on JCrew every year, so here we go!   

I have two fun events next week and I'm looking at Nordstrom's half yearly sale  for a couple of dresses. Also, I'm loving this  Anthropologie (also having a sale) dress HERE.... cute fridge for summer. I haven't had time to organize my thoughts much, but here are a few other fun pieces:

And the comfy printed flats in this picture are free shipping this weekend! Dr. Scholl's updated for all sorts of new comfort. Pretty perfect for moms!

Are y'all checking out any of the sales? Let me know what you find. Enjoy the day. 

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I'll love you forever...

AshleyAJones.com/hayden

If you don't have kids yet, there's a good chance you don't know the book Love You Forever. I was introduced to it 8 years ago reading bedtime stories to my godson, my best friend's first child. I remember the whole scene. We were in his room, lights dimmed for bedtime, cuddling with his Bunny (his one favorite animal that is now an official family member). As I got further into the book, I tried to hide the tears running down my face from Finnie. I thought in no way is this a kid's book. This is so sad! It's about the cycle of life and the fleeting moments we must cherish. But, babies and kids love this book regardless. 

Cut to me now reading this book to my own son right before he turns one. He loves books. He likes the repetition of the verses. It's almost like a song...

I'll love you forever. I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be.

I'm going to cuddle him for as long as he'll let me. And now I get why people still use months... 12 months, 14 months, 24 months, etc. It's kind of an mind game...it still sounds like a baby. I'm sure I'll move on to saying "one year" very soon, but I'm not in a rush. 

My husband on the other hand, can't wait for him to walk and talk and go fishing. I suppose it's a decent balance;)

Some of our FAVORITE books/toys:

I believe most kids love music, movement, sounds, etc. Hayden is obsessed. He was playing (banging) on the piano with his dad months ago. He loves books with music like the adorable Musical Friends - the instrumental music is amazing. It's a very cool toy/book.  If you have kids/need gift ideas? Some others we are enjoying... scroll on!

Tomorrow is Huck's 5th birthday party.... wish us luck. It's a shark theme! Ha. Then on to planning Hayden's First. Happy Weekend! What are your plans? 

xo Ashley

Mother's Day! Gift guide and more...

Last year, Hayden was almost here.... but, I still got to celebrate being a stepmom and doggie momma and, of course, my own mom. This year feels different, though.

Mother's Day comes shortly before Hayden's first birthday (and the day before Huck's 5th birthday! Then, my mom's birthday and my brother's all within days!) Plenty to celebrate. 

We took these shots before leaving to shoot the film in Canada. He has already changed so much. Waving to everyone, jibberjabbering like crazy (he's really trying to figure out that tongue and talk!). Due to jet lag and being in a different environment, night shoots, etc. our sleep schedules are off. Hayden's been amazing and we've made it work, but I for one am looking forward to rest and sleep somehow, someway. However, traveling or not, most mothers I talk to are dreaming of sleep! 

So, for a quick Mother's day gift guide, I thought I'd go with the theme of... if you love me, let me sleep! And I'm gonna start with the pajamas you've seen me wear since I was in the hospital with Hayden (or in this post here). I love how pretty and versatile they are... I wore them as maternity, post maternity nursing and I'm even wearing them in the film we're shooting now! They absolutely don't need to be just for maternity. (The set I'm wearing comes with a little matching gown for the baby, too, so it makes for a beautiful gift set). I recently gave this set as a gift, too. It's on sale right now, but sizes are going fast!

For mothers with babies, the dock-a-tot pictured above gave me the gift of time (and sleep) because Hayden slept more... and it was a great place to "dock" him during the day. If you are co-sleeping at all, even co-napping at times, check it out for that, too. Hayden just outgrew the deluxe size, so I'm looking at the Grand next stage 2. Don't just trust me on this, read the reviews! 

ps- for Hayden's cute organic elephant (those are elephant heads) onesie, check out Finn & Emma HERE or HERE! We were them all the time... as you know if you watch instastories on our instagram page.

I'm still writing the rest of this post, so check back... Joel arrived from LA and we're taking a quick lunch! See you back here soon. In the meantime, these are a few items on the list. xo 

Lace and Ruffles for the Win!

I love white! Possibly obsessively. And lately, I'm liking even lace and ruffles in white. See this post HERE   (white lace) and this post HERE (white ruffles- currently on sale!). So, naturally this skirt caught my eye. It's a fun addition for summer, yet a classic piece to mix and match. Wear it with strappy heels and a slightly baggy sweater in a neutral tone. Also, throw it on with converse and a hoodie (scroll down for the look). When I first saw it, I didn't think it would work on me... I don't like extra fabric around my lower half. I'm self conscious about that area. However, the cut of the skirt works! 

When I last looked, this particular necklace was on backorder, but I found some other options like this simple bar necklace, this cool arrow oneor this pendant. Or you can always shop your own closet and find a chunky necklace. (Shopping your own closet is the best sometimes. We forget what we have!) With the skirt taking center stage, I like keeping the rest of the look toned down. The hoops ($12)-- I swear I wear these way too often---are subtle, even though they are on the bigger side. The ring ($16) -on SALE - adds a tiny pop of color. Another idea? Add a faux leather jacket to edge the look up... 

THE BASICS 

1. Lace and Ruffled SKIRT   2. Neutral Sweater  3. Nude Heels  4. Sandal option  (not pictured here, but my sister has these and I love them)

5. Nude Cross Body Purse    6. HOOPS  $12  7. Necklace (arrow) $19  8. Simple Bar necklace $12

9. Ring $16    10. Sunnies Matte Pink $24

Happy Weekend!! 

Coming Full circle! Work, travels and turning one!

It's been a while since I've posted here... I miss it and want to start writing more. Recently, a few life events kept us busy. As many of you know, we moved! Anyone that's ever moved gets this! It is NOT easy. NOT super fun. (You inevitably can't find important items and feel so up in the air it's ridiculous). Then, shortly after we moved residences, we found ourselves traveling again to film a Lifetime movie. Not down the street to Santa Barbara or DTLA, but across the country, up some great lakes and through the border we go.... to Toronto, then Ottawa, where I am currently typing this post. 

AshleyAJones.com/family

I've filmed quite a few tv movies up in Canada...even near the place where we are staying now. I distinctly remember walking to get dinner by myself on my day off one night. I watched families strolling by all bundled. It's pretty special now that I am one of these people...strolling Hayden! I can't wait to say more about what I'm up here filming, but it'll (hopefully) be one fun thriller to watch. I'm playing a doctor. (I guess I missed Bridget!) I'm so grateful Joel was able to fly out for the weekend to get us set up here and will come back for the last part of filming. He returned home for his son Huck and his work. We miss them, but will see them very soon. Huck turns five mid-May and Hayden turns one shortly after! Party time! It honestly seems just like yesterday that I was pregnant and writing this post! I feel silly saying this because it's the most overused phrase, but...where does the time go?

Enjoy the weekend! 

ps- for outfit details, see HERE;) 

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