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.

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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? 

SMACK! A few favorite pieces from the Winter Sale

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I would've NEVER thought a floppy hat would be a staple in my closet. Joel gave me this for Valentine's day (he did a "French themed" gift with candles and bath salts, etc.).  At first, I was thrown. A hat? I wasn't sure I'd really wear it. But, I've worn it more than I could've predicted. Bad hair days (or I simply didn't have time to wash and dry) are covered up- quite literally. Since it's still cold in LA right now, I put the hat with a black, cozy turtleneck, but I fully plan on wearing it in spring with a maxi dress or jeans. I found a the exact one and a few other options for y'all if you're in the mood for an affordable, easy hat. Even if you're like me and never thought you'd wear one! The exact one is sold out at Nordstrom, but NWT on eBay... click the first one below. AND only $20.

If you read my instagram post, you know I was up with this little angel boy at 3:30am and then couldn't go back to sleep. So, I did a little online browsing and found some other pieces for our wardrobes. 

This Lush Tunic is a staple. And now on sale for under $28. It comes in several colors (so I had to buy the black). Check out the reviews-- a ridiculous number of great reviews! 

I just ordered this easy-circle cardigan. It's 40% off and under $45. I can see it with jeans and a white tee and converse, or over a dress, like pictured here.

I don't have this color in this everyday cardigan, but I love the way it's paired with the shirt underneath. Just seems easy and comfy! It also comes in black, which I ordered. OH and it's ONLY $27!! Seriously?!


I LOVE this Rails top. Rails is hardly ever on sale, so grab them while you can. I have their Hunter button down in several colors. Kaley wore this shirt as Penny (in tan colors) on the Big Bang Theory at the taping last week, which prompted me to search. Rails is just so comfy and soft.

The long side split t-shirt is simply at staple. It comes in several colors, some solids. And at $15!!

The Topshop black dress is so cute- I read the reviews and ordered it. Under $50! Love the back detail.

ok... enough for now. Just wanted to share my middle-of-the-night online Nordstrom finds. HA! But quick question: what pieces are you looking to add or update in your wardrobe? Curious to know!!

xoxox

 

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

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Thanks to all of you that sent DMs and emails about the Digest article. I love that many of you related to something in the article. I really need all the help I can get, so I love learning from other people! I like the SMART intentions because they simplify my thoughts.  I get easily overwhelmed and overthink things. This model helps keep my mind on track. And I discussed a few things I learned from celebrity trainer Erin Oprea. I didn't say this in the article, but I'd like to lose 5 pounds. It's that little last bit of baby weight. I did mention is putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) and outlining some ideas here. Forgive me for going on and on about this stuff!!  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FAMILY.

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

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

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

4. Bicycoo

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

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

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

 

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

 Amy Davidson, Lennox Lockwood, Huck and Hayden

Amy Davidson, Lennox Lockwood, Huck and Hayden

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

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

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

xo Ashley

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

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This is our first elevator selfie! HA. 

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in this post....

2018.

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

So, here goes.

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PERSONALLY:

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

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

SPIRITUALLY:

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

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

 


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


reflecting on 2017, MY THANK YOU TO YOU.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DINNER WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS

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

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

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

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

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 Chaka Fairbanks, VP Operations, GrubMarket

Chaka Fairbanks, VP Operations, GrubMarket

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

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

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

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

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

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

xoxo Ashley

 

 

SHARING MEALS: RECIPES FROM Y'ALL

 photo: Mattheus Spinelli for our Thanksgiving dinner with Grub Market

photo: Mattheus Spinelli for our Thanksgiving dinner with Grub Market

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


FROM MARY B.

PORK CHOP WITH MUSHROOM SOUP

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

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

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

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


From AMY B.

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

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

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


Name: Susan K.

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

Slow Cooker BUFFALO CHICKEN SANDWICH

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

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

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


 

 

 

SOAP OPERA DIGEST column- I need your help!

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

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

THE FIRST COLUMN: more daily efficiency

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

THE SECOND COLUMN: bag lady

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

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THE THIRD COLUMN: gift guide for the hurried parent

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

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