PLAN FOR THE FUTURE

I’m thrilled about our new sponsor: CFP Board. They’re shedding light on something I want all of us to think about and discuss – our finances. It’s not always comfortable, but it is extremely necessary.

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As you may already know from my other posts, Joel and I are thinking about expanding our family (eeep!); this has led to discussions about our finances.

Lately, I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night with my mind racing about these discussions. I know stress is not the best during this “process,” but it’s also hard to avoid.  Joel and I both have family in the financial world that have impressed upon us the importance of planning for the future. We were told it was time to get help and make a plan created by a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional.

First off, I’m learning that many people without the necessary qualifications call themselves financial planners, so just beware. It’s essential to get someone who has a CFP® certification upholding the ethical standards required of a CFP® professional. Just like you want a doctor that has the proper license, you want someone guiding your finances that has the proper qualifications.


Like my desire to KonMari style organize my house is strong, my desire to get organized financially is even stronger. Meeting with a CFP® professional near us (letsmakeaplan.org) can help Joel and I start working on all of those questions that keep popping up in the middle of the night. I mainly want to plan for education (from preschool to college) and know how much we should be putting away for retirement and life insurance. It must be our age, but retirement seems to come up in conversation a lot lately. It’s easy to get stuck in the day-to-day and be happy just making ends meet every year, but I know there is a way to WIN the rat race one day–and enjoy retirement–IF we stay on a targeted plan.  

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Like most Americans, our financial needs range and change. The above thoughts are my urgent issues today, but I also have so many others. For instance, lots of little questions about our personal taxes for those of us with blended families. A CFP® professional will work with us today and grow with us as our needs change, especially if (and when!) another little one joins the family. How can we make our money work for us, not the other way around!??  My father gave me the best reason to work with a CFP® professional: worry less. He said money is a terrible master, but a wonderful servant.

Do you feel like your money is working for you? I hope so! But could it be working harder? I’m excited to let the professionals do what they do best, so I can be the best for those I love and be the best at what I love.

It’s so easy to just meet with a CFP® professional. Go to letsmakeaplan.org and find one in your area. The best part of CFP® professionals is that they work with you to build a plan to take care of a myriad of needs–both big and small. If you are starting your own family, there is NO better time than now to start planning ahead and securing your future. If you’re even younger, let me tell you: when I bought my first house in my 20s, I thought that was enough to secure my financial future, but in hindsight, I could have done so much more had I retained a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. See what they have to say!

If you’re interested, I hope to share our journey with you all–and show you how much financial planning can serve you in your lives. It can be a lifelong relationship, my CFP® pro and me!

As always, any comments below are welcomed! Have you ever worked with a financial planner?

xox

AJH

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SEEING HEARTS! Happy Valentine's Day to YOU

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I’m getting all the feels! Valentine’s Day!! If you’re thinking about showering someone big or tiny with some love, read on! I’m excited to share these fun little things with y’all. With the beauty of AmazonPrime and 2 days shipping from most of these outlets, it can be here in a jiffy.

My mom sent Huck and Hayden the cutest gifts! These musical, singing soft animals: a lion that sings “Come and Get Your Love” and lights up, and a puppy that sings “SugarPie, Honeybunch.” They are up on my instastory right now. Oh my goodness, the cutness when Hayden sings along. I know they are not the cheapest gifts, but do make a big impact.

Hayden loves these things so much and wants to play and listen and learn the words to the songs from them. So does Huck. It’s easier for Huck, at 6, to pick up everything they are saying and remember. Hayden takes a bit more time, but it’s so cute watching the process. The lion lights up around his face, it’s very cute.

I have to share the Mother Goose my mom also got Hayden. We left it in Texas, but he loves it so much, I may order it for him here, too. She reads (moving her mouth, animated) 7 nursery rhyme stories. It’s the sweetest thing (athought the nursery rhymes we all learned as a child are a bit morbid! Jack and Jill broke their crowns!) to hear Hayden learn them and want to play with this. Take a look at the reviews…. this is such a gem for the price!

Then, I added a few I wouldn’t mind being on the list if I were to treat myself to a little self care….and thinking about the shoes below for Joel. He needs new converse. These are the “designer” version, but pretty cute!!

In my stories recently, I commented about my sister’s lipgloss. You all asked what it was, so I added it below with a few other things. It’s a version of Nars that is not easy to find. She gave me hers!! And then I also found it to link it for y’all.

The gold bar necklace I have on in these photos says HENRICKS. Totally affordable personalized gold necklace. I love it. I got it when Joel and I were engaged and have been wearing it a lot again recently. Such a sweet and budget friendly gift for any occasion: baby, engaged, newly married, initials, besties, etc.

AND NOW FOR YOU

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For my parents and in-laws, I’m sending out books today I made on mixbook. I took quite a bit of time making them for each set of parents. They turned out so beautifully, I was thrilled. I think it stands out more because it’s not around a big birthday or Christmas or holiday. It’s VALENTINE’S DAY. I’m hoping when they receive this book, they realize how often and much we think about them and love them. The one photographed below is ours. I made one for Huck when he was 3, and now I finally have one for Hayden. I literally cried when I opened it. Besides the fact that the book is stunning (we got the flat-lay pages, 12x12), the memories are all in one place where I can see them (and NOT ON MY COMPUTER). I am a longtime fan of Mixbook and they know it. So, just to be lovely, they are giving you all a little Valentine’s day gift of your own:

If you caught my stories, you know you can get $25 FREE/ no minimum. CLICK that link or USE CODE ASHLEY25 - Get cute cards (my sister got the prettiest palm tree personalized note cards), thank you cards, or Valentine’s day! And I wanna see what you choose, so show me when you get them!

If you wanna make a book, GET 50% OFF!!! That link will automatically give you 50% off until March 15th. Or use code: ASHBOOK50.

Thank you mixbook for being so cool to our readers!… KEEP SCROLLING DOWN.

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While I’m here, don’t forget Coso Beauty is also gifting readers a FREE CBD SHEET MASK. (I posted in stories recently about this, but you can also check my post about it here). The catch? There’s really not one except for shipping. It’s under $6, but you need to take care of that. ALSO— I’d love your feedback. I’ve been toying with different things I want to create and I’m in talks about a mask. For many reasons! SO I WOULD LOVE YOUR HONEST FEEDBACK. It will help me make the best product. I’m already getting DMs about it, but will create a post soon that everyone can chime in on their ideas. I have my own and will voice my opinion, too.

Also, lemme know if you guys like these kind of promotions. I will keep them up…;)

XOXO

AJH

MOM/DAD ALERT: MOST affordable Back-to-School run ever! Plus, a $50 OshKosh gift card for one lucky reader.

Back to school Alert Post is brought to you by OshKosh, but of course, all opinions are my own!

Back to school Alert Post is brought to you by OshKosh, but of course, all opinions are my own!

Last week, Huck asked me if I would get him some new "stuff." He said, "You know, for my closet." So, I did. And boy, did I score. 

I went to OshKosh for new items for Hayden and came home with a huge bag of clothes for Huck for under $50. (And right now, there's free shipping online!) I knew the clothes would be great, but I didn't realize how genius the prices would be. And if I had a girl to buy for...it'd be over! I'm a sucker for unicorns and rainbows and sequins. I may be too "big" to wear stuff like that myself (although it sneaks its way in), but it's pure cuteness on little girls. Seeing tweens walk around shopping created a sense of nostalgia for the innocent years of my youth. Getting so excited over a unicorn. Remember when life was that simple? A unicorn t-shirt made you so very happy. (Okay, fine, truth be told, a perfect unicorn t-shirt would still make me pretty happy for the moment!) I digress, I tried to get Huck some pieces that he would think are really cool for his first week in FIRST GRADE. He isn't too picky about his clothes yet, but he knows what he doesn't like. I present things asking, "Do you like it, or do you love it?" No other options. Ha. And if he loves something, he gets very excited. It's like Christmas morning kind of excitement that makes the giver of the gifts feel like Santa. Rewarding.

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Huck is seriously developing a sense of his own style. He likes to button ALL the buttons of his shirt (up to his neck cause it's way cooler that way, he tells me). And he loves hoodies. I can't believe I met this child when he was was 2 and could barely talk, still in diapers.

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Hayden, on the other hand, just likes to be able to move and dance.  That's pretty much his only requirement at this point. He just started wanting to see what his outfit looks like in the mirror once we get dressed (so I just got him a little mirror for his room;) When I can, I like dressing him with a nod to southern prep. Is that what one would call it? I'm kind of copying a vision I have etched in the archives of my brain of boys when I was growing up in the south. A button-down, slightly collegiate look. I love the boys matching at times, but with Huck developing his style more, I'm going to get away with that look less and less. I got them both the dark denim skinny jeans from OshKosh, so they'll be twinning that way. #winning. FYI- make sure you wash the dark denim together for the first time. 

I got Huck the "piece out" long sleeved hoodie (with a pizza on the front, one piece out...), three new pairs of jeans (it's buy one pair get TWO free right now!!) and some t-shirts. And l wrote all text above for this moment here: I was Santa Claus. He didn't just like what I got him, he loved it!

I just saw their "character" shirts with Mickey or Batman, etc. are under $10 right now! I'm grabbing a few for Christmas gifts for boys and my nieces, too. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page here to find). 

And while I was already there, I picked out some pre-school clothes for Hayden (even though he isn't starting immediately, we still have plenty of "school" mommy and me or camp-type classes). I love these prices, did I say that already? Sorry if I sound like Dori. I'm grateful to find places like Oshkosh that are so budget friendly for these growing weeds of mine. I feel like we need a new size too often.

So, this is the really fun part. Because Oshkosh was kind enough to sponsor this post, one of you will get sent a $50 gift card! All you have to do make sure you liked the instagram post HERE and are following @ashleyaubra and "Like" @AshleyJonesOfficial on facebook. That's it. For an extra entry, leave a comment here and tag friends in the comment section under the instagram post. The winner will be picked  randomly on Friday, August 17th. If you know a mama or papa that could use this gift card, tag them!! And if you end up winning, tag Oshkosh in your photos on social media so I can can see how your little ones got decked out for back-to-school. And if you don't end up winning the gift card, you're still winning with this coupon code below for an extra 20% off your $40 purchase (which will get you a lot!). 

I added more photos if you scroll down because the boys are so fun together. Just over sharing;) And last but not least, even though this post is sponsored by OshKosh, all the thoughts are my own.

 
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Oh the place you'll go...! PEEK INSIDE- ABBOT KINNEY

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

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

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

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

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

Matter-of-fact, some of my favorite wall murals are in Venice. If you’re visiting, there’s plenty photo worthy spots.

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Photos by @ographer

Photos by @ographer

HOPE TO HEAR FROM YOU SOON. CHECK OUT MY LATEST LA TRAVEL POST!

XOXO

AAJ

THE GINGHAM DRESS WAS ALL I HAD TO WEAR

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

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

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

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

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

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

xoxo

AAJ

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

 

HANGING OUT SAFARI STYLE: nursery talk

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

xoxoAshley

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

Is oxblood the new black? From Mom-friendly to slightly edgy!

It rained here in LA yesterday. If you follow anyone from this area on social media, we were all talking about it because, well, it's rare. I love it! Rain gives me an excuse to stay in, snuggle with the baby, cook for my husband (this, I'm proud to say, is becoming less rare), clean the house, write some blog posts (quickly while the baby sleeps), etc. I'm grateful I just wrote that sentence because I was feeling very lazy and non-productive, but that makes me feel like I accomplished a few things over the weekend. 

Today is glorious outside. Crisp and clear. Perfect weather for layering with a quilted bomber jacket.  And one in the color oxblood, too. Evidently, oxblood is the new black. The color adds an element of rock and roll, a little edge. I like having an alternative to the usual basic black. I'm wanting to show pieces that you can incorporate with items you already own; an oxblood quilted jacket is a good start. 

You most likely already have leggings or jeans, so adding a bomber jacket could be the new addition.  If you don't have your "go-to" leggings yet, may I suggest THESE for under $30. (Read a post about them HERE. And thanks to those that commented on loving them after they received theirs in the mail!!) I like this jacket because it's NOT my typical brown or black or denim. But, the color is still a great neutral. Who would have thought? Oxblood!? And look how easy it is to take a dressier look down a notch.  How great is it over this dress below? Just enough cool without trying too hard. 

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In a previous post, I talked about unexpected elements that add interest to an outfit. Whether it's sparkles dangling from the ears or an open back light sweater, it's fun to add the layers on top of staple pieces. And I'm writing up the holiday guide later, but this scarf I'm wearing in the picture below is on the top of my list for girlfriends, my sister, mom, etc. It's $25 and I could not be happier with it. Love all the color choices, too. 

I kept my outfit pretty "mom friendly" today for an audition and meetings, but it wouldn't be hard to create an edgier look. Add THESE booties with distressed denim and a great tee like this one in white for under $20?? And while doing a little surfing for this post, I got caught up in this whole trend and bought this lip!  Well, another day, I'll be the edgier mom!   

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Heading out now... Happy Monday. xo

Winter is coming. Chunky sweaters a must.

OH MONDAY, monday!  Here you are again. Hayden is going through a phase where he doesn't sleep for more than 2-4 hours at a time at night. So, we are tired. At least we can be comfy! Chunky, slightly oversized sweaters are my favorite must-haves for winter time. They are cozy and easy and can be layered. As soon as it hits 60 degrees or so here in LA, I pull them out. I realize that's not winter to many of you, but you can always add a coat. Not only do I love the cowl neckline and softness of the material of this one (which is nice cuddling Hayden), but I really like the price. Good basic pieces shouldn't have to break the bank! This one is only $49. I'm wearing an XS, but for a more "boyfriend" or oversized look, I could go up a size. It comes in 4 colors. How great is the dark grey version? 

I'm still layering a plaid flannel underneath (like I did in this post HERE, and also HERE).  I found a tassel necklace (that I love more) like the one I'm wearing at baublebar.com.  (HERE is one other option, too). I've had my boots for a while, but I found a similar pair for a decent price! I think this sweater would be perfect to pair with a pencil skirt or pants, too. A great work look!

If you're starting to figure out gift ideas, this sweater is a good one for the sister/friend or mom list! 

When you find a good (affordable!) thing...stick with it!

Earlier this week I wore this exact outfit, except the sweater was white- click here to see. When you find a good thing, I say stick with it. Especially when it is so affordable. At only $39, so I got it in white and green, too (it comes in 5 colors)! I love all how the black adds a touch of sophistication. The necklace adds interest and a bit more flair. It's comfy and layered so I can easily take the sweater off if I get too hot today. This is a perfect outfit for Thanksgiving dinner at home with the family, specially if you're traveling! You could always pair the sweater with some shorts on a warmer day, or add a peacoat (I love THIS ONE on sale right now) on a colder day! And, of course the necklace can go from day to night. Happy Friday! 

I feel the need to add that Hayden was just sitting up in the 4moms bassinet stroller for the picture-- not while we were moving. Safety always first;)

SUMMER WHITE! on sale!

Last weekend, we visited Travel Town in Los Angeles's Griffith Park. Huck is slightly obsessed with trains, so this was a perfect family outing. I dared to wear white, but lately I'm oxy cleaning daily, so I figured why not! And today I found out my shirt is on sale for $40! I actually had women stop and ask me where I got it. It's easy, classy and I love the flirty little touch of lace.  I'm wearing a small. It's fairly room-y.  I remember reading once that when in doubt, go monochromatic. So, I threw on skinny white jeans, (those are part of the #NSALE)  white converse and some fun chunky white earrings (can you believe they are $14?) and threw my hair in a messy bun (the messy part was courtesy of the long sleepless night).  And, I protected Hayden's little eyes with these polarized, non-slip glasses.  So hilarious and cute and necessary- and come in a ton of colors. You can also get babiators baby and toddler sunglasses on sale right now here.

 

And I rounded up other summer whites! Take a look below!

PRE AND POST BABY FAVORITES!

It's #throwbackthursday and I'm already feeling like time is going by too fast with the little man. I started looking at pictures while I was still pregnant. Once I got over the fact that 9 days ago Hayden was still inside me, I realized how these NON maternity dresses and tops are going to be fun to continue to wear all summer. And some are on sale---Like the purple dress I love-- 40% off for $30!! Click on photo to shop the outfit, or shop the post at bottom.