Step Up 2018 INSPIRATION AWARDS

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

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

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

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

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

Highlights:

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

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

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

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

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

StepUpLacey/LisaLing.JPG

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

Kim/Amy/Lisa Step up.JPG
lacey/amy/SJM.JPG

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

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

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

Step Up with bri Kaley Julie bowen.JPG
taking a quick selfie with Lisa Ling

taking a quick selfie with Lisa Ling

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

Thanks for visiting!! 

Have a great week....

xoxo AAJ

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

AshleyAJones.jpg

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!

pinterest/ashleyajones.com

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. 

lace2.JPG
lace upperbody .JPG

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? 

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. 

AshleyAJones.com

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!!

THE DRESS YOU'LL WEAR AGAIN AND AGAIN!

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

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

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

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

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

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

xo Ashley

WHITE AND LACE: sweet, playful and party ready!

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

1. LACE DRESS 2. SUNGLASSES 3. NUDE HEELS 

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

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

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