Got Kids? TOP THINGS TO DO IN LA WITH KIDS!

Photo: @Ographr

Photo: @Ographr

Top things to do in Los Angeles WITH KIDS— the second part of my VISIT LOS ANGELES series. (See the first post on TOP FREE THINGS TO DO IN LA). The City of Angeles has gems for children that are worth carving out time whether you are a local and looking for fun things to do this summer or year round, or vacationing on the West Coast.

There are many lists out there, but these are my curated picks from the past few years running around LA with Huck and Hayden. Nothing is sponsored, by the way…I’m so often asked these questions, I just decided to jot it all down.

THE HUNTINGTON GARDENS

CHILDREN UNDER 4  ARE FREE.

If you follow me on stories, you see how often we are at “The Gardens.” I truly love the wide open spaces, the unbelievable selection of different gardens and cultures. It is an amazing experience for kids of all ages. My suggestions for first time visitors:

If you live in the area, buy a family membership for about $150 or so. It will pay for itself quickly and you can also bring a guest (there are rules to how many and adults verses kids, please check).

I recommend giving yourself some time if you are paying the day rate. There are several places to eat throughout the gardens, but you could also pack a picnic. If you want to see it all, I would give myself a good 3-4 hours, maybe more. Get a map- there is a lot to see! Make sure you don’t miss the Botanical Garden, the Children’s outdoor museum and the Japanese and Chinese Gardens, where you can also grab a bite to eat on site. The Art galleries are worth visiting, but may be more of an interest to you, not the kids. If your child likes water, there are fountains and streams in the children’s section. I make sure we have a swimsuit that dries easily or a change of clothes. You don’t have to, but the younger ones tend to get wet. We definitely use a stroller for Hayden, FYI. There are stroller and wheel-chair accessible ways throughout the entire garden.

THE SKIRBALL MUSEUM

The Noah’s Ark Exhibit is not to be missed. From my experience, it seems to interest children until the age of around 11 or 12. ADMISSION IS FREE for children under 2 always and FREE for everyone EVERY THURSDAY on a first come, first serve basis starting at 11:45. Huck had the best time here when he was 3, and now Hayden is taking after him. It’s incredibly inventive, educational and historical (even I enjoyed it!). Plenty of activities to keep your interest, keep them occupied (ropes to climb, lightning to “make,” etc), and don’t miss the Family Art Programs.

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Courtsey of Museum

Courtsey of Museum

MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

I have heard AMAZING things about this Natural History museum in Los Angeles, so I felt the need to include it. My usual rounds of the Natural Science and History Museum is in Houston with my parents and Hayden, so I added the text from the website. While writing this column, I’m making a separate list to take Huck and Hayden asap and I’ll update this with my thoughts!

Discover your world past and present. See dinosaurs in our new Dinosaur Hall, including the world’s only Tyrannosaurus rex growth series. Get the behind- the- scenes look at how scientists work on fossils at our Dino Lab. See 240 specimens, including skeletons from mastodons to whales, animal dioramas from North American and Africa, and more.Stroll through our extensive Nature Gardens, and discover true stories about plants and animals in our Nature Lab. See and touch more than 2,000 spectacular specimens displayed in our Gem and Mineral Hall, and enter into the vault to view diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and other exquisite gems. Our Butterfly and Spider Pavilions are open seasonally. Here you can wander through the changing ecosystem with over 30 species of fluttering butterflies all around you, or witness arachnids up close and personal. source: website.

Courtesy of Museum

Courtesy of Museum

Courtesy of instagram/museum

Courtesy of instagram/museum

BACK AT THE BEACH

I’ve talked about how Back at the Beach Cafe is one of my favorite spots in between Santa Monica beach and Malibu before (like in THIS POST HERE). I LOVE it.

PROS: Enjoy lunch while your toes feel the sand. Let the kids play on the playground on the beach right by the patio all in front of the ocean. If you aren’t responsible for any kiddos, btw, sit under the umbrella and enjoy a glass of wine. You are steps away from feeling the water on your feet! It's adjacent to the Anneberg Beach House, which is worth a visit, too.

CONS: Parking. On a good parking day, there’s inexpensive paid parking right in front… on a crowded summer weekend, it takes a long time to find parking and can take a while to get a spot at the restaurant outside on the patio. Indoor seating can be reserved for tables of 6 or more. You can also make reservations through the Anneberg for parking and a pool spot, which I would highly recommend if you want to make a day out of it.

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FISHERMAN’S VILLAGE

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Right here in LA county, there is a little slice of New England seaside in the Marina called Fisherman’s Village. It definitely has some instagram worthy photo-ops, but I would only make a trip to Marina Del Rey if I was 1) staying nearby or 2) going on a boat ride. The village is still in need of a bit of renovation, however, there’re restaurants and stores open that are charming.

FYI- the Marina is very close to Venice and Santa Monica, as well as LAX. So, if planned properly, could be an easy stop to end the day and watch the boats sail into the sunset.

Image: Getty

Image: Getty

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SANTA MONICA PIER

You’ll most likely get some great photos here, but I describe my reticence in the first segment of these posts HERE. If you’re visiting the area in an off season, I say go! But it gets very crowded otherwise. Still a famous site to see and kids love festival type games and rides, so it’s a must have on this list.


ECHO LAKE PARK

Rent a pedal boat and have a picnic in the park that dates back to 1860! After the extensive renovation, pedal through the lake or walk the path lined with palm trees with the Los Angeles skyline as the back drop. Have a bite at Beacon while you’re there!

LA BREA TAR PITS

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Again, this made the list on the first segment, but it bears repeating here because kids love it. Right here in the HEART of LA, you get to experience the Ice Age. The LA BREA TAR PITS next to the L.A. County Museum of Art is the most significant source of prehistoric fossils ever excavated. These fossils have made their way into museums around the world, but the largest collection is here at the Page Museum. It's free to wander the park and look at the tar pits and outdoor exhibits. During the summer, you can watch the excavators at work

ANGELS FLIGHT RAILWAY

Remember Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams riding this Angles Flight railway in THE NOTEBOOK? Well, maintenance is now complete and it is open! If you have reason to go to Downtown LA, this is a MUST SEE or must ride! I must say I had forgotten about this historical landmark until Katherine Kelly Lang and B&B producer Casey Kasprzyk added it to their Bus Tour! It’ll be one of the best dollars you spend in LA! And totally instagram worthy;)

Image: instagram

Image: instagram

TRAVEL TOWN

When Hayden was barely a month old, we took our first family outing to Travel Town to do something fun for Huck. This is a great space for kids to explore old trains, learn about the rich 150 year-old heritage and roam around. ADMISSION IS FREE. Train rides are a nominal fee (around $3) and really fun for younger kids. Bring a picnic to have a snack at a picnic table. There are limited snacks available on site.

HOLLYWOOD STUDIO TOUR

If your kids are a bit older (at least 8), your family might consider a studio lot tour to see behind the scenes of where the magic happens. This site does a great job at breaking down all the tours in town, prices and age limits. If you are a fan of a show (like FRIENDS, for instance, you might get a kick out of sitting on the couch at “Central Perk!”), take that particular tour! I’ve been on all the lots and seen the tours drive by. Generally, they are all pretty informative and fun. If you keep your eyes peeled, there’s a great chance you’ll see stars of shows walking around. I hear Universal reenacts the plane crash from WAR OF THE WORLDS, has fire, etc—- plus you get to spend the rest of the day at the Universal park! Most people I talk to after they take a tour rave about it! The studios are located all over the city, so make sure you plan your day’s events around traffic and parking.

HOLLYWOOD BOWL

Scroll down on my post HERE where I give away a great secret for kids that love music. Many concerts at the bowl have FREE rehearsals during the day with easy (nearly VIP) parking and so fun for the kids to run around and get a “private” day concert.

If you’ve done any of these activities and have some tips, PLEASE LEAVE THEM IN THE COMMENTS. I want to continually update this post so it stays current. Looking foward to your thoughts and if you have anything to add.

Happy Summer with the kiddos!!

xoxo

AAJ

SUMMER DRESSES!!

I HAVE IDEAS FOR YOUUU!!! In the past month, I’ve received so many questions on what I am wearing. I can’t get back to every email or DM, unfortunately, but I can communicate via the blog!

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THIS DRESS is kinda genius. The fabric is thick, but not hot or heavy. It balloons out just so to create a slight princess cut (and give you room to eat and not worry!!). And it has POCKETS. Need I say more? It’s definitely on trend with the floral print and cut. I see this dress working for a long time. It’s classic enough to not fall into the “80s grandma curtain print.” I stopped counting after the 10th Dm asking me where to get it when I wore it to Step Up’s Inspiration Awards So…. here you go!! It’s a perfect option for a dressy summer wedding or cocktail party. Btw- the red dress I wore to Step Up’s event last year is on sale in blush for under $32!!

I wish I had spent more time on my hair… but, you know, I’ll do better next time.

I got stopped more than once last time I wore this jumper. It has a cut- out back, wider legs with a tie belt. I feel so put together when I wear it. I added my red Rothy’s last time and loved the pop of color with the outfit.

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THE YELLOW DRESS worked well for the boys’ birthday party. And I will wear it all summer. I didn’t think yellow worked on me, but it worked with the cake!! lol I do love a subtle polkadot. This cut works well for a variety of bodies with the slight A-line. AND ALSO…POCKETS and adjustable straps. I promised several people in comments on instagram and twitter that I’d do a blog… I’m doing a full birthday blog, but for now—- here is THE DRESS;)

I posted about this dress recently when it was on sale. I think the sale is over, but I’m posting it again anyway. I have this dress in two colors because I love it THAT MUCH. You’ve seen me in it in white over and over! (Like HERE to the Inspiration awards, HERE on Easter, HERE with leather) I try to change it up with white sneakers sometimes, nude heels or my Rothy’s (like in photo above). Even though the dress is not on sale, it’s still affordable under $90 and no joke- you will wear it over and over!

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I know it’s kinda old news now, but I appreciated all the questions about the DAYTIME EMMY DRESS I wore. IT IS BACK IN STOCK and really affordable. The whole look is! It’s a great fabric, but I did WEAR SPANX. Yep, I felt like it helped with my tummy and thighs. It’s no secret that we’ve been trying to have another baby.. I’m now on medication that is known for gaining weight, retaining water, etc. So…. to counteract that for a red carpet, I wear THESE. It might be TMI or overly sharing to let you know that- but it’s the kind of information I appreciate from other people, so I thought I would tell you, too. My strapless bra I planned on wearing didn’t totally work, so I also wore THESE sticky nu-bra type things. (It gives you a bit of a lift if you push those puppies together before you put the stickies on-and with the gentle boning in the dress, it works!).

And the yellow floral dress above is on SUPER SALE under $50! Sizes with all these things so fast, so happy shopping if you’re looking for something special.

And Happy Thursday! Hope y’all are having a great week. My parents arrive tomorrow, so today I’m cleaning! LOL. And getting ready for them while I have a little mini-me undoing the work. Ha.

I’d really like to know if y’all want more fashion type posts like I used to do- with more detail and such. Actually, while I’m here asking, I’d love know overall topics you’re more interested in: food, travel, fashion, parenting, fertility (I have another post I’m working on for that), work stuff, kid stuff, etc.

thanks, Y’all!

XOXO

WE'RE ON A BOAT!

Just a very quick post here...Living in LA, I get the opportunity to do some cool things with the kids. Last week, we were invited to Sony's screening of Hotel Transylvania 3 on a sunset cruise  hosted by the Millennial Mamas. 

I'll be honest, I didn't get to watch much of the movie because my child is obsessed with looking at the water. So, he was mostly watching other boats. And I was only watching him! But how often do I get to take a sunset sail on a boat? Not often, so I loved every minute. And seeing the world through Hayden's eyes is special. I know Huck would have loved it, so we'll have to do it sometime when he is with us. 

I also wanted to get this post up to share the outfit details. This floral blue piece is so easy to dress up or down. I've worn it to a fancy dinner and out for a day meeting. And I love how long this dress is if it's a day I'd like my legs covered! I'm wearing a regular size 2- no alterations (but I do have on slight wedges). 

And Amy's polka dot wrap dress looks so fabulous on her. Love it! Amy's wearing a petite 0.

COMING UP: stay tuned for the wellness series. I'm completing an interview with the brainiacs behind the scenes of Usana to go live soon. Not a sponsored post, either. Just wanted to share information with you all. Happy Thursday! And happy birthday week to Mary and Charleen;)  

Veena Crownholm and Erin Ziering of Millennial Mamas 

Veena Crownholm and Erin Ziering of Millennial Mamas 

 

 

 

 

Summer Sales

I'm working on another post right now for y'all. A health and wellness one. But, I absolutely had to interrupt that to bring you the sales going on right now. Basically, sales during summer are Christmas in July. I have some fun things to share right now, so I'm combining a few posts into one (most items are on sale, but not everything). For those of you that've seen some of this before, scroll right on by the repeats;)

Today, the big one is AMAZON PRIME DAY. I JUST ordered the amazon fire stick with Alexa remote and paid full price (eye roll), and today, it's half off. So, I'll be scrolling looking for practical things I need that are on serious sale today. Not sure how "practical" this is, but I'm thinking about this TV!? What are you scoping out?

Last weekend, I wore this tie-back, polka dot jumper below. Just love it. It's $58. I had it on with red flats (Rothy's), then swiped out for slips that I wouldn't mind getting dirty as I walked through the Huntington Gardens this weekend. Next time, I'll wear it with chucks. Cuter, right?

Moving on.... I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my star cut-out top below that is a conversation starter (and I get stopped by strangers every time I wear it). It is on sale for $20 right now!! Down from $78. (It's also at Nordstrom HERE if they sell out, but it's not on sale there yet). And my sunnies are $14. I mean, no brainer. Too fun. (update: I just saw the sunnies are sold out since my posts with them have gone up, but there are similar ones HERE). And Hayden is also wearing stars!

NORDSTROM ANNIVERSARY SALE

I've been wearing some bright colored dresses lately. And I love them. Read all about why in the post HERE.  I ordered some more "make-me-happy" pieces that are on sale now and wanted to remind you this yellow lovely item below is also on sale. It's hard to wear it and not smile a bit more. 

Below are the items I think are worth checking out. I have discussed this before and am not shy about admitting how much I love a little help with tricks of the trade (the post is over a year old, so links may need updating, forgive me. I'll work on it soon).  Like, literally squeezing into Spanx or another girdle-like undergarment. I wear them often. I felt smooth and better in this dress HERE IN THIS POST only because I had on these spanx. And they come in petite and plus sizes. How fun and lovely would it be to have a Victoria Secret model body, but alas, that ship has sailed for me! Anyway, I digress. I am sharing because this is the time of year I restock or try a new body shaper. Nordstrom Pre-sale (open freely the 20th to those of us who do not carry their credit card) has items normally not on sale, around 40% off. For instance, these spanx are under $24, but only for this sale. 

This list is random because I am so tired and need to go to bed, but I tried. HA. I have so much more to add for the next post! Love you all. Big Hugs. And know that some of the prices do NOT reflect the sale price. I will work on that. Some pictures do, but not all of them. Ok... night night!

 

ONE EASY WAY TO BRIGHTEN UP YOUR DAY

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1. Amy's adorable Romper 2. My Yellow Dress (40% off!) 

Life isn't always the easiest. I'm sure we can all attest to that. I know I often put on a happy face on social media (or I just don't post at all and take a break). I don't feel like venting to the world on such a public platform, but a blog is a more personal space to share or at least seems to be, even thought I try to be positive here, too.

And you all have been incredibly supportive when I do open up here. Thank you. Plus, I've really appreciated hearing your thoughts on things. You all give great tips! Some of my recent favorites were in a post on instagram where I asked about stress relief (at bottom of this post). 

I'm learning there are different levels of stress and disappointment. {UPDATE: after reading some of the comments below, I felt the need to edit this. Yes, I've always known there are different levels of stress, but not until certain life events happen do I realize how I would react. I can project how I would react to major events, but there's not way to know until you are living it.} Some things alter life permanently, while other stresses you won't remember in a month. When life feels so all over the place, sometimes I have to do small things that I can control. I remember Dr. Oz telling me the easiest three things I can do for myself are: drink water, do some sort of movement for the body (even if it's rolling your shoulders back and forth) and take a vitamin. I'm adding two things to this very easy list. First and foremost, prayer. I believe in prayer. It keeps me focused on God and changes my perspective on Earth.  

And this other one may sound silly, but wearing a pop of color like my yellow dress really does raise my mood. A doctor told me this when I was pregnant. She said even if it's underwear that only we see throughout the day, bright colors can elevate our mood! Ha! I thought it was bogus, but tried it anyway when I was pregnant.

So, recently, I've been opting for patterns that make me happy. This yellow dress did the trick! It's the ultimate summer pick me up color. I'm wearing a size 2 regular, for reference. And it is 40% off right now at $82. 

And Amy's romper is everything. Right? I love the pockets, too. I mean, if my yellow fruit basket of a dress is too much, opt for her romper. It really is the best. I would be borrowing, but as you can tell, one of is in in a petite size and one of us is not! lol For reference if you are petite like Amy, she is wearing a 0 petite. I would wear this in a regular size 2. 

What are your simple tried and true tips for elevating mood?

ps- a few of you have asked here and I've been getting DMs about vitamins and all around "health and fitness" type of stuff (which I believe goes right along with this post), so I'm going to do my best to make time for it this week if there is still interest?

 

CREATIVE WOMEN

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Yesterday was a day full of creative energy. I wanted to share a few thoughts in case some of you are like me and need a little nudging to make things happen. 

You know how you meet people occasionally and you say, "Let's get together!" The intention may be pure, but the follow through fails? Well, recently Ami Desai, Lisa Breckenridge and Jamie Greenberg found ourselves chatting away at an event. We said we would get together soon. But, you know, we ALL say that. We actually followed through!! 

Jamie (celebrity makeup artist) had to work, boo... (with Kaley funny enough!) but we STILL KEPT OUR PLANS. Lisa made lunch for us (if you're not following her blog and stealing her amazing cooking tips, you're welcome!) and Ami and I indulged as we all took notes for our future project. 

I left feeling full (literally full from food, but also full of ideas!!). I've felt like I needed something like this, so I'm grateful we connected. 

Sometimes, it's helpful to rearrange schedules and prioritize certain gatherings. It's not always easy, I know. Especially with kids. But, it is worth it when you find that group of people that inspire and encourage and excite. Share if you have a story... it might help someone out of a slump. Changing things up occasionally is good for the creative spirit. 

xoxo

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Oh and for those of you interested, the green floral dress I'm wearing is really versatile. I put it up on the liketoknow.it app. In case sizes sell out HERE, it's available HERE, too. It's Eliza J, a brand I've been wearing lately and like.  I'm wearing a 2. It came in the mail and was ready to go (no steaming required like some things!). Many of you DM'd me that you bought the blue and white striped fit and flare from the same brand that was featured in this post. Hope yours is working out, cause I love mine! For the green dress, it's fun with simple strappy sandals or even flip flops during the day. I wore dangled earrings because I wasn't with Hayden who loves to play with them, but usually I wear my studs!!

 

 

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. ;)

 

WEEKEND GETAWAY! Nautically Speaking...continuing my love of STRIPES

Joel, the baby, Oscar (yes, we took the dog!) and I met my sister and her boyfriend this past weekend in Mission Beach. It was a spontaneous decision and ended up being lovely. I think it was really good for us to get away for a bit! There's something about a change of scenery that's good for the soul. Even if we are having a "staycation" for the weekend, I have a to-do list running in the background of my mind. Laundry, clean car, organize this or that. Hayden loved being with Jordyn (my sister) and Cody, being in the pool, looking at all the boats. I love weekend getaways via car. They are more affordable and easier to pack. But, the downside is they end quickly. And Hayden doesn't always sleep as well when he's not in his own crib. Full disclosure, I still haven't finished this Vanity Fair magazine I'm holding. LOL. #toddlerlife

I packed super quickly...a package from Nordstrom had just arrived, so I grabbed the sunglasses and striped shirt out of the box. A couple of posts back, I shared some of my favorites from the Nordstrom sale in a photo. The shirt (with such cute pockets) sold out, but just came back in stock in all sizes. I paired it with wide-leg white pants, but next time I would try for high waisted white jeans like these from the Gap. How cute are they??

I don't think stripes ever went out of style, so to say they are back is silly. But they are everywhere. Along with polka dots (I ordered this polka dot shirt and wore it this past weekend to a different event- will post soon). 

This shirt is classic and affordable. Looks expensive, but only $35, which is a plus. I love the nautical, summer feel. Would be a very cute outfit for July 4th, too. 

I added some bright white, fun sunnies and so glad I did. I got stopped!! Ladies asking where I got them. My favorite thing is to report how affordable they are, "Go order them! They are $14!!" Great sunnies can change a whole look, in my opinion. I appreciate expensive, high quality ones, too, but sometimes it's nice to change it up and not break the bank. Especially while I have a toddler! 

(scroll to the bottom past the pictures for a few quick questions and recommendations)....

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Ok... add to the list! What screams summer to you?? I'd add read a good book (or a magazine!). I need a good book, rec, btw! Have you just finished one you'd highly recommend? Promising myself I'm gonna see more beach sunsets, too. I DO live very close to the beach if I can make it out there. And what's the one thing you would pack if you were heading out this weekend? 

xox

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

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.

Ali/Sprinkle

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. The exact one is sold out now, so I linked a similar dress in a different shade of blue. 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

 

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? 

My latest go-to is $20!

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

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

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

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

Happy Thursday Happy Summer Happy Shopping.

When Playtime Meets Worktime

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Sunnies 5. S'well bottle 

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

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

xo Ashley