Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Handful of Thanks

Hi friends! Happy Thanksgiving!!! I hope all of you find time today to be with your families and significant others, and really truly appreciate the things you have. Thanksgiving is more than just a turkey and a bunch of bomb sides. We live in such a nasty, hateful world, and life is so incredibly short. Love so hard on the ones that you have, and never let them go. If I could tell you all the things I'm thankful for I'd be talking for hours because we are all so blessed. Today I had dinner with just me and my ma (my bestie) and in a bit were headed to see my grandma and then off to see more family! A few things that I'm most thankful for are my parents, my protective daddy where there is no ocean too deep for him to swim through if he had to save me. My mombestie, who truly is my best friend and a living example of God's love for me. My friends( #girlsqad), we don't see each other much, but when we do it's nothing but fun. My big brother who is the chillest person on earth, and I strive to be as cool as he is everyday :). My little brothers who came all the way from Texas this holiday to spend some time with me. Anyone that takes the time to actually read my blog, and listen to my thoughts or comment. My humongous family that never stops growing, my family that never stops laughing, and most of all my family that never stops loving.

Happy Thanksgiving
-Ashley






Monday, November 9, 2015

November 9, 2012

This blog post will be really different than the ones I usually do. There will be no cute pictures, no links to shop, and no stories about what I did this weekend. I'm going to keep this short, only because I went back and forth about sharing with you what I'm about to share.

November 9th, 2012 I was robbed at gunpoint by 5 boys. It was three years ago today. I couldn't forget it if I tried. A family member asked me to get in the car with them to go to the store. The store ended up being the darkest alley, in the worst neighborhood to be in after dark. 5 boys with hoodies got in the car, 3 in the back 1 on each side of the driver's door, and passenger's door, and took everything I had. I was pushed, I was shoved, I tried to run but was forced to stay in the car. I screamed only to have someone put their hands over my mouth. I knew nothing good was about to happen, and I knew in that moment, in that dark alley, we were going to die. 

For the sake of me not having to relive those moments, I'm going to stop there with the details because you get the point. Getting robbed at gunpoint may seem small to you compared to some of the horrific things that have been happening to others lately. But to me it was everything. Those boys didn't just take my purse, my phone, and my personal items I valued out of my bag. They took my sense of security. They took my dignity, and they took my faith. 

After that it was a very dark time for me. I was afraid to do anything, afraid to get in the car with anybody. When I was at home alone I would grab items to defend myself in case "they came back for me". When I slept I would push the TV in front of the front and back door in case someone tried to get in. Ridiculous right? Yeah it may seem that way, but that's where I was at. I was so afraid to live my life, and I wanted it to go back to the way it was before it happened but it never did. You know what else? I was angry. This happened a few months post graduating from college, I did everything I was supposed to do. I went to school, I was the first in my family to graduate, I wasn't out here having sex with everybody, drinking, I wasn't doing drugs or any of those things. I didn't have a dime to my name but I readily gave what I had to anybody who needed it, fasted, prayed, and went to church every Sunday. I did what I was supposed to do! But man was I angry. There was family that turned their backs on me. There was also family who I thought should have stepped up more and looked out for me. All I could think was how could God put me in this situation? How could He do that to me? How could He leave me hanging like this? I did everything He asked me to do, but this is what I get in return? I was faithful to you all this time and you just left me out here like this?

I remember a little while later my mom took me to church. I had stopped going because I didn't see the point in it anymore. I remember sitting in church feeling like I was going to vomit because everything in me wanted to run out of there and be alone. But she made me get on my knees and pray. And I prayed, and I cried. And when I left I prayed, and cried some more. And for weeks, I prayed, and cried, and prayed, and cried...and there were so many times that I just knew God wasn't listening to me, but I kept praying, and I kept crying. And eventually I didn't cry as much, but I prayed a little more. And after that, I cried even less, and I prayed a lot more. Then eventually, I stopped crying, and I just prayed. 

You see, the boys that took those things from me were wanted for murder. And it took me a long time to realize that if I wasn't in that car that night, they probably would have taken my family member's life. Not probably, they would have. None of this was about me this entire time. I was placed there to save someone else. Even though I suffered, and I was hurt, and angry and I had hate in my heart, if I didn't go through any of that they wouldn't be here today. It took me a long time to come around to them again, because I felt so betrayed. But how could I harbor so much hate and pain towards someone who turned their back on me, when I turned my back on God and he still loved me? He still saw me through. Three years later I can look in the mirror and be exceptionally proud of the woman I've become, and continuing to grow into. Since then I've traveled so many places that I never thought I'd see, ate at some of the finest restaurants and didn't pay a dime, I shop whenever I want, can go and come as I please, there's so much more but believe me when I say I am truly living my best life right now. And I'm just getting started.

If it wasn't for my mother who pushed me, and prayed with me, and made me sit on that church pew and get myself together, I don't know where I would be. If it wasn't for that night on November 9th, I wouldn't be the different person that I am today. If I didn't go through that pain of feeling like God had left me, and didn't love me, I wouldn't have the relationship that I have with him today. I fail him everyday, but he has never failed me. He may have put me in a season where I was confused, and I didn't understand at the time what was happening, but he for sure brought me out of that season, and into a new season where I did understand. 

I didn't want to post this, in fear of what people would think, that they would think I was stupid, or this story was stupid and not worth reading. Or they would be turned off because I spoke so much on God's faithfulness even throughout my hard times. But you know, I don't really care. This is the first time I've shared my testimony, and maybe it was just time for me to share it, regardless of who likes it or not. I don't need 1000 men hitting me up, or to be married, or have 17463628498 kids running around to feel loved. God's love is so incredibly real. And you, reader, family member, mommy, daddy, or friend that cares enough about me, and supports me, and loves me, you that's reading right now are living proof of the love God has or me.

So much for keeping it short :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Hello November


 Fall is probably my most favorite time of year hands down. First, I love the Fall months because the weather starts to change, and I get to wear all of my cool tights, flop hats, and the Salted Caramel Mocha comes back to Starbucks!!! ( Sorry to all the PSL fans, I cant get with that) But also every year in October and November since I was about 6, I go apple picking! Apple picking has been a tradition in my family that once started with my dad. The entire family will usually drive about 2.5 hours to Jolly Orchards in Coloma, Michigan and spend the entire day picking apples, carving pumpkins, riding the hay rides, and then the best part...the haunted house. The orchard lays upon acres and acres of land, with a farmhouse that sells any time of apple or pumpkin flavored item you can think of. Since my dad lives in TX now, we haven't had the opportunity to go to Michigan in a while. However there is an awesome substitute in Indiana, that gives me that same sense of "Fall-ness" that Michigan did. It's called County Line Orchard, and is jam packed with all those Fall favorite activities that we love! My best friend and I went to County Line last week and got in a few pics on the iPhone. :)








Never stand between a girl and her Salted Caramel Mocha!
So when we discovered County Line people were coming out with DOZENS of donuts, and I didn't understand all the hype, until I actually ATE one! When I say these are THEE best donuts I have ever had?!! I exercised a lot of self control and only brought one dozen, but even if there were no apples or pumpkins, or Salted Caramel Mocha stops to Starbucks on the way ( pictured above) I'd still go all the way to County Line for the donuts. Its that serious.

Apple picking is definitely a tradition I will carry on once I have my own family because it creates so many good memories! I hope you are enjoying this Fall season, the crisp weather changes, and eating all the donuts your heart desires :)

Have a sweet week!


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Electric









Hi Lovelies! Just sharing a few pics of me from this past summer in a boutique dress. I fell in love with this dress because of the vibrant and electric colors! Nude accessories were perfect compliments to the dress, and of course my colorful Top Gun shades lol. This entire look is under $100! Everything I had in my closet for over a year and I figured I'd get some pictures in and post before it got too cold outside. Since it's October, and the weather here in Chicago is in the high 60's, I think it's still acceptable to wear a short dress without tights. :)

Now next week might be a different story! Love and light this week!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Taco Night

So some of you may know I'm a big family person. I'm a family person, because my family are "family people". We get together a lot, even for the smallest things there's at least 40 of us there. We're together for birthday's, anniversaries, holidays, and even just regular old Saturday's when no one has nothing to do. Recently one of my fave cousins Sam (also self proclaimed foodie like myself) hosted Taco Night at her place. It was supposed to just be " a few people", but with a family like mines there's no such thing as a "a few". I'm always so grateful for Sam, because her and her hubby always open their doors for everyone, and I have NEVER left her place hungry. Here are a few photos from Taco Night below!

Can we take a minute to appreciate this bomb taco bar though?


 Don't forget the beans!
 Tugga Tugga

So I can't remember the name of this game for the life of me ya'll but sh*t gets real, when we play this game. LOL! I'm a beginner, and some of my fam are legit pro's at this game. To be honest it's a lot like bingo...only we play for money. Yep...money, and if you're not paying attention you will lose your money. (comment below if you know this game)



Always the right time for a selfie! (that's Sam btw :) )



 After several rounds of salad bowl it got intense...look at my mom's face (in the blue) lol. 


 Hey family! ( and this isn't event everyone who was there )

Couldn't leave this one out. Someone decided to go put his PJ's on and feed Justin Beiber. :)


Be bold this week!

 


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Good Girls



Happy Sunday ladies! Was so mad this morning, I got up to do this post, and for some reason my previous post "The New Business Casual" had been accidentally deleted! Probably an accident on my part for sure, but I had put SO much into that post, and had to re-do the entire thing. Which got me thinking, and led me to do a completely different post today than the one that I had planned. I planned to blab about my favorite rompers, and how it's pretty much the perfect outfit for someone who's lazy like me...but can I be real?

Re- writing my post had me so frustrated, because the first one was SO good, and I stayed up for hours putting myself into it, only for it to disappear (per my fault) and have to be re-done. After all that work, I didn't want to re- do it. I've actually been really frustrated lately, because I've been putting out so much into the world, and into others, only to feel like I was never going to see the fruits of my labor. Let me be real transparent for you. I'm the type of girl that prefers to stay in and watch Netflix and order pizza, I'd rather read a book then sit on the phone and gossip. When I do go out I'm not the one standing on the table shaking my ass, or pissy drunk making out with the guy who brought me a drink. I have a concrete deep passion for helping others, and try my best to give to others just because I know they can't give to me. But most of all, I have a relationship with Christ, and I fail him every day, but make it a point to work on my relationship with Him. There are some women who's lifestyles make it so hard for women like me, and lately I've been feeling so overlooked. No judgement here, but it's like I'm the cow, and they're the free milk. (re: "Why buy the cow and you can get the milk for free?") Us cows have to work triple hard at being great, and showing how great we are, because we live in a society that glorifies free milk givers.

I guess I'm just trying to say, when you feel like giving up in whatever it is your doing whether it be your craft, or the type of person you want the world to perceive you as...don't give up. Keep being different, keep being creative, keep being the true woman that you are. No matter how left out you may feel, or overlooked, shake it off, and do it again. Always remember you really can have anything you want. A great man, a great job, money, and even status. But because you're carrying your self respect and dignity with you...it'll just take you a little longer. :)









Girls with substance aren't out of style...we're just outnumbered...

 Bracelets: Alex and Ani |  Wristlet: Express | Romper: Express (Sold Out)


Because I'm so nice, I still made sure to include my favorite romper picks below. Summer isn't gone yet, and if you're in the Chi like me, you may never know when it'll leave, but at least you'll look good in the meantime :)

Big Hugs, and Big Kisses
xoxo


The New Business Casual

Hi lovers! Today's OOTD is a bit different than the rest. Business Casual. Yes, let's talk about it. Not just old school business casual either. The new business casual.  I'll never forget when I went on my first interview for a job right out of college, and my mom made me wear a dark blue navy blue suit and jacket, with a basic white collared shirt. The jacket was ill fitted, and the pants were too long. I felt miserable. Not only am I nervous about landing a job, but I'm not looking to good either. Correction, I didn't look or feel good at all. One of the BIG misconceptions about corporate environments, is that there's a strict dress code. Just because it says business professional/casual on the door, doesn't mean you have to go to work looking dull. Now, there's nothing wrong with the blue suit I wore, only it was rather outdated, and I didn't feel good in it. I'm happy to say I landed the job, but boy did I learn something when I first walked in. See my tips below on achieving the new business casual, and how to rock it and make it your own!

1. Presentation. This is my number one rule, before anything. Holy Grail. No matter what you put on your body, whether it's work clothes, casual, or your going to the gym be presentable! Since I am often in a corporate setting, sometimes I see ladies walk in disheveled, hair still wet or not even combed for that matter, looking like they just rolled out of bed. Grab your brush, your comb, flat iron, and make sure you look presentable!

2. Blouses. Instead of the regular button downs, white/blue collared tops, try swapping with a flowy blouse? One that fits well, and comes in different colors. I get most of mines from Loft or Express, but you can find them anywhere, at any price. Flowy blouses pair well tucked in with pencil skirts, their so feminine.

3. Switch it up. More "mixy-mixy", less "matchy matchy". Why go for one color in the same shade. Try going for different shades, or bolder shades like pinks, or oranges in the Fall. You can also do different shades of the same color like I did here. Add's a little personality to your regular ootd if you ask me.

4. Pencil Skirts. Yes, pencil skirts ladies. Let's talk about it. Great for summer, but can also be worn with tights in the Fall/Winter with a beautiful pair of riding boots. Pencil skirts elongate the body, showing off enough curve, but not too much, and can be so versatile. I like pencil skirts regular skirts don't fit well on me, they make me look boxy. Whereas with a pencil, your playing up your femininity. You can literally where it with anything, any way. Versatility is key ladies.

5. Blazers. Give a girl a good blazer and she can rule the world. Not the old, ill fitted blazers that your mom use to wear, or still has in her closet (mines does), but a beautifully tailored blazer. Blazers come in all different styles, but I like to stick to the ones that are more fitted, and that I can cuff on the ends. You can also dress these down too, after work for happy hour, or meeting the girls for dinner on Friday. I usually bring a pair of jeans and a tank, and keep my blazer on.


6. Accessorize. Have fun! What better way to play up an outfit, and your lovely facial features, than with a statement necklace? Statement necklaces add a whole different dynamic to your regular business casual outfit. They're so glam, but not over the top because their so many to choose from.



7. Nude Shoes. I'm all for a good leather pump for a business setting. It goes with everything, but nude shoes are so in right now. I have several nude pumps, and I usually where them when I'm wearing lots of color. I don't like to put black shoes when I have on brighter colors. Instead I use the nudes. When paired with my pencil skirts, it makes my legs look even longer. Next time your pumping it out, listen to the click clack you make across the floor....can we say #GIRLBOSS?

8. Creativity. Stop playing it safe ladies. I mean don't show up to work with your club clothes on, or anything thats too tight, or have your girls out meeting your coworkers. Always remember what enviroment your in, but dont forget your creativity. I'd like to think that what you wear is a representation of yourself, so if your going out for that new job, trying to land that promotion, or just sprucing up your everyday wardobe, get creative!


Always remember lovelies, no matter what you put on your body, whether it's in or not, make sure it represents you. Wear what makes you happy. Put on what makes you feel beautiful. Because if you feel good on the inside, doesnt matter if your pumps are black or blue, your hair is up or down...everyone will still see that beauty in you too. 


Love and light ladies...


Sunday, July 12, 2015

New York...I Love You ♥



Recently I took a trip to NYC! I've never been to the New York City, so I was so pumped to go. When I learned that I was going, I started singing that song from the movie "Annie" ( I'll post below). But I sang it no lie, 1000 times lol. When I touched down in NY, I cabbed to Manhattan. Im all about the moment, and also a big cheese, and luckily my cab driver was so nice. He let me hook up my ipod and we played Jay Z's Empire State of Mind while cabbing to Manhattan. lol! Being from the city I was used to seeing skyscrapers and skylines, but this was on a whole different level. It really lived up to it's name as the "Concrete Jungle". There were buildings everywhere. The shops were buildings, restaurants were in buildings, even a lot of the residential areas were nothing but buildings! New York definitely had a vibe about it, way different than Chicago. It had so much personality, and was just so different, and there were people everywhere! I added a few pics below from my trip!

View from the Top! I did all the tourist things (of course) while I was there. This picture was taken from the famous Rockerfellar center. There was a skydeck that we rode 100 floors up to, to get the best pictures of the Empire State Building.

Bottom of Rockerfeller Center. I just thought this was really cool. What city do you know has massive animal shaped landscape in the middle of the city?
I stayed at The W Times Square. This is the city right outside my building.

Times Square!

One thing i found out quickly, was at 2am, when I was going to bed all of this was still lit up. I had to request earplugs and thankfully the hotel had dark curtains that I pulled. But when I got up in the middle of the night...it still looked just like this outside lol.
Gosh...what a view. Central Park...which we did get a chance to visit while we were there! We obviously couldn't get through everything, but on our way to the MET, we stopped through Central Park!



Dylan's Candy Bar...for the candy feins like me.

Got a chance to see the NY Ballet while we were there! I'm a big Gossip Girl Fan, and we definitely stopped on the Upper East Side to take a few photos.


New York was truly a blast, and glad to say I made a few friends along the way. I hear it's beautiful in the Fall, so that's definitely on my list of things to do!


 For your enjoyment :) My family was SO sick of me by the time my trip came LOL!


 

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