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I just can't get enough of: Pajamas


I love and live in pajamas. The first thing I do when I get home is put on my pajamas (even if I know I will be going out again). Pjs are just so comfy and cute, what's not to love? My favorites are the Jcrew short-sleeve vintage pajamas (of course) and the Nordstrom poplin pajama sets. And I kind of want to add all of these to my collection:

The white with blue piping is on sale!

Also on sale!

Who doesn't love sleeping in sweats?

Pricey, but oh so cute!

Am I the only one who wears pjs constantly at home?


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Ashley B
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Insta-Lately: My week in outfits



Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.
-- Coco Chanel


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What happened to feminism?


Excuse me for a minute while I step on my soapbox (which, naturally is pink and bedazzled) to ask, what happened to feminism?

The other day I was in the salon getting my nails done. During the conversation I said something that caused the woman doing my nails to ask, "what are you some sort of feminist?"

I wish I could remember what I had said, but it seemed so inconsequential to me at the time and I was so rattled by her question I can't remember. But I do remember how I responded. Emphatically I said, "I am a woman, of course I am a feminist!" To which she replied, "you know what I mean."

Unfortunately, I knew exactly what she meant. For some reason we (women) have allowed feminism to be turned against us. Rather than represent the notion of gender equality and that women should have equal rights, it has come to stand for radical, angry, aggressive, and anti-male women. So many young women are afraid to associate themselves with or identify as feminists.

The fact remains that we have not achieved gender equality. Women still earn on average less than men. When a woman is raped, her character or dress are still called into question. Women are continually labeled as hysterical or overly sensitive by men to delegitimize their feelings or concerns.

But I don't just blame men for the current state of feminism, I also blame women. We have allowed men to hijack our term and use it against us! Case in point this really sad story of a young woman who tried to start a feminist society at her high school. She was repeatedly harassed and demeaned by her male peers for trying to start a club that sought to tackle issues young women face. I realize this is but one example, but this example alone should cause concern.

If you still aren't sure whether or not you are a feminist? Don't worry you can take a test here.

My point in all of this is that feminism is still important (and relevant) and we need to take back our word! This doesn't mean I hate men, in fact I really like them, and there are plenty of men who are feminists! Nor does it mean you have to be a certain kind of woman. The core tenant of feminism is that you can be any type of woman you want (stay at home mom or corporate boss) and still have equal rights and be respected.

Before I step down from my pink jeweled encrusted soapbox, I leave you with this challenge. Let's take back our word and let's not let gender constructs tell us who we should or shouldn't be! Let's make feminism cool again!

A cute printable always helps!

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Ashley B
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Branding: My Moo Cards Arrived!


My Moo cards arrived today and I have to say, they are even better than I expected. I love them! They are so glossy and the colors came out perfect!






What do you think? I am officially obsessed!

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The Perfect Jeans


For years I searched for the perfect jeans (haven't we all). Something slim fitting with stretch that is also comfortable. I am petite (5' 1") but not shapeless, so finding jeans that accommodate and flatter curves but don't require serious alterations has been next to impossible. I am usually forced to compromise. Comfort over fit or fit over comfort. Then last spring I discovered AG's Stevie ankle jean and the skies parted, the sun shined, and the birds sang! They fit me perfectly and are super comfy. But the best part is the length. On average height women I guess they are supposed to be cropped, but on me they are exactly the right length--they show a little ankle with zero bunching, which means they are flattering with heels and ballet flats.

Exhibit A

Anthropology sells them online and in store, and they have recently released new washes and colors for the fall. They are certainly not cheap, but from my experience, they are worth every penny (and some washes do go on sale online).

my go-to wash
        

       

But then, just when I thought I couldn't get any luckier, I stumbled into Jcrew the other day (had to make sure there was nothing else I needed while everything was 25% off) and discovered their new ankle toothpick cords have basically the same cut as the Stevie ankle jeans! I was in heaven! There are so many beautiful colors but I decided on the neon amethyst (the navy is also spectacular!).

        

Exhibit B


What are your favorite jeans?

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Tips and Tricks: Graphic Design


Full disclosure, I used to be a full-time graphic designer, but I don't think you have to have formal training to know how to improve your blog, edit photos, or create graphics. You can basically learn everything you need to know through tutorials online. I still use online tutorials to keep current or learn something new.

First things first, you are going to need the software. There is no getting around this. Professional looking graphics, require professional programs. The good news is you no longer have to spend hundreds of dollars to have these programs. Adobe (the maker of photoshop) has introduced what I believe will be the future of software--The Creative Cloud. It is kind of like time-sharing software! 

Instead of paying an absurd amount for one program, like photoshop (which will be out of date in a couple years), you pay a monthly fee and have access to all of their programs on any computer! Not only can you download the program when you need it (these programs are large and take up a lot of memory) you always have the latest and greatest version. I think this is genius. Plus there is a discounted rate for students and teachers. Best $19.99 a month I have ever spent. If you already have photoshop, great, but do think about switching to the cloud when your version becomes out of date.

With photoshop you can do basically anything--create graphics for your website, edit photos, or create your own printables, business cards, etc.

Photo Editing:
Everybody loves the ability to edit their photos. But you don't want to end up on Buzzfeed's photoshop fail list! I love photographer and blogger Alex Beadon. Many of her newsletters and tips are geared towards people starting their own photography business, but she also does great photo editing tutorials and creates photoshop actions (in the first video of this series, she shows you how to photoshop something out of a photo). 

What's a photoshop action? Basically they do all the work for you. Want an instagram effect or to boost the contrast? A photoshop action does that for you with one click. They are great shortcuts and Alex often gives away free actions! Here is the current action she is giving away with a photo editing video tutorial! You can also find lots of free actions online.


Creating Graphics:
It is actually easier than you think to create your own printables, wallpapers, business cards, or stationary. All of these can be done in photoshop. The key is knowing how to set up your document (size and dpi) and how to save it (for web or print). 

Wallpapers - You can easily google to find out the wallpaper pixel height and width of all computer and mobile devices. There is also this great action. Use these dimensions when you create your file at 300 dpi (now that everything is high resolution, I am creating everything with at least 300 dpi). Just remember that images for the web and mobile devices shouldn't be too big or they won't load quickly. I suggest saving wallpapers as jpgs and web images as pngs.

Once you have created your wallpaper template, you can create cute designs with text and images. If you can't draw your own images, there are so many clip art and vector graphic options available on Etsy (like here, and here)! I got my cute pencil vector from this shop. PS - You can also purchase blog add-ons on Etsy.

This site has amazing templates and resources for everything from business cards to stickers.

The easiest way to incorporate patterns is by downloading a photoshop pattern (.pat), and again there are so many online or for purchase on Etsy. I love this chevron, this greek key, and this ikat! Also you can create your own pattern from any image (but it helps if it is a seamless repeatable image).


Tutorials:
At this point you might be asking what is a dpi, png, or photoshop action? Or you may not know how to set up a photoshop file. No worries we all start somewhere. Tutorials are the best way to teach yourself! This is a great set of essential photoshop tutorials, this list has great web/blog resources, and these show you how to create fun text


So this might be information overload, and more of an overview than a specific how-to, but don't worry, I plan on posting more specific projects soon!

Happy designing! 

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Printables: My Life


I have been collecting various prints and sayings that inspire me for my new redecorating project (stay tuned). I came across several on Pinterest that inspired me to create this:


This is basically my life in a nutshell lol.
It is an 8 X 10 inch print, enjoy!


Some of you have inquired about my graphics skills and I am planning a post tomorrow to share how I create graphics, printables and edit photos, in addition to my favorite online resources!
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Ashley B
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I just can't get enough of: Fancy Sweatshirts


I am loving all of the fancy sweatshirts that are out for the fall! I want beautiful sweaters, but as a Floridian I just don't get much of an opportunity to wear them. But sweatshirts are cotton, not wool, which makes them lighter and more suited to Florida winters (and air conditioning). I am loving this trend because finally I can have the best of both worlds--beautiful fall sweaters + light weight and comfy sweatshirts!

Here are some of my favorites:

  

  

 


And I have added these two to my fall/winter wardrobe:

  



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Ashley B
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Tips and Tricks: iOS7


I just came across this iOS7 trick and I thought I should share! Did you know you can create a button on your home screen for your favorite web pages? With one touch you could access your blog or blogs you love to follow. Such a create shortcut! You could also create shortcuts to your favorite stores. If you link the button to the new arrivals page you would always have quick access to the latest and greatest. It is almost like creating personalized aps!

The best part is, these shortcuts are quick and easy to make. Here is how you do it:

1) Open up the webpage you want to create the shortcut to (make sure you let it load completely).



2) Click on the bottom center button (it looks like a square with and arrow pointing up), and select add to Home Screen.



3) And voila, personalized buttons to take you directly to your favorite sites!


Enjoy!

PS - At first I was apprehensive about iOS7 (it looked so different), but I am really starting to love it!
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Fall Trends: Leopard vs. Camo


Leopard: Jcrew hat // Kate Spade Beau Bag // Me Too loafer // Kate Spade skirt // C. Wonder pump
Camo: Jcrew blazer and pant // C. Wonder bag // Revolve pants // C. Wonder wallet // Jcrew camo tee

Leopard and camo prints seem to be everywhere this fall. Unlike leopard prints, camouflage is not a pattern I am naturally attracted to, but once again, Jcrew succeeds in making something seemingly unfashionable incredibly chic. It (almost) makes me want to try adding a little camouflage print to my life.

For me, the choice is easy. I have always loved leopard! I will be rocking lots of leopard this fall, including those amazing C. Wonder pumps! I just don't think camouflage has the staying power leopard does.

I think Jenna Lyons put it best:

SS Print Shop


Which will you be wearing this fall?

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Ashley B
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Branding: Business Cards Part Duex


Well I finally took the plunge and ordered my business cards (Moo is currently offering 25% off so I took advantage). Here are the three fronts I ended up going with! I am really happy with how graphic and bold they are.



I also ordered some stationary from Vistaprint (their quality is no where near Moo's, but they are super cheap!). I thought my desk would look nice with some new notepads, sticky notes (I use so many post-its!), and notecards.


notecards


notepad


sticky notes

I will let you know how everything turned out when it arrives!

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I just can't get enough of: Kate Spade Jewelry


I will admit that I am not a huge jewelry person. For years I never wore anything. But like my fall resolution to wear more professional shoes, I promised myself last Spring I would start wearing more jewelry. As I started wearing more earrings, rings, and necklaces, I remembered why I never wore them to begin with--I have serious allergies to costume jewelry! I have to stick to higher quality bands who plate or coat their jewelry in actual gold or silver. I have had some luck with Jcrew, but the most luck with Kate Spade. It also doesn't hurt that she makes the most perfect studs!

I love the colorful gumdrop earrings, and I recently added these two to my collection:


The skinny mini bow ring and matching earrings are my absolute favorites and I wear them all the time.




But how perfect are these for me? Together they epitomize my blog name and branding!


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Ashley B
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Insta-lately: My week in outfits!



It was a crazy week, hopefully this week will calm down a little!

Happy Sunday

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Loving Lately




Navy + Nude Palette: This Bobbi Brown makeup palette is simply beautiful. The nude colors are soft and warm, while the deep navy adds intensity to the eye.

Glasses: You may have noticed that my new headshot features my new Warby Parker glasses. I decided on the Chandler and I love them! I like how they are reminiscent of the glasses in my logo, plus I think they make me look smarter.

Navy Wedges: I just happen to try these on while on a recent trip to the mall. They are not really striking on their own, but they are so elegant and chic on! Just the right amount of height and toe cleavage. Also they are just about the most comfortable pair of wedges I have ever put on. I see more colors of these in my future!

Curling Iron: This Drybar 3-day Bender curling iron is amazing! The barrel rotates so your hand doesn't have to. It makes curling your hair quick and easy.

Colorful Pens: I have a pen obsession. Since I take a lot of notes and grade a lot of papers, I am picky. I loved these gel pens when I thought they just came in your basic colors, but then I discovered the super pack, which has every color imaginable. I love using the hot pink, navy, lime green, and lavender in my Lilly agenda.

Doormat: I saw this doormat on Etsy and fell in love! It is perfect for me. So understated, yet cute. It finally arrived yesterday, and it makes me smile every time I leave or come home.

Black Zipper Dress: I scored this dress the other day at Jcrew and I am obsessed with it. I am not normally this excited about a black dress, but the details and cut of this dress are amazing! I will be getting a lot of wear out of it, now I just need to find the perfect leopard heels to pair with it.

What are you loving lately?

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Ashley B
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Be Smart


Every day when I left for school my dad would say two simple words to me: be smart. I can't remember a time he didn't say it and he even ocassionally says it to me now. As a child, I never thought much of it. As an adult, I realize how powerful those words were.

In a society where women are typically praised for their looks or domesticity, my father, with his simple saying, encouraged me to be intelligent and take school seriously. Turns out it worked. And every time I think about this phrase it brings a smile to my face.

So I created this cute little printable (and wallpapers) to remind us all that while there is nothing wrong with being feminine and beautiful ladies, we also need to be smart!


iPhone Wallpaper:



iPad Background:


8 X 10 Printable:





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Ashley B
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