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Q + A

When I started this blog I was looking for a fun and creative outlet from academia, a place to share my non-academic interests. Two things I never imaged would happen: 1) people would actually read this (it still weirds me out when I discover my friends read it), and 2) I would make so many great connections. I thought blogging would be completely self-indulgent, and while there is definitely an element of that (as with all social media), I was surprised to discover the real connections--giving advice on grad school, encouraging women to enter the field of history, or just simply conveying the importance presentation and style.

I also get a lot of great questions and emails (also completely unexpected). So I thought today I would share some of the most frequently asked questions:

Q. How do you get to travel to Italy ever summer/What do you do in Italy?

A. I was lucky enough to "fall into" working for a study abroad program. When I was entering my senior year in college my advisor invited me on his inaugural summer program in Rome. The course was focused on political science and since it was the first year, it had little organized for history and art history sight-seeing. I took initiative since I wanted to see and do it all while I was there. My advisor was impressed and asked if I wanted to return as his teaching assistant and organize cultural/historical excursions. Ten years later (I am about to spend my 11th summer in Italy... wow!) the program has grown tremendously and I am lucky enough to still be a part of it. When in Italy I liken myself to a glorified cruise director who is really good at herding cats. I schedule and coordinate all of our daily activities, classes, and excursions. I also teach a course. I truly believe in study abroad!

Q. What do you want to do with your degree?

A. I am working on my Ph.D. in History (Italian history, but I am sure you figured that one out) and I hope to find a tenure track position at a research university. I would also love to continue my work with study abroad programs. But really, I am going to go where I get the job!

Q. What color do you dye your hair?

A. I am surprised about how many questions I get about the color of my hair! No, it isn't natural. I grayed very early so I have been dying it for a long time. Currently I am using Clairol Age Defy (pesky grays) in 5R medium auburn. Besides my color, my biggest hair secrets are: 1) wash as little as possible; 2) hot rollers straighten and add volume with little time and effort; and 3) Pearson Mason brushes are amazing! (you can read more about my hair care routine here

Q. How do you make your prints and pillows?

A. I design all of my prints in pillows in Photoshop and/or Illustrator. They are then printed by a professional manufacturer and sent directly to consumers. 

and the number one question I am constantly asked (not kidding!):

Q. Where is the rug in your OOTDs pictures from?

A. Target! Here is the link and it's on sale! Seriously I am just as obsessed with this rug as everyone else... I even bought spares!

Ok, now it's your turn! I've been blogging since September and I am curious what you do and don't like.

Q. Which types of blog post do you like/prefer?

Q. Which kinds of posts would you like to see more of?

Q. Is there anything you don't care for (it's ok to be honest, remember, I am in grad school!)?

Feel free to leave any other feedback, it would be much appreciated!

And happy Friday!

Ashley B
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  1. I like your tone of voice on the blog is friendly and down to earth. Sure, you like some nicer pieces but you don't gloat on it and are relatable in that you definitely buy and encourage some affordable pieces while some bloggers are just really in a whole other ballpark. You mix high and low, basically.

    I absolutely love your home posts. Your décor and interior design ideas are so stylish and practical. I never tire of those posts. Do you have cute kitchen and bathroom décor or do you focus mostly on the living room and bedroom?

    I also love your fashion posts like the recent pretend-outfits you made, pieces you are loving, and your print shop. I have been wanting that eyelash pillow since I saw you post it on Tumblr but as I mentioned in a previous comment, I am just saving up my "fun money" to buy it.

    Also, as an animal lover, and particularly, a cat lover, I wouldn't mind seeing more little glimpses of Ophelia. :P

  2. Oops, I meant to say I like that***

  3. Too funny about the rug question being the most popular! I love it too!

  4. I love your Q and A; and to be honest, I love your blog! You are a fantastic writer and I love reading your posts every day!

    Prep on a Budget

  5. This might not be very helpful, but I honestly really enjoy the wide spread you have on this blog. As someone who is in grad school I always love hearing about your experiences/woes/joys/etc! And plus, you have impeccable style ;)


    this sojourner

  6. I like the clothing/fashion posts best. I especially like the "30 outfits out of X items," "what to wear in X season," and I also liked the "how to build a more interseting wardrobe" post. I like your top 10 travel essentials and decorating posts too. I guess I least like the posts directed at study abroad/academia because it doesn't apply to me, but I'm sure there are others who like them (and you like writing it, so that's what counts).

  7. I really like your decorating posts and your posts on mixing and matching clothes because it always inspires me to do more with my wardrobe. (also your travel posts give me serious wanderlust.... I enjoy them... my wallet does not). You always have such creative ideas, so happy I found you right from the start!

  8. I really enjoy your content. I do have one question... on your interiors posts, would there be any way to have larger photos? There are so many details in those posts that I'd love to have a closer look at... or perhaps would you consider doing a few more close-ups of your vignettes?

  9. I love that even though you do like pieces that are from higher end places, you don't only talk about those expensive brands and you always seem to find similar pieces for everyone's budgets. You don't just tell your readers to only buy expensive pieces.

    I also love how you do a weekly freebie for your readers. That's totally awesome and I always love seeing what new creations you've made!

    I like how you seem real and don't seem like you're trying to make your life sound perfect to your readers. Overall, your blog pretty much rocks!


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