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Preppy Printshop: New Arrivals

Stripes and Peonies // Pink Palms // Live Colorfully Neon Sign

Just a quick weekend reminder that there are some fab new additions to the Preppy Printshop! You might have seen the Live Colorfully Neon Sign print in my new living room gallery wall. And I am planning to make the Stripes and Peonies print the centerpiece of my soon-to-be-updated desk gallery wall. Stay tuned!

You can check out everything the Preppy Printshop has to offer here.

Happy Weekend!
Ashley B
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Signs of Spring

tassel bag // earrings // stripe swimsuit // eyelet crop top // sunglasses // t-shirt // shorts // jacket // saddle bag // stripe cover-up // tassel sandals

Maybe it's because I am from Florida, or maybe it's because I love color, either way spring is by far my favorite season for fashion. I love the delicate laces, sweet pastels, and fun nautical influences. With each passing day more and more resort and early spring releases appear online, and I find myself online window shopping and dreaming of spring for far too long. So, I have put together some of my favorite items so far.

My must-have-for-spring list includes tassel sandals, a saddle bag, and tan/beige sunglasses. I think we are going to be seeing a lot of tassels, crops tops (yay for us short girls), and lace this spring.

Now the question is, how much self control can I exercise?

What's on your spring wish list?


Ashley B
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Living Room Gallery Wall by Framebridge

Mandalay frame + Smarty Feathers Print // Georgetown frame + Live Colorfully Neon Sign Print // Mercer frame + Ciao Beaches Print // Ikea Besta // peonies // large vase // ginger jar

It's official, I am a Framebridge believer. I used to be proud of my inexpensive Ikea gallery walls (which you can see here and here). But after framing some of my favorite Preppy Printshop prints through Framebridge, I will never go back! Now in comparison they look heavy and clunky, and I can honestly admit that my new gallery wall looks so much better and more professional. Not to mention that the Ikea frames are not sealed, so your prints and photos can fade or discolor overtime.

I created these cheap gallery walls because, based on my previous experiences with custom framing, I didn't think I could afford professional framing. But Framebridge has changed the framing game.

Simply put, Framebridge's prices and quality can't be beat. You can either send in the prints and/or pictures you want framed, or you can upload them directly online. I love the online upload option. Once you have uploaded your image, you can preview it in all of Framebridge's frames (with or without a matte) and in various sizes. All of their frames are made to order to the exact size you want your print. If you use the upload option, your new framed prints will arrive on your door in about a week (shipping is always free). If you want to have one of your Preppy Printshop prints framed using the digital upload method, just message me on Etsy after you purchase.

Not only is it quick and easy, I was extremely impressed with the quality. The materials are gorgeous (I adore the bamboo Mandalay gold frame) and surprisingly lightweight, which makes them easy to hang. I loved that my prints arrived ready to hang, complete with hardware!

Pricing is simple and based on size:
Instagram $39 (printed at 5" x 5")
Extra Small $59 (up to 5" x 7")
Small $79 (up to 9" x 12")
Medium $99 (up to 16" x 20")
Large $139 (up to 24" x 36")
Extra large $159 (up to 32" x 40")

Once I saw just how gorgeous my new prints were, I wanted to update my TV stand. I decided to go for a somewhat out there look, which I had seen on Pinterest (of course). It may not be for everyone, but I love my bright pink bamboo trim TV stand!

I started with the simple Ikea Besta as my base and created a bamboo trim using this tutorial (warning, it takes time and patience, both of which I was running low on). After creating my trim, I sanded and primed everything and painted with a high gloss pink/magenta Valspar paint. To finish I added some gold hardware and voilĂ  pink perfection.

Have you tried Framebridge?

A special thanks to Framebridge for sponsoring this post.

Ashley B
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Sunglasses Addict

dress (worn as a skirt) // sweater (old, similar) // sunnies (via Ditto) // tote // shoes (on sale!)

Hello, my name is Ashley and I have a sunglasses addiction.

Growing up in Florida with light eyes, sunglasses were an essential. I never leave home without them. Over the years, however, practical eye protection turned into an accessories obsession. Nothing completes an outfit like a great pair of sunglasses. They make you look instantly chic and add that finishing touch to any look. So needless to say, I have amassed quite the collection over the years (especially while in Italy where I discovered designer frames were cheaper).

The problem is designer sunglasses are expensive and my wallet can't keep up with the latest trends and colors. I am not one of those people who wears the same basic pair with every look. I like to experiment and match my sunglasses to my outfit, or even my mood.

Well, there is exciting news for people like me... I recently discovered Ditto's Endless Eyewear. It's like Netflix for your face!

Basically, you sign up and pay a monthly fee, which gives you access to unlimited designer glasses and sunglasses. Hello heaven! So, for less than the cost of these pink Prada lovelies, which retail for $385, I can have a year's worth of all the Prada's, Karen Walker's, Dolce and Gabbana's, Illesteva's, and Zac Posen's I want (plus many more).

What I love most about this idea is the flexibility and fun you can have with it. While I love these pink Prada's, I would never buy them in real life. If I was going to spend more than $300 on sunglasses, I would get something more neutral that would go with everything and look a bit more timeless. But now I can have my cake and eat it too. I can try all of the latest trends with zero commitment. I just send them back and pick out something new when I get tired of them. Seriously, why didn't I think of this?

Want to try? Ditto is offering one month free with the code HISTORYINHIGHHEELS. I promise, you will be hooked. The hardest part is figuring out which pair you want to try first. But don't worry, they have an online try-on system and personal stylists if you need help.

Is anyone else as excited about this as I am?

PS - It is so nice to be able to wear heels again!


Ashley B
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Outfit: Weekend Spots

hat (old) // denim jacket // top (on sale!) // skirt // bag (old, similar) // pom pom // sneakers (old, similar) // sunnies (via Ditto)

I feel bad posting this outfit as much of the country digs itself out of a crazy blizzard. It did get somewhat chilly in Florida. But, here is the thing with Florida, as chilly as it gets, the sun is always there to heat everything up by the afternoon.

J.Crew's flared skirts (this flutter model and the older flare version) are a wardrobe staple for me. They are so comfortable and flattering, and come in a variety of great colors. I really hope they don't stop making them. I must own a dozen by now and I wear them constantly. Whether dressed up for work with a blouse and/or blazer, or dressed down for the weekend with a t-shirt and denim jacket, these skirts are definitely a wardrobe must-have!

In other news, my get-back-into-shape-after-eating-my-way-through-Italy regimen has begun. I am so tired and so sore. Spending a year in Italy is great... getting back to my pre-Italy health and fitness level... not so much. But, I keep reminding myself that the hardest part is restarting. Hopefully I will be able to lose my pasta belly quickly (although, I still maintain she was worth it).

Happy Monday!


Ashley B
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Weekend Freebie: New Shoes

Now that I am back state-side, I finally have the time to create some more weekend freebies! I saw this quote on Pinterest and I couldn't resist. Because, it is too true. If I am going to take the high road, I am going to need new shoes!

Just click, save, print, and enjoy!

Ashley B
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The History of Pharmacy in Florence

When you think of Florence, Italy you probably think of art, culture, and architecture, or the "birthplace" of the Renaissance. You probably don't think of pharmacies. But, the history of pharmacy in Florence is a long and important one. One of the best parts about this history is that it still thrives today. There are many antique pharmacies you can visit throughout the city that still sell historic therapeutics and perfumes (perfumes were medicines before they were cosmetics). Here are a few of my favorites.

Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella
This is the oldest pharmacy in Florence. It has been in operation for almost 800 years! The pharmacy began as part of the Dominican religious compound on which it still sits, Santa Maria Novella, in the early 13th century. Friars cultivated herbs and made therapuetics (oils, balms, and herbal remedies) for the health of their convent and community. For example, when the Black Death struck Florence in the mid-fourteenth century, killing more than half of Florence's population, the friars started producing rose water. This rose water, or Acqua di Rose, was a natural antiseptic and was used to clean the homes of the dead.

By the 16th century the pharmacy was opened to the public and also served the medicinal needs of the Medici Grand Dukes and Duchesses (the rulers of Florence). One of the pharmacy's most famous patrons was Catherine de' Medici, a Medici princess and future queen of France. For the occasion of Catherine's marriage to the Dauphin of France, Henry II, the friars created a special perfume for Catherine. They called it Acqua Della Regina (Water of the Queen, although today it has been renamed Acqua di Santa Maria Novella).

Today, the pharmacy (now independently owned and operated and called a perfumery) still makes these ancient concoctions. You can purchase your own rose water or smell like a queen of France. Pretty cool, right?

"What's that perfume you are wearing?"
"Oh, just a 400-year-old fragrance worn by Catherine de' Medici, the Queen of France that I picked up on holiday in Florence." [drops mic]

Even if you aren't into ancient smells and cures, the interior of the pharmacy is worth visiting. It still retains its old-world charm and elegance.

Now, the historian in me must mention something. The present-day pharmacy claims in their history that they were the official pharmacy of the Grand Dukes. While this makes a great story for tourists, I have to point out that my own archive research does not support this claim. While the Grand Dukes and Duchesses certainly did purchase goods and therapuetics from the pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella, they also maintained their own court pharmacy.

No other antique pharmacy in Florence can compete with the history of Santa Maria Novella, but there are plenty with just as many interesting things to offer. Acquaflor is one of those. Opened a couple years ago, Acquaflor specializes in handcrafted fragrances, some based on ancient recipes and some with a modern spin. My favorite part of Acquaflor is the decor. Everything is displayed in antique pharmacy cases and counters from the 18th century (most from Florence).

As the name implies, Bizzari is bizarre! Founded in 1842, Alessandro Bizzari's apothecary shop sold everything from essential oils and tinctures, to exotic spices and bizarre and mysterious objects. Today, the shop retains its eclectic and curious appeal. Inside you will find over-stuffed counters and cabinets crammed with all manner of jars, flasks, and bottles containing tinctures, oils, pigments, herbs and spices. You will also find an amazing collection on antique jars, flasks, and scientific equipment.

So if you're planning a trip to Florence, I highly recommend visiting a historic pharmacy and maybe treating yourself to a new (that's actually very old) perfume.

Ashley B
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500 Words a Day

500 words a day... sounds easy right? This is my dissertation diet. From now until the first of May I need to write 500 words a day.

Huge projects (like writing a book) are completely overwhelming. Whether it is a research paper or a dissertation, it helps to break large projects into their smallest, and most attainable, parts. The worst thing you can do is procrastinate or expect that you can simply lock yourself in a room for a day or two (or a month in my case) and finish. That is just not healthy and, usually, does not produce your best work (although we have all done it).

Since writing is the act of thinking, it is a process, not a product. You have to give yourself the time to write, think, and rewrite. I am hoping that by creating such a small daily goal, I won't get overwhelmed by the process of writing my dissertation. I can sit down each and every day and simply write. I also hope that this will prevent me from being consumed by the dissertation writing process. I want to maintain balance in my life - work hard while still maintaining my health, friendships, and hobbies. Also, miss Ophelia requires a lot of attention!

Of course this is all well and good in theory, but, like with anything, goals can be more difficult in reality. If I can keep to this dissertation diet, however, I will have a little more than 50,000 words by the end of this semester, which would give me plenty of time over the summer in Italy to research any missing pieces, and begin revising. My long-term goal is to defend in spring 2017.

Here is to setting attainable goals and making them happen!

Ashley B
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Outfit: Love At First Stripe

Zara coat (similar) // stripe tee // pants (lots of great colors and many are on sale) // bag (similar) // wedges // sunglasses // lip (in heat wave)

Is there anything better than the perfect navy and white stripe shirt (and this one has bows down the back!)? It basically goes with everything and should be an essential on any packing list. It is also the key to achieving a nautically-inspired look, which just happens to be one of my favorite trends each and every spring (actually, I love all resort wear in general).

The minute I spotted these red pants at J.Crew I knew I wanted to pair them with stripes and a double breasted blazer or coat. I love the intensity of the red pants and they have just the perfect amount of stretch, which makes them easy to wear and flattering. I decided to size up (a 6 instead of a 4), per the reviews online, and I was glad I did.

You can shop all of my favorite striped tees below!

Ashley B
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