Friday, October 30, 2015


Let's get right to it, shall we?
Here's what made me feel all twitterpated, smile contagiously, giggle uncontrollably, etc.

  • Large Cowbone Beads // When we visited Austin earlier this month with my parents, my mom and I wandered into one of our favorite boutiques. I still kind of kick myself for not picking up a set of these beads. While simple and unassuming, they make quite a statement! This is one necklace that is most definitely Iris approved. Layer 'em up, ladies!
  • Pink and White Juju Hat // Roll your eyes if you must, but I really think juju hats have therapeutic qualities. For instance, I've had mine for a year (Thanks, mom and dad!), and whenever I catch a quick glance of this plucky piece of artwork, I can't help but smile. One day when I hit the jackpot, I plan to outfit every room with at least one. I'll start with this...
  • Full-Size Halloween // Got any plans? Are you dressing up? We plan to keep it simple in Swell Rio. I'll pass out candy, and I've got my fingers crossed that Max cooperates for a quick photo op. Wish us luck!
  • Yellow Zig-Zag Bowl // How fabulous would this look on a gallery wall? We're talking about a serious pop of color, and I'm obsessed with the great texture. A purchase from Far and Wide Collective helps artisans like Quazi Designs, which supports women in Swaziland and small business growth, helping to improve their lives and the lives of their children.
  • June Beetle Rhinestones // In the event you feel the need to get your DIY on, look no further than For the Makers. This is the coolest craft store. Ever. Now which kit should I try first? I'm thinking this Azaelea Wrapped Bracelet Kit is a MUST.
  • Parker Crossbody Bag // Carrying a big tote is great and all, but I miss having the option to don something more compact. Now that Max is getting older and needs less stuff, I'm excited to dust off my favorite bags for quick trips.
  • Cable-Knit Sweater // I wouldn't say it's cold enough in Texas for chunky sweaters yet, but this cable-knit cutie has me dreaming about Winter weather. Coming in just under $50, this is a definite wardrobe staple.
  • Brass Pen // While doing some research for an upcoming project, I stumbled upon this brass beauty. Hubba hubba!
  • 12-Month Agenda // Fact: I'm fairly certain I'd buy anything that's smothered in Kate Spade green or gold foil.
  • Cat Ear Headband // With an accessory this adorable, I might just consider wearing cat ears. Gasp! Who am I?! No, really.
  • October // How is October (almost) already over?? As expected, my favorite month was once again one for the books.
  • Short Wrap Skirt // I cannot even. You guys, I think I just died and went to stripe jacquard heaven. She's a real beaut!
  • Bottle Opener // One magnet catches the bottle cap; the other allows the bottle opener to be kept on the fridge. Genius!
  • Pom-Pom Booties // These knitted slippers slay me! Eek! Oh, and I may have bought the matching jumpsuit for Max. Squeeeeee! Clearly, I'm bound and determined to make this little boy look like a baby forever. Sorry, I'm not sorry...
  • Mongolian Fur Bench // Has a piece of furniture ever reminded you of someone you know? Maybe that's just me. Anywho, this fabulous number has my mom's name written ALL over it. What a stunner!!

Cheers to a snazzy weekend, m' dears! Make it count. Oh, and have a HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!
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Thursday, October 29, 2015



THINKING ABOUT: There's a pile of unfinished thank-you notes that are situated on the kitchen counter. I HATE when stuff is out of place and that's precisely the reason I stacked them there. I want to COMPLETE the project and this was supposed to motivate me to finish them. Unfortunately, the longer they sit there, the more daunting the task becomes. I'm embarrassed it's taken me THIS long to send notes of gratitude for Max's birthday—which was a whopping three weeks ago! At this point, I might as well make them dual-purpose thank yous and throw my birthday in there as well. Old Ashley would have had them signed, sealed, and stamped within a week. This newer version prays to get them postmarked while it's still October. Aim for grace, not perfection. Right??

THANKFUL FORYou know you've lived in Hawaii and Texas for too long when you consider 75-degree weather nippy, and you view the cool weather as a perfect opportunity to whip up your favorite chili. That's precisely what went down this past weekend in Swell Rio and we were all ecstatic! To sweeten the deal, Max had a reason to wear some of his new duds, and I got to dust off my light sweaters and jackets. I think we're finally getting a taste of fall, and I love it! Now if I could just get my hands on a big pile of leaves...

FEELING: With upcoming deadlines, fuss master Max (code for needy and not walking), and visitors trickling in to Swell Rio throughout the month of November, I've been feeling a bit anxious lately. Whenever this happens, I find myself acting extra irritable and sensitive—both of which are good indications I need to make time to get on my spin bike. It helps me create positive headspace.

EATING: I usually rely on Pinterest to flash me that little reminder whenever I've already pinned something, but I guess the site isn't perfect because it didn't catch the FIVE times I pinned Pinch of Yum's Garlic Basil Chicken with Tomato Butter Sauce on five DIFFERENT occasions. Oops! Or perhaps Pinterest is just that good of a friend that they didn't want to kill my enthusiastic foodie vibe?? Yep, that's DEFINITELY it! At any rate, I plan to try the recipe tonight. It's clear I feel very strongly about the dish, and I can't really blame myself. Just feast your eyes on the photos—it looks downright scrumptious!

LISTENING TO: On Sunday night, I finished watching the Bravo three-part special in which Teresa checks in from prison. Oh. Em. Gee. Did anyone else tune in?! Since devoting three more hours of my life to our favorite New Jersey nonsense, I've found that I've adopted Joe Giudice as my inner voice of reason this week. Hold up, let me explain. Much like an angel or devil that sits on my shoulder, I've got ol' Giuseppe—who is presumably sipping more wine (obvi). No matter what the situation might entail or what curve balls are thrown my way, I hear a little Italian voice mumbling "Whattayougonnado?" Ridiculous? Yes. But totally worth giving a shot. Promise.

WATCHING: Because I can never get enough Bravo, let's discuss the Real Housewives of Orange County. What are your thoughts? Is anyone else scratching their head and wondering how we devoted an entire season to the whole Brooks cancer debacle, but we still don't have any REAL answers? Worse yet, Vicki appears more delusional than ever at the reunion—even AFTER she's split from Ayers for good this time! Ugh! This has been such an odd season (and reunion) filled with a whole lot of nothing. I'd say it's time we move on to Atlanta before I pretend to fall asleep on the OG of the OC. I'm done whooping it up with season ten. 

READING: When my aunt sent me an Amazon gift card for my birthday, I quickly loaded my shopping cart with all sorts of colorful coffee table books that have been hanging out on my "wishful thinking" wish list. Nerd alert! I'm eager to dive into Styled by Emily Henderson, along with the latest addition to Kate Spade's classics, All in Good Taste

LOVING: I'm obsessed with the boyfriend-inspired fit that's synonymous with J.Crew's boy shirt. Who's with me?! I have this particular style in more colors and patterns than I care to admit, but that won't stop me from adding more of them to my wardrobe. They're timeless, my friends!! The most recent addition to my collection is this insanely soft flannel check number. Brunswick Blue and I are already besties, but Neon Orchid may have to join the mix next.

Enough about me. How are you feeling today? What are you up to? Thanks for stopping by!!
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Tuesday, October 27, 2015



Happy Tuesday, m' dears! No need to beat around the bush. Let's get on with the colorful details, shall we?!
  • I'd say today's batch of photos is an accurate representation of life at the moment with Max. He doesn't want to be held, but he also doesn't want me to put him down either. That makes perfect sense, right?! I thought so...
  • Last Thursday was my 30th birthday and let me just tell you, Max was on one. I was hopeful he'd go easy on me (a temperament that's more gruntled than disgruntled), but that day was pretty rough. Thank God for nap time and a thoughtful friend who sent me a lovely assortment of macarons! You made what felt like an ordinary day EXTRAordinary!
  • Speaking of birthday gifts, Flyboy went over the top this year and spoiled me with a bouquet from Farmgirl Flowers that was delivered each week throughout my birthday month. It was such a thoughtful surprise! He's a keeper, I tell you! Unfortunately, I think I've become slightly spoiled with my Thursday delivery. I could definitely get used to this...
  • I had high hopes to capture a few photos of Max and me in honor of my 30th. I don't really like getting my picture taken, but for some silly reason, I wanted a photo to represent life at this very moment. I guess I got exactly what I hoped for, even if the pictures don't look as coiffed or posed as I'd envisioned. What was I thinking? Really, though...
  • All of the candid shots and comical outtakes made me scratch my head and wonder how in the heck some of these bloggers and Instagrammers take such pretty pictures AND they do it often??? I scroll through my feed on a daily basis and see images of mothers and babies in pictures that appear to document their lives so effortlessly. I bow down.
  • When my mom was here, she helped me swap out a few knick-knacks from our bedroom and guest room and encouraged me to incorporate them in the living room instead. Woop woop! Since the Fine boys outnumber the girls, I've found an odd desire to sprinkle pops of pink throughout our house. Moving this lamp and this throw pillow (on sale) to the living room was a total game changer. It tied everything together and upped the snazzy factor. Mama likes!!
  • I wish I had a dollar for every time Max "organizes" the books on his bookshelf each day. Aside from stacking his literature and chucking the beloved board books at me and the dogs (Ouch!), he's taken a real interest in flipping through the pages. Who knew?! Occasionally when he's tired, I can convince him to sit on my lap and we thumb through a book or two together. These Touch Think Learn books and Slow Snail are some of our latest favorites.
  • Since books are one of the babe's favorite things at the moment, I couldn't help but adore the fact that my college roommate sent Max a copy of The Polar Express for his first birthday. The thoughtful gesture and precious note left me all misty-eyed. It's not every day that you receive a gift enclosed with Condé Nast card stock. We'll cherish this forever!
  • I know I share a lot of the humorous imperfections that come with having a baby. It makes for entertaining blog posts—what can I say?! Unfortunately, I sometimes wonder if my transparency might scare readers who are currently pregnant or brand new mothers. If you fit into either of those categories, listen up! If your experience is anything like mine, it may take a whole year for things to really click. Sure we hit a groove at three months, but I never realized that my love for this little guy would intensify like it has in the past few weeks. I feel like I see Max in a whole new way now that we're starting to really connect. This motherhood gig is getting SO good and I'm ecstatic about what's to come.

Alright, enough about me. How are YOU? I'm dying to know.

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Friday, October 23, 2015


Let's get right to it, shall we?
Here's what made me feel all twitterpated, smile contagiously, giggle uncontrollably, etc.

  • Kate Spade New York Home // One word. SWOON. I swear this is the furniture collection that my dreams are made of. Topping my list of fancy favorites include the Drake Slipper Chair in Azalea, the Downing Desk (not pictured), and the Deco Dot Rug—although, I'm sure you know I LURVE it all. Now what's it gonna take to make me rich?!
  • Party Crown // You know I wore one of these ALL day yesterday and LOVED every minute of it. It's good to be queen!
  • New York City Print // The colors in this make me oh-so happy. It may need to be included in the babe's work space.
  • Island Green Superga Sneakers // I'm convinced THESE are going to be the magic shoes that get Max to steppin'.
  • Valley Eyewear DB Optical // A pair of glasses that put the FUN in funky. Heck, these spectacles are downright SPUNKY!
  • Bottega Louie Macarons // My dear friend sent me a box of macarons and they were a total birthday game changer. On a day when turning thirty felt fairly ordinary, this sweet treat made it EXTRAORDINARY!
  • Octavia Cuff // Loren Hope unveiled Chapter III of her Fall/Winter 2015 Look Book this week. The pieces from the collection might just be some of my favorites. This simple cuff is everything.
  • Dragonfruit Vodka Tonic // Can't wait to whip up a batch of refreshing pink drinks to welcome the weekend. Thirsty?!
  • Cocktail Recipe Binder // This copper-foiled cutie needs to live in Swell Rio. I've got drink recipes that need documenting.
  • Shiny Striped iPhone Case // My screen protector is scratched/cracked and my case has gone to crap. Thanks, Max! I'd say it's time for a replacement case. I went with polka dots last time, now it's time for stripes.
  • String Ball Lights // We have a colorful set of these in Max's nursery, but part of me wants to add a string of white lights to the living room this Christmas. They're like magical snowballs strewn around the house!!!
  • Stadium-Cloth Cocoon Coat // On a day when the high is in the mid-80s (Hey, Texas!), I can't help but dream of a cool fall morning wrapped in the warmth of this Golden Sun number. Talk about a dreamy coat in one happy hue.

Cheers to a snazzy weekend, m' dears! Make it count.
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Thursday, October 22, 2015


THINKING ABOUT: Remember the last Thursday Thoughts post where I was certain we were SO close to Max walking?! Yeah, no. Nothing has changed. In fact, we've regressed since then. Oh, grrrrrrreat! While my parents were here, we were ALL convinced it could happen at any moment, but certain half-pint lacks the confidence needed to take his first steps and refuses to even stand at this point. When I encourage (okay, force) him to use his walker or hold my hand, his lower half goes limp and he dramatically melts to the ground. The curious and independent child I had to watch closely a few weeks ago, wants to be held ALL the time and won't leave my sight. This paired with MORE teething is dynamite, m' dears. I'm reminded yet again that babies be babies.

THANKFUL FOR: Afternoon naps that last a little longer than expected (Here's looking at you, Tuesday!) and result in me tip-toeing around the house as I attempt to accomplish "just one more" task before the babe awakes. Afternoons like these are unpredictable gifts that make you feel like you're winning at life. Did somebody say JACKPOT?! Oh, and could we make this a weekly thing??

FEELINGWhile getting my roots colored last Saturday, my stylist asked how I felt about turning thirty (it's my birthday today!). I guess she had a hard time coming to terms with it herself and was surprised I didn't think much of the milestone. Over the years I've been told I was born with an old soul, which probably explains why I feel somewhat relieved to welcome this new decade. I proudly donned walking shorts and blazers in middle school, and I spent the better part of my twenties relating more to middle-aged women than my actual age group. If this means I'm one year closer to my mental age (whatever that is...), bring it on.

EATING: I'm not sure how I started following Lauren Brimley on Instagram, but she recently shared a two-week meal plan with a focus on whole foods that piqued my interest. After my parents left, I wasn't all that motivated to brainstorm this week's dinners, so I happily chose a few recipes from her plan. If you're looking for ways to mix up next week's meal plan, I highly recommend Lauren's Salsa Chicken, Italian Sausage and White Bean Soup, Honey Sriracha Salmon, Cauliflower Rice, and Seared Chicken Thighs with Confetti Hash. Since I experimented with several new recipes, I was certain there would be at least one or two that we'd find mediocre, but Flyboy and I were pleasantly surprised with each meal and plan on repeating them again in the not-so-distant future.

LISTENING TO: Max's first birthday resulted in many new and obnoxious toys (namely this and this). Now I have a fresh set of hokey lyrics to memorize, which you know I secretly love to hate. "Red, green, yellow, blue, let's follow the jungle crew!"

WATCHING: The rapid and deliciously clever banter between Lorelai and Rory Gilmore might be one of my favorite things. Ever. So when news broke this week of a possible Gilmore Girls revival on Netflix, I was instantly twitterpated! Twitterpated, I tell you! The idea of a Stars Hollow reunion has got me frolicking through imaginary piles of leaves and belting out "Where You Lead" in my best impression of Carole King. Now how can we ensure Sookie signs on for the mini-movies? This calls for a town meeting.

READING: Why am I just NOW reading this a-mazing article by Elizabeth Gilbert? Alright, never mind. Maybe I was supposed to see it today? Maybe it's exactly what I needed to read on my 30th birthday? Yes, definitely YES! Here are a few of my favorite excerpts:
"So here's what I want to know: Can we lighten up a little?
Can we draft a joint resolution to drop the crazy-making expectation that we must all be perfect friends and perfect mothers and perfect workers and perfect lovers with perfect bodies and dedicate ourselves to charity and grow our own organic vegetables, at the same time we run corporations and stand on our heads while playing the guitar with our feet? 
Let's just anticipate that we (all of us) will disappoint ourselves somehow. Go ahead and let it happen. Let somebody else be a better mother than you for one afternoon. Let somebody else go to art school. Let somebody else have a happy marriage, while you foolishly pick the wrong guy. (Hell, I've done it; it's survivable.) While you're at it, take the wrong job. Move to the wrong city. Lose your temper in front of the boss, quit training for that marathon, wolf down a truckload of cupcakes the day after you start your diet. Blow it all catastrophically, in fact, and then start over with good cheer. This is what we all must learn to do, for this is how maps get charted -- by taking wrong turns that lead to surprising passageways that open into spectacularly unexpected new worlds. So just march on. Future generations will thank you -- trust me -- for showing the way, for beating brave new footpaths out of wonky old mistakes. Fall flat on your face if you must, but please, for the sake of us all, do not stop. Map your own life."
LOVING: I heard about the beloved Aztec Clay Mask a few years ago when we lived in Hawaii. Unfortunately, I got sidetracked at Whole Foods (standard) and never ended up buying the magic mud mask—the primary reason for my trip. Damn you, fresh flowers and chocolate chip cookies! I guess it took Mindy Kaling's recent Instagram to jog my memory and convince me to finally buy a jar of the goodness. After several weeks of slathering my face with this clay concoction, I couldn't be more obsessed. In fact, I convinced Flyboy to try the easy at-home spa treatment with me last weekend and he couldn't get over how clean and smooth his face felt.

Enough about me. How are you feeling today? What are you up to? Thanks for stopping by!!

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