Thursday, December 22, 2016



As we wrap up 2016 with an adorable grosgrain bow and go our separate ways for the holiday season, it's important for me to express my gratitude to you. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU! Your support this past year has meant everything to me. You stop by often, humor my ramblings on motherhood with words of encouragement, discuss silly shenanigans like the housewives on Bravo, and delight in all things fabulous like pom-pom trimmed pillows and the snazziest of ballet flats.

Cheers to a sparkly and snazzy holiday season. Let's catch up in 2017, shall we?

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016



Happy Wednesday, m' dears! We hit the road this morning around six and began our trek to Missouri for the holidays. Woo hoo! The past week has been a whirlwind, so it's nice to know we were able to check all the to-dos from our list and hit the road as planned. I'm sure many of you are in the same boat, so I'll keep today's post short and sweet and let the photos do most of the talking. Aside from saying good-bye to The Rig last Saturday and eating an unhealthy amount of sugar cookies to cope with her departure, we made a handful of trips to the park, finished wrapping presents, and I got the family packed in as few bags as possible. While I'm still not sure how many scarves and sweaters will be enough to survive the frigid temps up north, I do know that a certain two-year-old boy was incredibly giddy when we gifted the garbage men with sweet treats yesterday morning. I'll chalk that up as a win!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016


In case you need a creative escape from the last-minute shopping and frigid temps, 
here are five artists you'll want to check out for an instant dose of colorful inspiration...

Alright, have you stumbled upon anything fabulous lately that you think I should know about? Spill the beans.

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Friday, December 16, 2016


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

  • LEIF Holiday Decor // As I mentioned in yesterday's post, we didn't put our Christmas tree up this year. Le sigh. Well, a week into December, I decided to get it out of the shed because I just wanted to be surrounded by ornaments and MORE twinkly lights, only to find that the pre-lit artificial tree we bought nine years ago was no longer working. Womp womp. Naturally, I took this as a sign to just be patient (probably not ideal with Max anywho) and soak up the festive decor when we visit Missouri instead. However, that doesn't mean I'm not itching to buy more. In fact, this Mini Ornament Set includes every hue a color lover could imagine and this Wreath Buggy would be an ideal ode to The Rig.
  • Uptown by Danielle Kroll // Go ahead and picture yourself strolling about Manhattan ogling the ornate architecture.
  • 40% Promo at J.Crew // If I hadn't spent all of my fun money on gifts and a few Cyber Monday treasures (AKA treat yo self! Oops!), I would definitely jump at the opportunity to snag this Enamel Edge Necklace (that blue though) and this Bow-Shoulder Top in Festive Plaid. My mom tried to convince me to buy it, and I really should have listened.
  • Scalloped Ines // A Love List ritual, I present to you this week's champagne taste on a beer budget—pricy but perfect.
  • Gold-Leaf Star Ornaments // In the mood to get your DIY on this weekend? These would be great gifts or gift tags.
  • Christmas Santa Plates // I wish I would have found these sooner. Max would FLIP if he ate from these adorable plates.
  • Take A Bow Hair Barrette // A hint of tradition with a little addition, let's not forget about flair for the hair.
  • Fingers Crossed Keyring // This sums up my sentiments about EVERYTHING these days. Fingers crossed I get it all done.
  • Wrapper's Delight // It's about time I finish the last of the gift wrapping. Cute scissors and pretty ribbon never hurt.
  • Accompany // Looking for last-minute gift ideas?! I guarantee you'll find something from this sweet shop. Trust me. There's something for everyone at every price point and each purchase has a purpose (read more here). Perhaps the Katari Pillow? Speaking from experience, you can NEVER go wrong with a Pom-Pom Garland. Ever.
  • Ceramic Stoneware Bangle // Hubba! To say I'm intrigued with this gilded goodness would be an understatement.
  • Capri Napkin // Leave it to Jonathan Adler to speak my love language. CITRON and GROSGRAIN. Holy swoooooon, y'all!

Happy Friday, m' dears! Make this weekend count.

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Thursday, December 15, 2016



Happy Thursday, m' dears! I realize this isn't the day I typically dump a bunch of photos with Swell Rio scenes on the blog, but scheduling has been a little off with gift guides and my goal to post FIVE times this week was shot when our AC and heater broke on Tuesday and maintenance showed up to fix it that afternoon. Oy! So long, nap time! Actually, we can thank a barking Beesly for killing that dream. Sigh. Anywho, here's a glimpse at what we've been up to and a few delightful details I don't want to forget...

  • Monday morning I cleaned our washing machine's filter (I always forget to do this "monthly" chore), gave myself a mental high-five, and started a load of towels. Feeling proud of myself for remembering to do this menial task, Max joined me outside to take the trash to the curb. Because a certain tot LOVES himself some garbage, we made it a whole thing and took five minutes from start to finish to complete the weekly job. Upon coming into the house, I kicked off my wellies and heard Max utter the word sh!t. As if a two year old cussing wasn't bad enough, I found water rushing out of the washing machine, which flooded the majority of the house with water (about 1/8 of a guesstimated inch). Frantically I scanned the scene and realized when I returned the filter, there was a small gap from where it wasn't screwed in properly. Yep, I spent the rest of the day washing every towel we own and slightly impressed—but mostly embarrassed—my kid used that potty word in the right context. Maybe he said shoot or sit?! Fat chance, Fine.
  • Flyboy returned from his duck-hunting trip in Missouri last week and he had a blast! Woo Hoo! Seeing photos of him with his dad and best friends, along with hearing their stories, made my heart SO happy. But since we hugged and exchanged hellos last Wednesday night, I swear we've been in full-blown Christmas mode around here. Tis the season, right?! Between the squadron holiday party last Friday (Hola sparkly heels!) and trying to take care of this whole Dieselgate thing, I've been wrapping gifts, tracking packages, stuffing envelopes, and making multiple trips to the post office with my wily toddler in tow. Deep breaths. It's so easy to become a Grinch when it feels like there's still a lot to accomplish in the next week, so I've tried to ensure I don't kill the spirit of the season for Max by drinking lots of hot chocolate, eating oodles of cookies, and scheduling frequent trips to the park. As evident from the last photo of dear Maxwell, getting one's tinsel in a tangle this time of year isn't totally unavoidable. Bah humbug, baby...
  • Speaking of Scrooge, we'll officially part ways with The Rig this Saturday. Sigh. Flyboy is going to San Antonio to see the new Star Wars movie with some of his coworkers, so we went ahead and scheduled our buyback appointment for that morning. As silly as it might seem, I think the Christmastime chaos has been a gift because it's prevented me from thinking about it too much. Aside from the paperwork and checklists, it doesn't feel real yet, but you can bet Max and I are making the most of our time with the chariot by visiting Starbucks often and running every errand imaginable. 
  • Bright spots of cheer can be attributed to striped washi tape (obvi), a blowup Minion in the backyard (pictures to come), my innate desire to adorn every piece of mail that leaves this joint with festive stickers, twinkly boxwood wreaths/garland (we're tree-less since we won't be here), unexpected Hydrangeas at Wally World, Mrs. Meyer's Peppermint Cleaner, and mixing Hendricks with Prickly Pear and Orange San Pellegrino. Trust me on that last one!
  • Last but not least, I apologize for not being the most attentive when it comes to responding to emails, blog comments, etc. It's clearly been hectic, as this time of year is for everyone, but I want you to know how much I enjoy your feedback and desire to share with me. I feel like this weekend is going to be a great chance to regroup and relax.

Enough about me. How the heck are you? Finished shopping yet?! Favorite part about the holidays?! Go.

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Monday, December 12, 2016


Eat your heart out, Internet. Sometimes it's necessary to document the salty nature of toddlers. 
The intense level of shade captured in these photos occurred within a two-minute time span during timeout.

Cheer up, buttercup! I hope your Monday looks a lot happier than Maxwell's.
How about some good news?! The final gift guide will be revealed tomorrow. Woo Hoo!

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Thursday, December 8, 2016



THINKING ABOUT: I know I discussed Dieselgate awhile back, but this past week we found out we're in the final stages of completing the emissions settlement in which Volkswagen has agreed to buyback The Rig (for more than the original purchase price). Sigh. I honestly wish it didn't make so much fiscal sense to hand over the keys because this car—as silly as it may seem—has served as a backdrop for the past three years. I remember opening the back door of the car on October 12, 2013 (the day we purchased it) and I nervously asked my father-in-law if he thought there was enough room for a car seat. Um, why do I always feel the need to blurt out exactly what it is I'm thinking?! Gulp. Little did I know, that chapter of our life was coming a lot sooner than we'd ever planned. Phew, deep breaths, Ashley. Now fast-forward to the weeks leading up to Max's due date (October 12, 2014), and I'd watch Flyboy install the car seat as the two of us shared mixed emotions about parenthood. On that Sunday afternoon, it all felt so real. Ha! We had NO clue. Even today, when I start up the family wagon and listen to the familiar sound of the diesel, I can still see myself sitting in the back seat with Max as we came home from the hospital for the first time. And despite the pride I take in keeping our car sparkly and shiny, there are still splatters of formula that cover the sun roof. They've been there for over 1.5 years, but I just can't bring myself to clean up the mess. I suppose the random spots remind me of the countless meltdowns (from both of us) this vehicle has witnessed over the past two years. The thought of saying good-bye to The Rig is certainly bittersweet.

THANKFUL FOR: The introvert in me was hoping we wouldn't be able to find a babysitter for Flyboy's squadron Christmas party on Friday night, but the green lace pencil skirt I bought kept begging me for a night on the town and we found childcare anyway. Here's hoping Max likes his babysitter, and I don't make things too awkward over conversation and cocktails!

WATCHING: Part of the reason I wanted to take a break from gift guides this week was so we could discuss Gilmore Girls. Did you watch the revival on Netflix?! Thoughts?? Are you at odds like my mom and me?! OMG!!! I really don't want to ruin the ending for those of you who have yet to watch (what's wrong with you??), so maybe it's best if we discuss specifics in the comments section below. Pretty please!! I've spent too much time talking with a toddler (about trash AGAIN), so humor me with your opinions.

EATING: Since Flyboy headed to Missouri days after my family left Texas, Max and I have been eating a lot of leftovers—namely soup and sandwiches. On our third consecutive day of boring meals and dreary weather, I remembered my parents left a container of Trader Joe's Jingle Jangle in our pantry. JACKPOT!! No, I really had NO business opening the tin of chocolate-covered candy, but I did it anyway in an act of Swell Rio survival. Fitting into the aforementioned pencil skirt could be problematic. Oops!

LISTENING TO: Are you familiar with Walmart's holiday commercial that features a bunch of pajama-clad children wigging out over their presents to the sweet tune of Chic's Le Freak? Well, the ad managed to grab one Maxwell Fine's attention over Thanksgiving and our tot has become OBSESSED with the song. True to the catchy lyrics, Max quite literally FREAKS OUT when he hears it.

READING: Even though he's a munchkin on the move, Max has grown to really love the time we spend sitting in his reading chair while cycling through his beloved collection of board books. Yessssssss! Since this low-key activity has been such a hit recently, I added a bunch of Christmas books to the mix, but our angry elf just isn't having it with the festive reading material. Instead, he wants to read the same book OVER and OVER entitled I Am A Garbage Truck. Because of course...

LOVING: As some of you are already aware, Flyboy moonlights as Captain Christmas each December and covers our base housing unit in ALL the white lights you can imagine. Because we're the lame parents of a wily two year old and we go to bed reeeeeeeealllly early, we typically leave the light display on over night for everyone to enjoy. That being said, I need to wear a sleep mask to block out the Clark Griswold light that shines into our bedroom window. Yikes! The one I donned last year at this time finally fell apart, so I picked up this one from J.Crew and it's super soft AND cute. Clearly Jenna likes to help a girlfriend out...

Enough about me. How are you feeling today? What are you up to? Thanks for stopping by!! 
Also, GILMORE GIRLS. Ready. Goooooo!
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