Fashion Friday: Caroline Bingley

November 13, 2015
Caroline Bingley

Here’s another Friday edition of what Jane Austen character’s might look like in 2015. It’s one of my favorite posts of the week. I’m channeling my Scream Queens fandom here. Can’t you see Caroline Bingley totally relating to Channel? Wouldn’t she have her own Chanel-like minions? This of course meant lots of fur, pastel and sparkle. What do you think?

1. Pologeorgis Fox Fur Batwing Vest. Of course a cool $1,495 is nothing for a Bingley. //

2. Posh Girl Pastel Pink Strapless Maxi Bandage Dress. Because Caroline Bingley have to love pastel pink and showing off the curves. //

3. Christian Louboutin Degraspike Pumps. You know Caroline Bingley would have to have her fair share of some Louboutins am I right? And I’ve been drooling over these forever since I found out that they do carry size 11! That’s probably something I should have never found out… although really I’ll never be able to afford Louboutins on a writer’s budget and how Carrie Bradshaw did is beyond me #thestruggleisreal.

4. Kate Spade Wedding Belles Clutch.  A little extra sparkle never hurt anyone, nor does another Kate Spade handbag.

5. Tiffany Knot Key Pendant & Chain. Keys seem to be a raging trend these days. I have to say I’m liking this higher-end take on it. And rose gold, swoon.


Keeping Up With Ashley

November 11, 2015

Although I dearly love my digital space here, when it comes to planners I am still a pen and paper kind of gal. I will admit that half way through the month of January I kind start slacking on actually keeping up with the planner.. but I’ve decided going into 2016 that I will be more devoted to being organized with my life. This means hitting all writing deadlines and making myself blog on a more regular basis. I wonder, are these agendas still popular? Are you a pen and paper or digital agenda kind of person?

I think this Kate Spade planner (2) would totally help jumpstart my devotion to being organized. How fun is it?! Also, a planner made out of vinyl (1) is genius and adorable. DubuDumo (3&4) has a ton of affordable options that are great for something to just throw in your purse and go or I love the desktop one and I think I’ll order it to plan for blogging/writing deadlines. And of course I couldn’t forget the stickers (5) from StickWithMe. They are just so cute it hurts.

What are your favorites? What keeps you motivated to stay organized and plan? Any good blogging resources that you use?


1. phonoboy // 2. Pencil It In 12-month Agenda.  // 3 & 4. DubuDumo // 5. StickWithMe //


Listening To Your Inner Guide

November 10, 2015

This is one of my favorite Austen quotes. I think I far too often let the loud voice of fear drown out the little inner voice that knows best. I don’t listen to that inner guide often enough. I also lose myself in comparing everyone else’s highlight reel to the reality of my life more than I should. In diving into working freelance and wanting to start my own business there is so much fear involved. Nothing is perfect, but I’ve focused on the ‘what ifs’ of failing than the ‘what ifs’ of possibilities of succeeding. I’m sure we all need this little reminder from time to time so I created this downloadable print to hang out paste somewhere as a little reminder to listen to your inner voice.


Beauty Monday: 7 Drugstore Makeup Favorites

November 10, 2015

I have a few go-to makeup and beauty items that I use when my budget is a bit tight or even just for every day staples that can be found in the isles of drug stores… or lets be real, Target. Some I found doing dupe make up searches and others by great luck. I’ve included some of my favorites below. Let me know what your favorites are or if you give any of these a try. I’m a big believer in searching out the best items that fit for you and not necessarily just because it’s a hot item or recommend by someone, so I like hearing/seeing what works for others.

  1. NYX High Definition Blush in Amber. I just recently found this blush and I love it. I am very fair skinned so I have a hard time finding blush that doesn’t make me look like a clown. This is a great color for fall and is like a pinkish version of my bronzer (which is by The Body Shop and I also love because it’s the PERFECT shade and easily blend-able).
  2. Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation. I found this as a suggestion for a Mac Face and Body Foundation dupe and I love it. Super affordable for around $7 and it is a pretty great dupe for the MAC foundation if you’re looking for one. I use this for days I’m in a hurry or want a light coverage. It doesn’t last as long as far as wear during the day or the amount of days, but it’s a great affordable option.
  3. Sally Hansen Miracle Gel nail polish in Terra-Coppa. I LOVE getting my nails done, like addiction level, but it’s not always in my budget. I’ve been pretty impressed with these Miracle Gel polishes by Sally Hansen. This particular shade is great because it’s a: a unique shade that’s gorgeous and b. it’s hardly noticeable when there’s a chip.
  4. L’Oreal Paris Carbon Black Mascara. My lovely mother found this gem years and years ago and have passed it on to my sister and I. It has been my go to forever. It has been a godsend. It’s a great color and really makes your lashes pop.
  5. e.l.f. Expert Eyeliner. How can you beat $2 eyeliner. I’ve had a hard time finding a good liquid liner because my eyes can be really sensitive and the thicker tipped liners I have a hard time pulling a cateye with. This is the perfect width and lasts forever and so easy to use.
  6. NYX Studio Liquid Liner in Extreme Blue. I don’t use this liner often enough. It is a gorgeous blue and is great for blue eyes.
  7. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Concealer + Treatment. This is another dupe I found when searching for something for a replacement for my MAC Pro Longwear concealer. Honestly, I’ve yet to find something that can compare to this pure miracle of miracles but this Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Concealer + Treatment has come the closest. It has great dark circle coverage, but I do on a few occasions have problems with creasing if I wear it all day.

Fashion Friday: Lydia Bennet

November 6, 2015

I’ve been reading a book byJo Baker called Longbourne. I loved the idea of reading the classic Pride and Prejudice from a different angle. I’m only half way so I can’t judge the book in its entirety, but it’s a bit slow in the read. I’m intrigued by they story line though, it’s very unique. I’ll have to let you know my final decision. BUT… it made me think of Lydia Bennet for Fashion Friday this week. I wondered what she’d be like in 2015. I think she’d love the sequin trend and would own way too many night-friendly clothes. So, I went here for some sequins and sparkle that would surely make her flirty, fun and a little over the top side come out. Enjoy!

  1. ASOS (one of my FAVORITE brands) Petite Night Sequin Mini Dress. I love the combo of a mini dress with a high neckline and long sleeves. It’s sexy and great for a Fall look.
  2. Parrade shoes by Steve Madden. I’m dying for these gladiator style with a little bit of sparkle. I think Lydia would love these statement shoes.
  3. Celia Drama Drop Earrings from Chico’s. I love the sparkle and unique style of these Amazon like earrings. And at a pretty affordable price.
  4. Champagne bottle clutch by Kate Spade. I have always been totally in love with Kate Spade clutches and love this new champagne clutch. They also have a champagne bottle change purse that I’m dying to get my hands on.

Beauty Monday: Curly Hair Must-Have & Anti-aging Masks To Die 4

November 2, 2015


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It seems like Monday is the day I feel my worst beauty wise. There seems to be a little more sag under the eye, a little more dark circles. I feel like my hair has been tortured with straightening or curling all weekend. Am I the only one that feels like they need a little extra help to feel awake and revitalized on a Monday morning, or at least need a little more help faking it?

  1. I have searched high and low for a great lip stain that will last all day and not dry out my lips at the same time. I loved my LimeCrime Red Velvet Lip but it tended to dry out my lips and during winter when my lips were already a bit dry it ended up not looking so hot. In stepped in these gorgeous Sephora brand cream lip stains. They are life savers, especially on days when I don’t feel like wearing full make up and just want to add a pop of color to make it look like I put in more effort than I did. My favorite colors so far are African Violet (on the left in the photo) and Marvelous Mauve. I just picked up Infinite Rose (to the right) and so far it’s great and has more of a glittery finish to it than the others which are matte.
  2. I’ve always been a huge LUSH fan. Their bath bombs are to die for, but I’ve been tub-less for awhile now. The glory of apartment living. However, I finally got my hands on one of their face masks and I’m totally in love. I think it’ll give my GlamGlow a run for its money. The clerk suggested Brazened Honey for an anti-aging option with exfoliation/deep cleansing and so far it really does make my face feel more toned and tight.
  3. I’ve always struggled with my love/hate relationship with my curls. I love them when they’re springy, well-defined and frizz free. But being able to accomplish that look is a rather hard task. Washing my hair everyday to try to achieve that looks just drys my locks and fades my color. I decided to try this Mixed Chicks Morning After Defining Foam. It’s been a life-saver so far. It helps redefine slept on curls and take away the frizz. I’m definitely going to look into their other products.

Fashion Friday: Am I Old?

October 16, 2015

So I’ve been living out of coffee and tea shops throughout Minneapolis the last month while job searching and freelance writing. I feel I get more done without the temptation of Sex and the City reruns on E! and Netflix calling my name. I know, I’m a weak person.

One of my favorite places I’ve found so far is Bull Run Coffee Bar – the one off Lyndale to be exact. Their homemade chai is to.die.for. They also won my love and favor by having the New York Times style section for me in paper form. I’m old school. I like having a physical paper in my hands.

This one article caught my eye. That headline read “Earlobes Are a Canvas for Women Over 30.” In my perpetual 20-something mindset I was like ugh… what? How lame. Then it hit me. I’M IN THAT CATEGORY. I’m over 30. Is my recent obsession with getting my nose pierced again trendy? Am I that old lady trying to stay relevant and cool? :Sigh: I really think I got stuck at 28 and my mind refuses to accept any other birthdays.  I do however now have this need to go get my ears pierced again to. It looks cool damn it, even if it’s my sad attempt to stay relevant. No, but seriously. I hate that they have to age discriminate. I hate that after a certain age you feel like you have to chop all your hair off or if you wear skirts above your knees past 40 you’re grasping at your youth.

Isn’t fashion about embracing what makes you feel confident, sexy? What makes your feel like your authentic self? I have fun with fashion and trends. I don’t feel enslaved to the latest and greatest, but I love expressing myself through dresses and lipstick and crazy earrings. I don’t think we should put such an expiration date on what is acceptable. We already have so many limitations and expectations on women in general.

Attachment 2They also had this article about how fashion trends this year are leaning towards the ‘tomboy’ aesthetic and they were asking if that term was outdated and to gender normative. I was kind of torn. Not ever being a real ‘tom boy’ I can’t speak tot he experience of feeling that I was pressured into fitting into a certain gender norm of dressing and acting. But, as they referenced Harriet the Spy in the article I had to read on. Between her and Nancy Drew I had decided for a good part of my elementary and middle school life that I wanted to be a spy.

Do you think that we’re outgrowing ‘tomboy?’ In literature, they say the idea is dying. Isn’t being portrayed. Where are the Jo March’s and Harriets?

“No one brings us these stories,” said Jennifer Baumgardner, the publisher of the Feminist Press, adding: “Tomboy doesn’t feel present tense to me at all. It feels retro, this affirmative way of talking about a girl who likes boy things, as if boy things were better.”


Is talking about a ‘tomboy’ really saying boy things are better? Or that these young girls just happened to like dressing or acting in a certain way that is socially categorized in a male’s realm? I guess in a world that’s trying its hardest to be gender neutral and embracing, I can see how the term might have lost it’s thrill… but does it have to be bad? Is saying boyfriend jeans or boyfriend t-shirt always a bad thing? Is it harmful for those fighting to embrace an ideal that doesn’t fit into traditional gender definitions? I like their “gender-expansive” term. Being able to be fluid between fashions of both genders. Can’t we have a spectrum? Can we reown those terms and make them non offensive or have new life?



Falling into place

July 23, 2015

Someone made an interesting comment today that really hit me as I venture into this next stage of my life that’s full of scary changes.

Some people’s lives just fall together. Mine certainly didn’t. 

And it’s true. It’s something I’ve always really struggled with. I’ve watched some lovely and not so lovely people in my life find their first boyfriends, have their first kisses, land the perfect internship or job, find their husbands in college or while traveling, finding a house bigger than even my parents before they turn 25 and popping out perfectly adorable children one after the other with ease.

While I always struggled to find my place and fit in. Carried a few extra pounds. Had my first kiss happen in the worst possible way. Finding no soul mate in college or not landing a great job with great pay and benefits until my 30s. In so many possible ways my life has been a completely hot mess. Largely of my own making, but in other ways not so. I think I focused so long on the ways my life didn’t fall together, the longing for the things I should have and wanted at certain stages, that I made myself miserable.

Comparison. The grass is always greener.

But I think it’s made me a more compassionate person I hope. A more interesting person for sure. A little worn about the edges some, but have led a rich and whirl-wind life. The idea of settling down with M sometimes freaks me out because part of me is just waiting for it to go wrong, because so much in my life has. For so long I didn’t think I deserved the good, because it never came my way. And sometimes I think I just overlooked it.

So I’m in my 30s and I don’t have my shit together. I’m not married, I don’t have a brood of children, I don’t own property, I’m in debt. But, I’m certainly not boring. I’m sure Jane would have much to write about in observation of me. I don’t know if I could say that about many others. I’ll take it.



Kyrie, Eleison

June 18, 2015

Lord, have mercy.

That’s all I could think about when I woke up to the news about the Charleston church shooting today.

My heart is heavy. So incredibly heavy.

I’m almost at a loss for words. There are no words. What’s happening in this country. The hurt, the pain, the suffering. Unearthing hundreds of years of covering racial divides and wounds—deep, incredibly painful wounds—with mere band-aids.

Where is justice? Where is there reconciliation? Where is there an acknowledgement of wrong? Can we ever begin to heal these wounds? Is it possible?

Lord, have mercy.

I know I come from a place of privilege on many levels.  I know I was born into a skin color and social class that gave me privileges I didn’t earn. But my heart aches for reconciliation and peace. How can I effect change where I’m at? How will this look for my generation? A generation that is more racially blended than ever before, yet we come face to face with the same struggles we’ve had for years. How do we effect change? How do we mend generations of pain and hate? Again, is it possible?

The idea of Christianity and what it means to me has evolved since my evangelical childhood. I was taught so much about love, true selflessness and community in such a beautiful way that I wouldn’t change it for the world. The most incredibly giving, tender-hearted people I have ever had the privilege to meet came from that faith and still do. I think Christianity has the potential to truly transform people and inspire them to change the world for the better. There is amazing, tough, life-transforming work being done through the Church and I could never and would never discredit that.

But I think that’s true for religion in general. I can never walk away from religion and spirituality. It’s the reminder of something greater than yourself. A reminder about true community and it’s ability to change not only those in your circle but to empower you to change the larger community around you. It’s a beautiful thing. Let’s never get jaded with the loud naysers, the broken using religion as a weapon for hatred. Unfortunately, they’re what you hear. You don’t see the ones going about quietly doing the kingdom work, the transofrming work. The ones doing work for the sake of love and transformation.

It’s time we lift up that work and more people to commit to it. The real, tough, back-breaking, heart-wrenching work of loving people. Of loving people that are sometimes hard to love, that are yelling the loudest about hate and division.

Lord, have mercy.

I ran into this description of the above prayer that I love, and think we all need a little more of:

It situates you in freedom from any sense of your own sufficiency or superiority, and affirms a non-need to justify yourself, and thus keeps your heart open for others and for God. It is basically a prayer for detachment from the self, both mind and heart, and its endless games of self-validation.  (the rest of the article here)

The question I still have lingering over me… what can I do? What role can I play in reconciliation and healing?




June 16, 2015

I’ve been neglecting this little space of the Interwebs as of late, and I hate that. I was so inspired to keep this going even if it was just me appreciating and reading it, but alas life has gotten in the way. A lot of great and exciting things, and a sprinkle of some bad, both of which have left me a little bit distracted.

Plus, summer in North Dakota is something to savor. It’s like you get these precious few months to enjoy this luscious greeness and warm temps that lure you outside. You just can’t resist a long walk and taking moments to breathe it in.

So in the spirit of that, I thought I’d at least share a little of my North Dakota summer adventures in the back roads and woods of this lovely, too often overlooked state. Attachment 1 (2)

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