Life: My plea for comments

12/30/2009 02:18:00 PM Ashley 3 Comments

Yes I am desperate. I want to know what y'all think about my blog and my posts. In hopes of getting what I shall call "feedback" from you wonderful readers, I am going to do some giveaways of my favorite things.

I still haven't quite figured out all of the things; but there will be nail polish, something from Origins, eyeshadow and some other goodies. Mostly products that I have had on here.

I'm excited for this and I hope y'all are too!


Beauty: Sally Hansen HD (Opulent Cloud)

12/29/2009 10:52:00 PM Ashley 0 Comments

I ran to Walgreen's for something and ended up leaving with two nail polishes. They get me every time with those special displays.

One of the polishes I picked up was a Limited Edition from Sally Hansen's HD line. Of the four colors from this line, Opulent Cloud is what I went for. It was the most unusual color of the four. It has a wonderfully taupe-y gray color with a flash of purple, depending on what light you are in. It went on easily with two coats and dried to the touch pretty quickly.


Without the flash.

With the flash.

This is definitely a color I would recommend going out to get. It's limited edition now, but I hope it's one that they will pull into their normal rotation.


Crafts: Pearls, flowers and ribbons (everything girlie)

12/29/2009 11:19:00 AM Ashley 1 Comments

Once upon a time when I was little I would rummage through my mom's jewelry. I always skipped over the pearls; because to a tomboy with an eye for shiny things, pearls were just rocks. That changed over the years. Now when I see pearls, I swoon. They, of course, are the epitome of class. Though I also feel that they have a wonder freshness to them that can brighten any outfit.

Recently I have been in love with the idea of mixing pearls with other materials, say for instance satin and silk. Talk about over the top girlie.

Love the idea of taking your basic white pearls and adding a pop of color or two. Also I can't even begin to tell you how much I love necklaces that you tie on with ribbon. I envision wearing this with a wonderful full skirt and a tank top.

I simply adore this necklace. Everything about it makes me happy. The silver color and the fun top drilled rice shaped pearls in layers. Wonderful. Then there's the back. Oh the back. With that wonderfully large silk flower that sits at the nape of your neck. Hello strapless cocktail dress with an updo.

What do you think about these styles of necklaces? Do you love or could you do without? Let me know!

{All necklaces were made by me}


Fashion: Monday Shoes

12/28/2009 09:00:00 AM Ashley 1 Comments

With Christmas come and gone, it can only mean that the New Year is right around the corner! This is a night/day that I really put some thought into my shoes. I will actually pick a shoe and plan my outfit around it (I've done it before). This year if we go anywhere I already have a shoe in mind. It's a good go to shoe for me; with a pretty color, texture and a lot of shine. 'Cause lets face it, you need the shine for a holiday like this.




Designer: Cesare Paciotti
Name: N/A
Color: Peach
Material: Satin, leather and rhinestones
Heel: 3 1/2 inches

~ This shoe is no longer available online.

I know a lot of my shoes have been very glam, but don't you worry I'm going to kick 2010 off with the more basic shoes in my collection!


Decor: Flatware upgrade

12/27/2009 08:30:00 AM Ashley 0 Comments

Flatware was never taken lightly in my house when I was growing up. When my mom decided it was time to update her's after 20 some years of use, it wasn't a joke. We spent countless hours in the kitchen/china departments of stores. Where we would balance the flatware on our fingers to find the center of gravity. Hold two different styles in each hand too feel weight and which just felt "right". Then, there was the test to see how it sat on the edge of the plate. That was probably the most important test to my mom.

Fast forward to now. I'm standing in TJ Maxx, having just found what I think is awesome flatware (even better then the style I just recently bought because we needed it). Only I can't hold it and mess with it and frankly it's killing me. Apparently my mom has passed on her quirky OCD. Don't you worry, as soon as I got home with the boxes of flatware, I opened one an ran it through the tests. They passed. After a few months of waiting to be cleaned and put into use (we forget to do things sometimes). They are freshly washed and now being used in our home!

Balance from Gourmet Settings

We also were able to pick up some serving pieces, though sadly they didn't make them in the Balance style.

Cabaret Serving Set from Gourmet Settings


Recipe: Beer Bread

12/26/2009 08:00:00 AM Ashley 0 Comments

I am Ashley's wonderful husband, Nate, and I am honored to write a guest post on her blog. Since I'm the baker of the family (she's the cook) I thought it might be fun to write a regular feature on her blog. It might end up changing, but I thought a recipe every Saturday might be fun.

I've gotten very accustomed to using a kitchen scale in my baking endeavors, so I will always use mass measurements in the recipe for the main ingredients. For those of you without a kitchen scale, I will also include the volume measurements that they are based on, but note that because I use mass I may have tweaked the recipe slightly from the volume-based recipe. It's easy to do that when you can deal with 2 gram increments.

Today's recipe: Beer Bread

I learned about beer bread from my older brother (if my memory serves me correctly) and have always loved the flavor of it. It's also as easy a bread recipe as you'll ever make that doesn't require a bread maker.

Here's the required list of materials:
  • 350 grams (3 cups) all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 12 oz. can or bottle of beer*
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
  • 1 bread loaf pan, greased
  • 1 oven
(Note: Though I haven't tried it, you can apparently omit the baking powder and salt if you use self-rising flour instead of all-purpose flour.)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Mix together all ingredients (except butter)
  3. Pour the bread dough into the greased bread loaf pan
  4. Pour the melted butter over the dough
  5. Bake for 1 hour!
For best results, let the bread sit for about 15 minutes after you pull it out of the oven. When you pull it out, there will likely still be boiling, liquid butter at the bottom of the bread pan, but it will get absorbed into the bread slowly. That's what you get by waiting those 15 minutes - your bread will be even more buttery.

I originally found this recipe here.

*Final Note: I've discovered that lighter, lower-end beers actually make for better beer bread. You can try using darker or higher-end beers, but you'll find that the bread will start to taste less like bread and more like the beer - which is not a good thing in this case. For this particular beer bread, I used Blue Moon's summer Ale, called Honey Moon. We originally bought it because I typically like Blue Moon, but this one just didn't taste very good to me. Luckily, it still proved useful in my beer bread!


Life: The Loot

12/26/2009 07:30:00 AM Ashley 1 Comments

Hope everyone had a good Christmas and is recovering from all of the family and food!

As much as the holidays are about spending time with the one(s) you love it's also about gift giving.

I got a wonderful candle from my Elfster, C, this year. I am in love with it. In fact I may have to pester her for where she got it, because this candle is going to get used up quickly. It has a great woodsy smell, which I adore as a scent, as well as a fresh citrus note. Lets just say it quickly got lit and has been used quite a bit since then! Thank you!


This year Nate and I stuck to a small budget. We didn't really need or want anything, but still wanted to give each other something. He did very well this year!

The Miraculous push-up bra from Victoria's Secret is just simply an amazing bra. If you want/need to go up two extra cup sizes this is your bra! No I didn't really need this bra, but come on, it's too much fun to pass up! Nate got me the more subtle nude color, so I can wear it with more!

What can I say, I'm a sucker for shimmery and shiny things, especially on my bras! I wanted this Secret Embrace, fromVictoria's Secret bra from the moment I saw it. Not only did Nate get it for me, but he also got me the matching underwear! He must love me or something.

This is the most amazing tool of all time! I found this little beauty a few years back and I always loved it. I have no way to use it for what it's meant for, but dang it I wanted the Stanley FatMax Xtreme FuBar Utility Bar. If for nothing else but keeping it next to my bed for safety. Nate must really love me and trusts me not to come after him with this thing!

Hahaha yeah, so...ummm where to even start with this. The LeapFrog Alphabet Pal was this normal everyday toy that has a few functions. It teaches you colors (all four of them), sings songs, sings the alphabet and teaches you each letter's phonetic sound. The phonetic part is what sold me, because one day some friends and I sat playing with this thing and noticed it would oddly giggle if you pressed certain letters together. After some thought we realized that it was not letting you spell out certain words. Cuss words to be exact. Lets just say this lead to well over two hours of us trying to figure out naughty words to make it spell. In the end it was quite interesting to see what this toy company things are okay words and bad words. Thanks to Nate, this entertainment is back in my life!

I have a love of all things makeup. I like playing with different colors and seeing what I can come up with. So the Sephora Ultimate Blockbuster pallet was just a great gift from Nate! With everything that's in it, I may never come out of the bathroom again!


LIfe: Merry Grinchmas

12/25/2009 08:30:00 AM Ashley 1 Comments

For everyone that wasn't quite feeling the holiday spirit this year (I know I sure wasn't feeling it at all).

Merry Grinchmas to one and all! Even if your heart didn't grow 3 sizes today.


Life: Merry Christmas Eve

12/24/2009 05:18:00 PM Ashley 0 Comments

See where Santa is right now! Don't forget to leave out the milk and cookies, even a carrot or two for the deer!

Sleep tight and I hope Santa brings you everything you wanted!


Fashion: Pants haul

12/23/2009 11:58:00 AM Ashley 1 Comments

Lets face it, for some reason it is hard to find a good fitting pair of pants and jeans. I miss the days of me being able to just fit into anything, but those days have come and gone. Now I fight with every pair of pants I try on. There was a good portion of time that I quit trying on pants and jeans because it was just depressing. Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I needed pants, because nothing fit. I slunked my way into Gap, not expecting much. We've had a love hate relationship for years. Not only did I find jeans that fit me I found two different pairs of pants that made me feel less fat. W00t!

Curvy Jeans

I'm trying not to be too bitter over the fact that they only offer two washes in this style, while they offer 4+ in all of the other styles. One day these damn companies will realize that there are a lot of curvy women out there and that we deserve more options. Also...the model is sooooo not curvy!

Sailor Trousers

I am in love with these pants. They are soft and they cup the butt in all the right places. I decided to hold off on these till they went on sale, and now they are! These are going to be added to my closet as a great go to over denim.

Pintucked Trousers

I bought these for the holiday parties I was going to. They have a wider leg to them, which means it helps make lager thighs look smaller! Always a plus. It's also a nice lightweight wool blend, so they can be carried over the seasons.

(Link to item through photo)


Life: Bath time!

12/22/2009 08:44:00 PM Ashley 1 Comments

Tonight was bath night for Emmett and while he tolerates it, he does everything in his power to make us feel badly for doing such a thing to him. First he gets out and ignores us, then he runs around the house like someone lit his tail on fire and then he shivers. It's that whole body, to the bone, shiver. Without fail we put him on the sofa and bundle blankets on top of him. I think he likes it.

Tonight he has his puppy robe, two blankets and Nate's sweatshirt covering him.


Decor: Drapes up and hanging

12/22/2009 01:04:00 PM Ashley 0 Comments

Nate was kind enough to offer to put up our new drapes and rod! I guess it's more like the rod and then the drapes, but work with me. It's wonderful to have nice coverage for the windows. Until tonight we had a temporary "fix" which consisted of drapes that were too short that we hung up with those 3M removable hooks (I refuse to post pictures of this, not that I have any).

Nate being awesome and installing the rod (don't mind the Ed Hardy shirt, once upon a time they use to be "cool")

The drapes up and ready to go! With an added bonus of Emmett's green ball!

The glass finial (needs some cleaning).

This is the teal wall we have that was painted by the owner of the house (we rent).

All I need to do now is steam them and buy a 4th panel (it made sense to us at the time).


Fashion: Monday Shoes

12/21/2009 09:30:00 AM Ashley 0 Comments

I wanted to share a sparkly shoe for my Monday shoes, seeing as it's the Monday before Christmas.

These shoes were just a "must have" for my shoe collection. I love silver, I love shiny and I love sequins. This shoe has all of those things. Lets just say I was a very good girl and didn't buy this shoe in the many other colors it came in (purple and red). It may have helped that they were sold out.

When I had to put my festive casual outfit together for Nate's work party, these were the shoes I went for. Those shoes alone should have won me best dressed. Oh well.





Designer: Report Signature
Name: Celine
Color: Silver and Black
Material: Sequins
Heel: 3 1/2 inches

~You can still find this shoe if you really search, but there's not a lot left. Good Luck on your search!


Decor: Window treatments

12/20/2009 08:12:00 PM Ashley 1 Comments

I've never been a big fan of heavy window treatments. I'm usually happy with blinds, they are simple and do their job. Maybe I'll like them more once I'm in my forever home and I don't have to take them down ever 3-4 years.

Our current house has blinds on all the windows except our sliding glass door, of course. We've been fine with them being open until recently, mostly because people can see into our house from the sidewalk. Yeah, a little creepy.

I set off to find a drape that was nice and basic, but not cheap looking. Do you have any idea how hard that is? I have been on this search for 3+ months and nothing. I have found a lot of "almosts" and "it would work if were any other house but this one".

Finally today we found drapes that not only work, but match the teal color on one of our walls (we did not choose the teal). We also were able to pick out our drape rods, which I had already chosen. Funny how the rod was the easy part.

I like the brown, because it matches all of the other browns, tans, taupes and creams we have in the living room. As I said, the teal matches the teal on some of the walls.

While I love these from West Elm, we were able to get almost identical ones from Pottery Barn for the same price. The glass on ours is a little bit longer.

It'll be nice to finally get these up. That way we can have peaceful dinners without people watching us.

(Link to item in photo)


LIfe: Quick update

12/18/2009 08:55:00 AM Ashley 0 Comments

I've been a little MIA on here. I know 4 days isn't exactly a long time, but it feels that way to me. I've been working on some new ideas for wreaths as well as some other things. I'll get to posting them when I finish them.

Till then I will leave you with this, the beautiful work of Dale Chihuly (one of my all time favorite artists). Which you can see at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center.