First Trimester Must Haves...

Hi Babes! 

Since the first trimester can be pretty unpleasant for some (raises hand) ... I have put together a list of must-haves to help get you through! Obviously crackers are a real lifesaver and I went through LOTS of saltines and peanut butter crackers. I also always try to drink a lot of water and sometimes, if that seems to get "old" I would add in peppermint tea in the mornings or evenings. Peppermint can help an upset stomach, so I found that the tea with honey was nice to sip on! Get yourself a water bottle to carry around! I always find that when I have one I drink much more than if I were to pour multiple glasses a day. 

A few more "must haves" include a nice, fluffy robe and a pair of comfy slippers. I basically lived in my bathrobe for the first 12 weeks (and kind of still do - oops!). It's so necessary because sometimes all you want to do is curl up on the couch! If you're looking for a good lotion/body butter to use on your itchy, dry pregnancy skin - Earth Mama Belly Butter is what I used when I was pregnant with Lo. It's amazing and inexpensive! The smell isn't strong - but it's such a nice consistency and I didn't get one stretch mark! Another really fun and early sign of pregnancy are sore nipples. JOY. If you're suffering from the sorest lady bits (read: nipples) on the planet, I'd definitely invest in a few cotton bralettes! I get mine from Gap and they're only $9.99 on sale right now! 

You can shop any "must haves" from the graphic below! If you're currently struggling through your first trimester - I'm right there with you! Hang in! There's relief on the horizon! :) 

Pregnancy Update: 12 Weeks...

 
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First of all...I'm SO happy that the news of baby Markwood #2 is now public! It's so difficult to keep it all in when you just want to tell anyone that will listen because you're so excited :) Also...when you're feeling like absolute crap, it's also nice for people to know so you can be yourself and act how you truly feel! We only have one more week before I enter my 2nd trimester - so I thought I would do a little pregnancy update for you all! I'll just start by saying that my first trimester this time around has gone by at record pace! With a 2.5 year old, there's no rest for the weary and she keeps me SO busy that the days seem to be flying by! 

I had a pretty smooth first trimester, relatively speaking. Starting at week 5 I was hit with crazy fatigue! I felt like SUCH a slug! I just wanted to curl up in a ball on the couch all day and let's be honest, sometimes I did! Thankfully, Lo is so good at playing on her own, always has been, so she would play with stickers, puzzles, books, etc while I would lay on the couch most afternoons. Of course, we threw in the occasional Disney movie which was a real lifesaver. (Disney - bless your heart). The fatigue was pretty intense until around week 10! I mean, I'm still more tired than usual BUT happy to say that I have much more energy than I did during those first few weeks. Thank God!

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The nausea, sadly, is still present. Again, not as intense as it was weeks 5-9, but it's still lingering! I'm SO ready for it to be completely gone. I'm definitely counting my blessings that I never actually threw up, which I do know a lot of women deal with and I can't imagine! With London, I felt like all I could eat were english muffins, peanut butter and ginger ale but the nausea was completely gone by week 10; with baby #2, I can stomach a lot more but I just feel like I need to eat every hour! The time between eating there's this weird underlying nausea. It's so bizarre but that's the best way I can explain it!

Let's talk about cravings. I want ALL the greasy food. I'm telling you, this pregnancy is already SO different than London's, because I didn't really have many cravings with her. This time around, I literally want to eat burgers, fries, chicken nuggets, and drink milk shakes all the time. The struggle is real! I am thankfully also craving fruit like oranges and pineapple. I'll be at the grocery store walking through the produce section and just HAVE to open the cut-up fruit right then and there. It's so funny, but cravings are definitely REAL! 

I'll be doing more "bump" updates as we go! I am so excited to share this pregnancy with you all considering my blog wasn't even in existence when pregnant with Lolo! Thank you for all of the kind messages and notes of congratulations - we are so overwhelmed by all the love and support! We appreciate it so much! 

xoxo,

Ashley 

Winter Brights...

Winter in New England has been pretty brutal thus far and we aren't even half way through January! It's been SO cold (like, below zero cold) that I haven't felt like wearing anything other than sweats or leggings with long, comfy sweaters! Being 11 weeks pregnant doesn't help either! I have been trying to think ahead to all of the traveling for us coming up, and that is getting me excited...especially for warmer temps! 

I've decided to do a post with some POPS of color to give us (read: me) some life!! I gravitate toward black and neutrals in the winter but I think adding a bright item such as an accessory to your outfit is super cute too! 

Thanks for stopping by! 

xx, Ashley 

Hair Care...

 
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I've been wanting to do a post on all the hair products that I use (when I actually do my hair), so today is the day! There's nothing I love more than fresh hair and when I take the time to do it, I'm always so happy! It instantly makes me feel better! Not only does it make me feel better, but with the products I use, I can make a wash/style last a good 5 days :) The best part is, none of the products I use are super pricey and I've had the SAME CHI curling iron since 2009. I LOVE IT. It's the very first curling iron I ever owned and the one I learned to curl my hair on! (I linked the one that I have, except it's updated because mine is 8 years old!) 

Here are the products that I use:

Shampoo: Theorie Grapefruit Revitalizing Shampoo; Leaves my hair feeling clean and it gets sudsy, which I love! I say that because I've used shampoo's before that never suds up! FYI, I usually shampoo twice before I condition, since my hair is usually pretty dirty :) 

Conditioner: Theorie Purple Sage Brightening Conditioner; I only put this on my ends and a VERY little on the root (because my hair can get greasy). 

Volume/Root Lift: Bed Head Superstar Queen For The Day; Another fave product that I've been using for almost 10 years! I spray this on the roots and then a little bit all over. I notice a MAJOR difference after I blow dry with and without this. It gives my hair such a great lift and good volume!

Smoothing: Bed Head After-Party; I'm addicted to the way this smells! Also, I stick to putting this mid-hair shaft and down... not on the root! It seals the ends of my hair and I love it!

Then...for the real MVP...

DRY SHAMPOO!!!!!

This deserves it's own paragraph! BATISTE is the best dry shampoo I've ever used, hands down and guess what - it's the least expensive! (Like, $5.99 at T.J. Maxx). I have put so many of my friends onto this product and it's the one that I use the most on almost a daily basis because #momlife! It's weightless, gives you GREAT volume and soaks up all of that yummy grease! Highly, HIGHLY recommend that you buy this, if nothing else, and give it a try! 

Have a great Wednesday!

xx, Ashley 

Markwood, Party Of Four...

 
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SURPRISE!!! 

Today, I am so excited to share some amazing news! We are growing our family this July, and we couldn't be more thrilled! We had been trying for about 6 months before I took a test and it was POSITIVE! Best feeling ever! The fact that it took us a little longer to get pregnant with baby #2 than it did with London is a blessing. God's timing is perfect, and with a July 30th due date, we will bypass the craziness of my husband's busiest month (July). We are so thankful and blessed to be completing our little family! 

I'll be honest, it took me awhile to feel like I was truly ready to begin trying for baby #2. London and I have such a great thing going and are in such a groove together at home, that I wasn't sure I wanted to mess with that! I think what I really struggling with was fear. Fear of the unknown, worried about Lo feeling some type of way, etc. I just kept feeling God pull at my heart and tell me that we were meant to have another baby. I felt him preparing me slowly...and sure enough, just before Lo turned two, I felt ready! Seeing Lo with Shia (her cousin) has only further solidified our excitement. She is going to be the sweetest big sister in the world. I can't wait to watch their little love story unfold. 

We are so over the moon and excited to share this journey with you. Stay tuned for "bump" updates and more coming soon! 

xx, Ashley 

All of these amazing photos were taken by our dear friend, Patti Takacs with Kivalo Photography

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Best Of The Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale...

Happy Wednesday! This is my first post since last week! I kind of took the week(ish) off for Christmas and spending quality time with family. It was much needed...but now I'm back and sharing some amazing sales happening through the New Year!

Nordstrom has major markdowns, up to 50% off right now and it goes through January 2nd! Below are some of my favorites! 

xx, Ashley 

NYE Dresses...

I can't believe Christmas is just 3 days away! It's so exciting! We are frantically trying to wrap everything up ... because there are ALWAYS last minute things to do, not to mention, we are having a holiday party on Christmas Eve! Ahh!! 

With that said, I'm already starting to look at fun cocktail / party dresses that would be perfect for any NYE event or outing! No one loves a sparkly party dress more than me (and my inner pageant girl!) NYE is all about the sparkles, sequins and this year...VELVET! See some of my favorite dresses below! Happy shopping! 

xx, Ashley 

Last Minute Gifts For Her...

With Christmas just a week away, I'm sure everyone is finishing up their lists...but for those of us who are last minute (raises hand) - hope is not lost! Nordstrom offers free shipping and you can still get everything by Christmas Eve if you order by the 20th! I've put together a list of last minutes that your lady will love! Happy shopping!

Thanks for stopping by! 

xx, Ashley 

Gifts For Your Gal Pal Under $25...

Need a gift idea for your co-worker, mommy friend, nanny, or your child's teacher? Here are some cute ways to show you care without breaking the bank because let's be honest, we already have 75,000 family members to buy for and adding one more seems like a lot! I have some pretty amazing ladies in my life that I would love to buy for - even if it is something small! It's the thought that counts and tis the season for giving :) 

Here are a few ideas under $25!

Happy Holiday season! Thanks for stopping by :) 

xx, Ashley 

Gifts For Her Under $100...

Happy Monday! 

I hope you all had a great weekend! Today I'm sharing more gifts for the lady in your life ... but they're all under $100! I tried to add a variety of things so you'd have some good choices! I hope you like :) 

This week, I'm finishing up my own Christmas shopping and working on a "wish list" for myself that I'll be sharing later ... either this week or next! Have a great week everyone!

xx,

Ashley 

Cold Weather Accessories...

Happy Monday! 

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! We FINALLY decorated our tree yesterday after waiting a week! Lo had so much fun putting the ornaments on, but the highlight was when she got to add the star on top. She absolutely LOVED it :) We are fully into December now and only 21 days until Christmas! Ahhh! It's such an exciting (and COLD) time of year! Today I'm sharing cold-weather gift ideas like hats, scarves, mittens, etc.! I need to step up my scarf game...so I had fun putting this together and adding a few to my own wish list! I love this plaid reversible scarf by BP and it's only $26! I also love this one, under $25 which would look really cute with any tan, beige or brown jacket/coat or vest!

Here are more ideas for you to snag a gift for yourself or someone you love :) Enjoy! 

xx, Ashley 

Gifts For The Traveler...

Is there someone in your life (could be you!) that LOVES to travel, book staycations or fab vacations?! This post is for those with a traveling heart! I loved rounding up things for this collage - it got me excited for a few trips we have planned this Spring! A gift that could be really fun for someone who likes to travel is this life planner by Erin Condren! She also sells things like the "on the Go! travel checklist" and luggage identification tags! There's something for everyone there so I thought it was worth mentioning! 

I wanted to highlight a few things in the graphic below! This camera is currently on major sale and under $100! I really LOVE this duffle by Sole Society! We actually got a bag similar to this one for London and it's so great for 2-3 day trips or as an overnight bag! I also thought these Ugg fleece lined socks ($40) were pretty perfect for sticking in your carry on! If you're planning to book a long flight - you can get comfy in these, and of course - don't forget an eye mask! This one is adorable! There's more below! Enjoy :) 

xx, Ashley 

Cyber Monday Picks...

Here are a few of my favorite items from today's sales! Nordstrom is marking 20% off sale items, Gap/Banana Republic/Old Navy are all 50% off, Express is 50% off and J.Crew is taking 40% off with the code: SHOPFAST! 

You can shop any of my picks below by clicking directly on the item! Happy shopping and HURRY because things are selling out! 

xx, Ashley 

CYBER WEEK SALES...LET'S GO!

The week when ALL THE SALES happen is here! It's a little (ok, A LOT) overwhelming ... but don't worry - we GOT this! I'm going to round up all of the sales in ONE place so you can be on the lookout for the best deals! I recommend making a list of your "must haves" and checking those out first! I'll be posting some of my favorite items on sale all week on Instagram stories, so follow me and stay up to date! Also...check back here where I'll be updating my page as more sales pop up! 

If you need some inspiration, check out my holiday gift guides: for her, for him, winter coats + jackets, all things cozy, stocking stuffers for her, holiday dresses under $100, and more under my "Holiday Shopping" tab! 

Nordstrom: Markdowns on selected items AND they will price match! If you find something on sale elsewhere, ask them to match the price! (I love shopping here because FREE SHIPPING!)

Express: 50% off everything plus free shipping!

Madewell: 25% off your purchase with code: DONTSTRESS

Asos: 30% off everything with code: EPIC30

Urban Outfitters: Black Friday Preview (11/22), up to 40% off

H&M: 20% off everything, including sales items

J.Crew: 40% off with the code: THANKU

BaubleBar: 30% off with code YAY30

Target:  Multiple discounts on home goods, clothing and decor!

Ann Taylor: 50% off everything with code: THANKFUL (11/22-11/24)

Nike

Sephora: Up to 50% off!

Free People:

Kate Spade: 30 % off everything with code: GIVEJOY

Ugg: Up to 30% off

Vince Camuto: 40% off with the code: EARLY40

Sam Edelman: 30% off site wide with code: SAMSGIVING

The North Face: Up to 25% off

Pottery Barn: 30% off decorating items! Jazz up your home for the holidays!

Wayfair: Up to 80% off! That's INSANELY amazing! I wish I had a new home to decorate ;) 

Anthropologie: Extra 25% off new styles

Dolce Vita: Up to 60% off + an additional 25% off sale items with code: BLKFRI20

Steve Madden: Buy one, get one 70% with code: MERRY

 

xx,  Ashley

Holiday Dresses Under $100...

 

'Tis the season for holiday gatherings! Personally, the parties I go to usually start at 3pm and I'm wearing casual clothes...BUT I know a lot of you are way cooler than me so I'm sharing holiday dresses perfect for a night out, work Christmas party, family Christmas party, etc! Nordstrom is usually my go-to but Express has a lot of great dresses right now too, and on major sale! These are all under $100...but you may want to wait a few days to see if Black Friday gives you an even better discount! 

At least you can put some on your "wish list" to check out when the sales hit! Enjoy and happy shopping :)

 
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6. Cutout choker sweater dress (under $50!) // 7. Red wrap detail // 8. Sequin t-shirt dress (perfect holiday party dress!) // 9. Ruffle trim velvet (how great is this color?!) // 10. Knotted strapless (This is my personal fave!)

 

xx, Ashley 

Spreading The Love with Cuties + DIY Recipe For Kids...

 
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After getting hit with Daylight Savings Time a few weeks ago and dealing with a 4:30pm sunset...it's been a month of transitions for all of us! I tend to dread this stretch of time when it's dark early and so cold in New England we can see our breath...BUT this year, I'm looking forward to planning more indoor projects and getting creative with my little one! One thing we love to do together is bake/cook! It's fun for me to come up with tasty and healthy snack ideas...then watch her enjoy them! When thinking of two things that London loves...fruit + chocolate came to mind. I mean, you gotta have balance, right?! :) She LOVES citrus-y (is that a word?!) things...so when I saw that CUTIES were back in stores I couldn't help myself and bought a 5-lb box! We will DEFINITELY be eating madarins for days, but maybe it'll bring a little sunshine to the chilly days ahead! Either way, we are excited! 

Combining Cuties + chocolate just seemed like the BEST IDEA EVER so that's what we did...we made "chocolate covered Cuties" and Lo absolutely LOVED it! Because Cuties are small and easy to peel, she was able to help me make them too which was part of the fun! (You can find the recipe below!)

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Also, side note, they're a great "on the go" snack to grab as you're heading out the door! I like to keep one in my backpack at all times, in case Lo gets hungry and needs something quick! I mean, Moms love that they're healthy + portable...and I think the kids love that they taste sweet! Win for all :) While we're on the topic of food...It's been difficult to get Lo to sit long enough to enjoy a full meal. She loves to snack and "pick" but I really want to keep the habit of having breakfast, lunch and dinner together at the table because it's such a special time! I've started to think "outside the box" and come up with different ways to make meals FUN! The other day, I made her a special "lion" pancake using our Cuties - and her face lit up when she saw it! It's super easy to make and a creative way to start the day! She loved it!

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Easy, sharable snack that all kids love...

I'm always scheduling playdates for London with her little buddies...and there's always some sort of sharing of food that goes on. It's pretty heartwarming to watch them interact and see how they're learning about the power of giving. Cuties are such an easy, sharable snack and certainly one that Lo considers "fun" to share with her friend Zach! How adorable are these two? They totally loved having a snack together and Lo even peeled it for Z! So sweet! Grab some Cuties for your "cutie" at a location near you

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Here's what you'll need for the fun Chocolate Cuties snack...

- 6 Cuties peeled and segmented

- Melted chocolate (You can literally melt chocolate chips or a candy bar in the microwave)

- Sea salt to sprinkle (optional)

- Parchment paper

Directions: Dip half of the clementine in the melted chocolate then place on the parchment paper. Continue and line all side by side. Place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes then serve!

 

xx, Ashley

 

This post is sponsored by Cuties. As always, all thoughts, opinions are my own. 

Holiday Gift Guide: For Her...

xx, Ashley 

'Tis The Season: Holiday Gifting With Rue La La...

 
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My favorite time of year is HERE! Ahh!! Nothing gets me more excited than making my holiday shopping list and treating myself to a few goodies as well! I start jotting down gift ideas pretty early (like, September early)! As soon as I think of something I add it to the "notes" section on my phone so I don't forget. I also love to pick up little things leading up to December like candles, coffee mugs, hand cream, and other little stocking stuffers, so I'm not doing it all at once or at the last minute!

I'm shopping for SO many different people this year: my husband, London (our 2 year-old daughter), my parents, nieces/nephew, in-laws etc., so finding a one-stop-shop for EVERYTHING I need is key to my holiday shopping experience. Because trust me, It's an EXPERIENCE (but I love every second of it!) With so many people to shop for, not to mention a variety of ages and personalities to consider ... I'm always creating a holiday shopping wish list through Rue La La. I've been a member for years now and they have amazing deals, but during the holiday season you can find gifts for her, him, and for your home at up to 70% off! The brands featured on their site are some of the most-desired brands out there ... which makes me even more excited to shop for my loved ones and to also treat myself to something sparkly :) 

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Ok, so THIS YEAR...I'm super excited because Rue La La has holiday-themed boutiques popping up all season, but the first is all about PERSONALITIES! How cute is that?! You can literally curate your shopping bag to match each person on your list! Is your husband into dressing to impress? Shop gifts for the "Dapper Dude", complete with perfectly tailored suits, designer watches, dress shirts, sweaters and more! Is there a fashionista in your family (maybe it's you?!) "Fashion Fanatic" has handpicked presents perfect for a woman who likes to make a statement! This adorable A-line dress is perfect for the holidays and one of my favorites on the list! And don't worry if you're looking for something outside of the fashion categories..home decor, gifts for kids and even your pets are included as well; you can shop it all in one place! 

   You can shop the gloves here! Both of these gifts are part of "Gifts by Personality" boutique!

   You can shop the gloves here! Both of these gifts are part of "Gifts by Personality" boutique!

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I wanted to share a few more of the "personality" categories...with my favorite items from each...because they are just too good! 

Gifts For The...

Luxe Loyalist

              Ponchos are my favorite! Love this one!

              Ponchos are my favorite! Love this one!

                                  The perfect bangle!

                                  The perfect bangle!

           Treat yourself to these gorgeous leather loafers!

           Treat yourself to these gorgeous leather loafers!


Fashion Fanatic

                      Cashmere holiday sweater!

                      Cashmere holiday sweater!

              Gorgeous rose gold and under $200! 

              Gorgeous rose gold and under $200! 

                I have these leather gloves; they're amazing! 

                I have these leather gloves; they're amazing! 


Active Enthusiast

              Built in sports bra! Love the color too!

              Built in sports bra! Love the color too!

                  Running shoes make a great holiday gift!

                  Running shoes make a great holiday gift!

                                  High-rise leggings!

                                  High-rise leggings!


Home

                             Love the hammered design!

                             Love the hammered design!

                        Candles are always a great idea!

                        Candles are always a great idea!

                        The most adorable cheese knives!

                        The most adorable cheese knives!


You can check out Rue La La's holiday gifts all season long by shopping here .... All you need to do to become a member is provide an email address and password to take advantage of their amazing deals. I'm so excited to kick off my favorite time of the year with them + find some incredible gifts! 

Thank you for stopping by! Have an amazing day!

xx, Ashley

 

 

This post is sponsored by Rue La La. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Holiday Gift Guide: Winter Coats + Jackets...

I'm totally in the market for a new jacket this year! I'd love a super long one like the Cole Haan quilted coat because I like to get outside with London year round, even in the FREEZING COLD snow. I also think I want to invest in a dressier faux fur jacket for the holidays! I love this Vince Camuto coat because the color is AMAZING , but I also like this tan colored jacket by Kenneth Cole on sale for under $100! There are so many coats and jackets on sale right now and since they make for a PERFECT holiday gift...I thought I'd share some favorites from motos to parkas and peacoats...there's something for everyone! 

Make sure you check out my other gift guide, "For Your Guy" and "Comfy Cozy!"

Thank you for stopping by! 

xx, Ashley 

Holiday Gift Guide: Comfy Cozies...

Happy Monday! 

Today I'm sharing all of the comfy cozy gifts you need for the pajama lovers in your life! I LOVE pajama sets...and I especially love HOLIDAY ones :) It's hard for me to not buy every single one! I am sharing robes and slippers also! One of most popular items from last holiday season was this nightshirt from Nordstrom ... and it's currently on sale! I just got it in the mail and the material is SO soft and comfortable! I forgot to add it to my collage below...so I wanted to mention it here :) 

You can shop other "gifts for her" under the Holiday Shopping tab above! Also, keep your eyes open for my next gift guide coming later this week: Winter Coats + Jackets! Happy shopping! 

xx, Ashley