July Fourth Inspiration...

In honor of July 4th coming up in just a few weeks, I thought I'd share some super adorable AND patriotic pieces! The tops and dresses are perfect for any bbq or parade ... and if you're heading to a pool party, how cute is this red, white + blue one-piece?! I'm a real sucker for white, so when I found this maxi skirt under $100 I had to share - I love the eyelet details at the bottom! 

Which items are your favorite?! Also - any fun plans for the Fourth?

xx, Ashley 

Summer Dresses Under $100...

 

One: Tie front dress // Two: Cold shoulder gingham (super trendy!) // Three: Lilac shift dress // Four: Midi floral (perfect for a bbq or brunch!) // Five: Embroidered dress (under $50!)




One: Casual v-neck sundress (on sale, $40!) // Two: T-shirt dress (I doubled up, I know - oops!) :) // Three: Lace trim shift // Four: Classic chambray // Five: Fluttery tie dress (so cute!)


One: Front tie dress (under $30!) // Two: Cotton neck-tie dress // Three: Little black dress // Four: Midi slip dress (perfect for date night + under $50!)

I've rounded up some adorable summer dresses under $100! Perfect for bbq's, brunch, and even wedding guest dresses or shower dresses - something for everyone + some are as low as $30, plus free shipping! 

Have a great Wednesday - Thank you for stopping by!

xx, Ashley 

Palm Print...

 

My Outfit: Dress: Shein | Lace-up heels: Hinge, sold out by similar here and here // Sandals: Gap, similar here | Denim Jacket: old, similar here and here | Purse: BP (under $20!)| Sunglasses: Urban Outfitter, similar here

I love this "palm print" slip dress so much - it's the perfect look for summer! The plunging neckline gives it a sexy feel and you can dress it down with flat sandals and a hat or up with heels for date night. Tropical prints are super trendy so I wanted to share a few more of my favorites that you can shop below! Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

xx, Ashley 

Summer Wishlist...

Anyone else love (online) window shopping? I really enjoy filling up my cart at Nordstrom with all of the things I WISH I could buy ... then closing out of the site before I can do any real damage ;) It kind of kills my craving to purchase clothes! I'm just so inspired by all of the summer styles particularly stripes, embroidered pieces, gingham, and everything off the shoulder (like this classic black one-piece! or this mint green tie dress, which is under $50!)

I wanted to share what's on my "summer wishlist" right now, so you can shop my favorite pieces too! 

Shop below by clicking on any item! Have a wonderful weekend!

xx, Ashley 

 

 

What To Pack for an overnight Trip with Your Toddler...

 

Honestly, going anywhere with your toddler in tow can seem like a daunting task...but somewhere overnight? Yikes! It can be enough to deter you from wanting to go at all! Given the nature of my husband's job, he travels quite a bit and since most of our family and friends live in Maine, London and I head North as much as possible. She is a little road warrior and I've got packing her overnight bag down to a science! Here are a few tips to help make the whole process easier :)

Designate a separate bag for your kiddo.

When Lo was born I thought I would just pack her things in my suitcase with my own stuff but I quickly realized that wouldn't work. I needed to have a bag specifically for Lo, and thankfully I found Wildkin, which has the most perfect travel duffles and matching backpacks by Olive Kids! They're the perfect size for an overnight trip or weekend away - and the best part, they won't break your bank! (You can snag a matching duffle + backpack for just $60!) They even monogram and personalize them for your kiddos! The print we chose is a mermaid print because she's so obsessed with The Little Mermaid! 

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Make a list.

I'm a lady that needs a list because it keeps me on task and organized; not to mention, it keeps me from forgetting any of the "essentials." A few days before any trip, I make sure I do two things: 1. Check the weather forecast and lay out London's outfits on her floor ready to be packed and, 2. Make a list of all the things I need the remember like her video monitors, sound spa, toothbrush, inhaler, pack n' play, etc. (We use the 4Moms pack n'play and it takes under 5 seconds to open and close! So clutch!)

Actually packing.

Here's what you'll find in London's duffle...

1. Clothes/Shoes already separated into outfits

2. Pajamas with overnight diapers (plus a few extra in case of emergencies)

3. Sound Machine (This is a must! We love this one which is just $20)

4. Music/Lullaby (Another must! It's the same lullaby we have played at bedtime every night since Lo was a newborn)

5. London's "blankie" ... she sleeps with it every night!

6. Other Necessities: children's Ibuprofen/Tylenol (just in case), baby thermometer, body wash/lotion, diaper cream, regular diapers, wipes, toothpaste and toothbrush.

Here's what you'll find in her backpack...

1. A few of her favorite books

2. Snacks/water (The Olive Kids backpack has a little side holder for the water bottle/sippy cup!)

3. Some favorite "stuffies" and other small toys

4. Diaper, travel wipes, an extra onesie and pair of socks

I think the more you travel, the less intimidating it becomes! You kind of get into the habit of packing the same things, the same way -and it totally helps when your kids have their own bags so you know where everything is! London loves to experience new places, and I never wanted the overwhelming feeling of traveling or packing to take away from any memories we could be making! I hope this little guide gives you new ideas or insights into how to make it easier :)

Have a great day and thank you for stopping by!

xx, Ashley

Three Years...

 

Today marks 3 years that Chris and I have been husband and wife. It's so easy to love someone that's patient, compassionate, kind, humble, and steadfast...not to mention, easy on the eyes! I'm really proud of how much we have grown in the past three years and I feel an ever deeper love for him than I did on our wedding day (which I didn't think was possible!) Nothing makes me more excited than growing old together and getting to spend my whole life loving him. I'm so lucky!

Our photographer Patti Takacs (Kivalo Photography), who I still collaborate with 3 years later for my blog, captured our day so perfectly. I wanted to share some of my favorite photos that she took that day and a few days later in on our mini-moon :)

xx, Ashley 

Our Engagement Story + How Chris Chose My ring...

 

Chris and I will be celebrating our third wedding anniversary tomorrow! Since I started Style Grace + Lace just over a year ago, I never had a chance to share any details about our wedding, so I thought it might be fun to give you a closer look into us as a couple! I've teamed up with Boston jewelry company, E.B. Horn to bring you our engagement story and how Chris chose the perfect ring for me! 

We had been dating for about five years and were both living in Burlington, Vermont at the time. Chris was entering his third year as an assistant men's basketball coach at the University of Vermont and I was working as a nurse at the campus health clinic. It was set to be a beautiful October weekend in New England and I probably had plans for us to apple pick, visit a pumpkin patch, or do some fall related activity. Chris told me that he had a little something planned for Sunday, so to keep that day free. I didn't think much of it because it wasn't out of the ordinary for him to plan a surprise...he did ask me to pack a bag though, which got my mind wandering a bit ;) We got up early Sunday morning, grabbed coffees and hit the road to an undisclosed location! I remember we had the BEST drive; we listened to some favorite old school R&B songs and I tried to guess where we were heading (obviously). I was SO excited when we got off the highway exit in Kennebunkport...one of our favorite locations in Maine and a place that is so special to us. We are both originally from Maine, but since work had taken us out of state, we had always planned our vacation there for four straight summers. It's just heavenly and if you haven't been, you definitely need to plan a trip! 

It was early afternoon when we arrived, so we stopped for something to eat at Federal Jacks and since it was NFL season, the Patriots were playing and we got to catch the game. After lunch, Chris took me to a little inn on the ocean called The Beach House and told me that we were staying there that night. He had dinner planned but asked if I wanted to go for a drive beforehand to look at the beach houses (as we often do when we visit Kennebunkport). We had been driving for about 15 minutes when he pulled over at our favorite spot; this rocky cliff that overlooks the ocean. (The photo above is the exact spot that Chris proposed) There's a small bench there, so we sat down together to take in the view. After a few minutes, he stood up and then got down on one knee saying, "Ashley, I love everything about you...everything about you. I would be the happiest man alive if you would be my wife...Will you marry me?" I'm pretty sure I screamed...actually I'm absolutely sure I screamed and I was definitely shaking with excitement! I was so happy and surprised!

                                 Right after Chris proposed ... excuse the grainy iPhone photo! 

                                 Right after Chris proposed ... excuse the grainy iPhone photo! 

We drove to dinner where our families were waiting for us along with my best friend. We enjoyed a celebratory dinner together and then he whisked me off for "dessert" which was actually yet another surprise at David's, a restaurant in the center of town and right on the water. When we arrived, some of our closest friends were waiting for us to have another round of celebration! It was such a perfectly planned evening, filled with surprises and I just remember feeling like the luckiest girl in the world (I still do!) that he chose me to be his wife.

How Chris Chose My Ring...

Below is a photo of my beautiful ring; I love the simplicity of the overall look, but the diamonds going down the band give it some extra glam :) Chris, from what he tells me, did do a bit of research online to get a sense of what he liked or didn't like. Since we were living in Burlington, Vermont at the time, he worked with a local jeweler there. I didn't give him ANY idea of what I wanted for a ring. He did consult with my sister who tried to sneak some info out of me, but I remember my response being "whatever Chris chooses, I know I'll love it," and I genuinely meant that. I wanted to allow Chris the opportunity to enjoy the process of finding a ring that represented our story and one that he also loved. He has always had amazing taste. I love my ring first because of it's simple, yet elegant look and also because of its amazing quality. Everyone also comments on how it glistens...even when it's due for a cleaning :) Also...the only thing I wish I could change...the fact that my nails weren't painted for the big day! Oops!

In keeping with the "choosing of the perfect ring" theme, I had the opportunity to check out the selection at E.B. Horn, and it's amazing! There is truly something for everyone; so many different styles and settings. Plus, everyone that works there was super gracious when I brought London into their beautiful store with me...and she was less than well-behaved! (#momlife) Anyway, the rings were so stunning that I took photos of my five favorites to share with you all!

1. The Double Halo

I love love love this Veraggio engagement ring. It's rose gold (another favorite of mine) and the double halo gives it a really unique look while still feeling classic at the same time. Also, the band has some beautiful detailing as well!

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2. The Cushion Halo

Another one of my favorites was this cushion halo, also by Veraggio. Like the double halo above, this ring has a really "vintage" vibe, which I love. There were so many ornate details on this band!

 

3. The Solitaire

You'll never go out of style with the timeless look of a solitaire. You can let your diamond be the star of the show and choose an ornate wedding band to complement this simple, yet elegant ring!

 

4. The Pear-Shaped Diamond

Pear-shaped diamonds are not typically my favorite, but I was so drawn to this one! The center stone is gorgeous with the halo of diamonds surrounding it, but I think the band is what really caught my eye. It's yellow gold, and it's a feature that really sets this ring apart from the others; isn't it so romantic? 

 

5. The Oval Halo

The oval shape gives an innovative twist on a classic style; this ring had a shine to it like no other. The thin band gives it a feminine look and allows the center stone to stand out. Love!

Which one is your favorite?

xx, Ashley 

Father's Day Gift Guide...

 

1. Basic baseball cap || 2. Overnight duffle (Under $90!) || 3. Tom Ford cologne || 4. Dad mug (Every Dad needs a mug!) || 5. Men's Shaving Kit || 6. Minimalist watch (Under $100!) || 7. Cole Haan tennis sneaker (The best color!) || 8. Gingham non-iron dress shirt || 9. Slip on slipper || 10. Original aviator sunglasses || 11. Nike running hoodie (40% off) || 12. Patagonia sweater/jacket || 13. Slim Billfold wallet || 14. Slim fit linen shirt (Under $30!) || 15. Nike Free running shoe (My hubby has these, and LOVES them!) || 16. Crewneck jersey tee || 17. Google home activated speaker || 18. Fitness watch

Father's Day is fast approaching which has me a little nervous considering I'm a bit behind on my plans (eek!) BUT putting together this gift guide for you guys got me in the right mindset :) 

I think any of these gifts would make your husband, father, or any "dad" in your life happy! I don't think you can ever go wrong with a watch - at least with my guy you can't! The one I shared above is under $100, and I also love this one, because it's so sleek and I'm a sucker for mesh bands. The Nike Free running sneakers are only $100 and my husband can vouch for them! He loves them and thinks they're super comfortable! 

I hope you all have a great Thursday - and enjoy shopping! 

xx, Ashley 

Embroidered...

 
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My Outfit: Top: Shein (only $15!) || Jeans:     similar styles here (under $50!) and here || Sandals: Nine West, similar styles here and here || Purse: BP (currently 50% off and under $20!) || Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters ($16), similar style here 

We've been inside hiding from the rain the past two days! I'm getting so fed up with this New England weather - where is the summer sunshine?! 

Today I'm sharing a look that's cute and comfortable. I LOVE this embroidered shirt with the bell sleeves ... can you believe it's only $15? I ordered a size small for reference, and just FYI it looked massive when I took it out of the packaging, but then once I put it on - it fit perfectly! The released hem jeans are perfect with lace-up sandals or heels and I found a few reasonably-priced pairs that I linked above!

Embroidered pieces are so "in" right now, so I picked out some more favorites that you can shop below. I love this white off-shoulder dress and also, this little clutch - which is only $25 and super cute for summer! Here are a few other must-haves! Have a great Tuesday!

xx, Ashley 

Gingham...

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

I think anything gingham is just perfect this time of year. I love the summery feel it gives off and so I've gone through and chosen some of my favorite pieces for you to shop! Enjoy!

xx, Ashley 

Monthly Motherhood Update: 22 Months...

 

Favorite Food: Popsicles which London calls "possibles," watermelon, corn, salmon, haddock, and all kinds of fruit but particularly pineapple at the moment :) 

Favorite Things To Do: Go to the playground, sing, dance, EAT (she's always asking for treats!), and go to the farm (Drumlin Farm). She is kinda like her mama in the sense that she likes to stay busy! She gets a little bored just playing around the house so she is always asking to go to the playground or "go for a ride" which I think means to go somewhere in the car :) I love keeping us on the go by planning fun activities and little day trips. 

Most Aww-Worthy Moment: She sings some of the lyrics to the Hillsong United song "What A Beautiful Name" and it melts our hearts. If you haven't heard it you can listen to it here and then imagine a little girl singing it back to you...it's the sweetest :)

Most Exciting Thing She Did: She's eating exclusively with her spoon and/or fork, so that's fun! Makes meal times less messy and I think it's all part of the whole "independent toddler" thing! She likes to do everything herself nowadays!

Fun Things We Did This Month: The three of us enjoyed a Mother's Day staycation at the Colonnade in downtown Boston, which was so much fun! I did a full post on that here, so you can check it out :) We also took London to the zoo last week and she's STILL talking about it. She loves listing all of the animals she saw...her favorites being the "big ostrich" and the hippo! My sister is due with her first child in July, so my mother and I threw her a "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" baby shower! We had SO much fun planning it and then watching it all come together! I shared lots of photos from the day in a post here. We also purchased a membership to Drumlin Farm - which is just 15(ish) minutes from our house and super fun. They've got tractor rides, a huge garden with a farm stand, sheep, goats, cows, horses, chickens, pigs, and more! It's a really great place to visit or go for a picnic! It was a really busy and FULL month - as I feel all of the warmer summer(ish) months are, and I can't believe the next time I write this Lo will be 2!

Biggest Thing I've Learned: The past few weeks have been difficult as we are dealing with a death in the family. I guess the biggest thing both myself and my husband have learned this month is that children will keep you grounded and bring you back to earth! London is so young that she has no idea what is going on of course, so she's just as rambunctious as ever...which has been super helpful. She's kept us laughing and has been the most perfect distraction during a difficult time. We are even more thankful for her and the joy that she brings to our lives now more than ever!

xx, Ashley 

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star: My Sister's Baby Shower...

 

When I found out my sister Lindsey was pregnant with her first child, I was over the moon and couldn't help but begin to dream about throwing her a shower! She has always gone above and beyond for me and I wanted to do the same for her. Thankfully, the other lovely hostess, our mother, helped me bring the vision to life!

The shower took place at my sister's house and was centered around the age-old nursery rhyme "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." Since the gender of the baby has not been revealed, we decided that "twinkle twinkle little star, how we wonder what you are" would coincide perfectly! The inspiration actually came from this Olive and Star invitation that I saw on Etsy, which we then ended up using as Lindsey's shower invites! We chose to stick to cream and gold as the general color scheme. Lindsey has designed the nursery to include some mint green, so we did incorporate that color just a bit throughout. 

The flower of choice was baby's breath. To me, it always give a simple, yet elegant feel to a space and we ordered a generous amount (15 bunches) to put in mason jars all over the house. A beverage station was set-up with vintage glass dispensers where we served strawberry lemonade, plain lemonade and water infused with lemons and limes. Guests munched on cheese + crackers, vegetables, crostini bread with french onion dip, and fruit while they mingled. There were cards custom designed by Mint Arrow Designs for guests to leave their love and well wishes for Baby M. Lindsey and Derek (my brother-in-law) both thought this was a really special touch and they loved reading them at the end of the day. 

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My mother and I came up with a custom dessert menu along with the help of Maine baker, Sue Warren (Sweets by Sue) Fun fact: Sue also worked with me for London's first birthday ("Splish Splash" theme) and you can see what she created here! We wanted her beautiful desserts to be the focal point of my sister's large dining room table. The chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream frosting (mama-to-be's favorite) and custom "twinkle twinkle" topper served as the centerpiece while the other desserts (macarons, cake pops, sugar cookies, rice crispy treats, and cupcakes) were scattered around. We also bought a table easel from Michael's so we could showcase a framed print that tied in the whole theme. Each guest went home with gorgeous and yummy Lavender soy candles from The Favor Design Studio, which were a huge hit!

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Overall we had such a fantastic day! Everything came together beautifully and most importantly, Lindsey felt showered with love! I am so thankful to have worked with some incredible vendors and wanted to share their shops below, as well as more photos from the day. Take a peak :)

Floral: Whole Foods

Desserts: Sweets by Sue

Invitations: Olive and Star

Party Favors: The Favor Design Studio

Wish Cards: Mint Arrow Designs

Personalized Napkins: With Love and Ink

xx, Ashley

Memorial Day Weekend Sales, Part II...

Here is my second round up of these Memorial Day weekend sales...focusing on shoes! These are all 40% off PLUS free shipping from Nordstrom's half-year sale going on NOW! You can shop by clicking on any graphic and also below, see a complete round-up of sales from some of my favorite stores like H&M, AnthropologieTopshop and more! 

Nordstrom // Up to 40% off select styles for the half-year sale (Starts May 24th)

H&M // Up to 60% off plus free shipping (May 25-May 29)

Ann Taylor // 40% off full priced items + extra 50% off sale items PROMO: SUMMER 

Anthropologie // Extra 40% off 

Intermix // 40% off select items for limited time only!

Loft // 40% off EVERYTHING! Code: VACAY

Nordstrom Rack // Take an additional 25% off clearance

Rebecca Minkoff // Up to 60% off sale

Serena & Lily // Up to 20% off sitewide CODE: AMAZING

Topshop // Up to 40% off select styles through Memorial Day weekend

xx, Ashley

Memorial Day Sale Round-Up...

Nordstrom is having their half-year sale which means a lot of my favorite styles are 40% off! I literally want everything... I love a good deal ;) Here are 15 of the cutest tops, all under $45! You can shop by clicking the icon on each designated item! Also ... I've highlighted some of the BEST Memorial Day Weekend sales below the graphic with the promo codes needed! Happy shopping! 

Nordstrom // Up to 40% off select styles for the half-year sale (Starts May 24th)

H&M // Up to 60% off plus free shipping (May 25-May 29)

Ann Taylor // 40% off full priced items + extra 50% off sale items PROMO: SUMMER 

Anthropologie // Extra 40% off 

Intermix // 40% off select items for limited time only!

Loft // 40% off EVERYTHING! Code: VACAY

Nordstrom Rack // Take an additional 25% off clearance

Rebecca Minkoff // Up to 60% off sale

Serena & Lily // Up to 20% off sitewide CODE: AMAZING

Topshop // Up to 40% off select styles through Memorial Day weekend

xx,  Ashley

 

 

Red, White + Blue: Memorial Day Weekend Style Inspo...

 
 
 

Here are some adorable pieces to make you feel all kinds of patriotic! These are all great for summer, and did I mention they're free shipping? Some of them are 40% off right now, so take a peek at the text below each graphic to see the highlighted deals!

What does everyone have planned for Memorial Day Weekend?! We are taking our annual trip North to my parents lakehouse! They've got the party boat ready and we are excited for a relaxing weekend with family! I hope everyone has fun plans for their holiday!

xx, Ashley

Sunday Funday: Franklin Park Zoo + Nature's Neighborhood...

The weather has been beyond amazing lately and we couldn't wait for a sunny weekend so that we could take our long awaited family visit to the Franklin Park Zoo! London and I took a zoo trip last summer but this time, Chris was able to join us, so we were extra excited! FPZ is a little oasis and escape that be found right in Boston. The grounds are beautifully landscaped and the paved pathways are wide for exploration (and for strollers ;)

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...

My suggestion would be to park at the Zebra Entrance of the zoo for direct access to "Nature's Neighborhood," the newly renovated Children's Zoo! Lo is almost two years old (as opposed to 14-months during our last visit) so she was much more engaged and interactive! We had anticipated that "Nature's Neighborhood" would be a crowd pleaser, and we were right! We spent about three hours total at the zoo and I think she could have stayed right there the entire time. It is designed beautifully, allowing children to explore and discover the different ecosystems or "neighborhoods," including Grasslands, Woodlands, Wetlands, and Thicket. We saw some "neighbors" roaming around their natural habitats like red pandas, muntjacs, prairie dogs, ducks, cranes, and other birds! 

More things around "the neighborhood" that London loved...

There's a giant eagle's nest built around an oak tree providing a "birds eye" view of the zoo and kids can also take the winding slide all the way down from inside the nest (London loved it!). There is a grass maze, bamboo climber, two turtle ponds, and caves to explore or sneak a closer look at the prairie dogs as they pop up out of their holes. London also enjoyed "hopping like a bunny" through the thicket and climbing on the rock structures near the oak tree. I love how interactive Nature's Neighborhood is! It's definitely a place that kids of all ages (and adults!) can have fun while learning about some of the cutest animals at the zoo!

A few more places to hit...

Franklin Farm is located adjacent to Nature's Neighborhood and that seems to be another crowd favorite for the little ones. There are donkeys, chickens, pigs, goats, and minature horses - all sure to make your kiddos squeal with delight! Kalahari Kingdom features the lions, in all their glory! Lo has a thing with beards (since her Daddy has one) so she thought the lion had a pretty cool "beard," a.k.a mane! Gorillas, hippos, lemurs, and anteaters are just a few of the animals you'll see in the Tropical Forest exhibit...another one of London's favorites! There are five glass viewing stations just to see the gorillas! You'll see dozens of birds swooping through and hear the swooshing sound of the waterfall as you make your way through the beautiful rainforest. (Don't forget to stop for a photo with the gorilla statue located outside!) If you can make it past the 10,000 square foot playground, you'll run into the Giraffe Savannah to sneak a peek at the giraffes and zebras roaming about. 

Each time we visit the zoo, we discover something new and get to watch Lo discover new things as well. It's the perfect place to let your children explore let their imaginations run wild! We had such an amazing time and can't wait to go back!

If you're planning a trip to the zoo with kiddos, here are a few tips to make life easier...

  • As I mentioned above, there are a few parking lots, but I HIGHLY recommend parking at the "Zebra Entrance" (between Franklin Park Rd. and Blue Hill Ave.) for easy access to the Children's Zoo, Franklin Farm + the playground
  • Grab a map! Trust me on this one ... you'll reference this MANY times
  • There are multiple restroom locations (four to be exact), ALL which have changing stations
  • Bring your own snacks, drinks, and/or lunch for a picnic on-site
  • Forget something? Hit the Gift Shop for sunscreen, first aid needs, umbrellas, etc.
  • HAVE FUN! :)

*Don't forget to check your local library for discounted passes*

xx,  Ashley 

Black Tie Dress: Worn Two Ways...

 

Look Number One // Dress: Shein (only $18!) || Hat: BP || Sneakers: Nike Roshe, similar here + love these floral ones || Bag: Skip Hop Chelsea (love the backpack version too!) || Sunglasses: RayBan || Lip color: Snob by Mac

 
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Look Number Two // Dress: Shein || Heels: Target, similar here || Purse: Kate Spade, similar here (under $40) || Sunglasses: RayBan

Happy Monday!

I wanted to share this adorable black-tie dress that is SO comfortable and lightweight; perfect for the warm summer temps! I love love LOVE the off-shoulder look too...and best part? This dress is $18! You really cannot beat the price! I also love that it's a little shorter in the front than it is in the back. Perfect for if you're wearing it with heels!

I styled the dress a few ways; the first look is more casual but still looks super cute when dressed down for running errands or a playdate with the kids! I love that I can wear this with London and feel comfortable AND stylish at the same time. Here, I'm using my Skip Hop diaper bag which I LOVE for so many reasons, but mostly because it's black, chic and doesn't scream "I'm a diaper bag," which I can appreciate.

The second look is perfect for a night out! The dress is easily jazzed up with a quick shoe change, bag change (like this Kate Spade one or this lookalike version for $35!), and hair-do adjustment! I would also add a red lip to really make it pop! You can shop each look through the specific links under the photos above or through the widget below :)

Thank you for stopping by!

xx,  Ashley 

Summer Abs...

Carrying a baby during pregnancy really takes a toll on your body as a whole, but mostly on your core! It took me FOREVER to feel like I had my core strength back and it's still a work in progress. Holding a 1-minute plank is still a real challenge but I'm almost there! (45-seconds and working my way up :) I've been trying to focus on taking time a little time out of every day to work my abs, and with summer just around the corner - I have to be extra diligent ;) 

When London goes down for her nap I take 10 minutes right away to do some ab exercises. I start with a plank and end with a plank - usually the last one I try to hold as long as I can which ends up being (almost) a minute. When I feel like I'm not maintaining the proper technique any longer, I stop the time. There is a "Core" class at my gym, Healthworks that I've taken which I really love and I also think practicing yoga regularly is SO good to help maintain core strength! 

Here are some exercises that I do in addition to the planks...

- 25 Bicycles Crunches (see photo below)

- 25 butterfly crunches: sit on the floor with your legs in the "butterfly stretch" then lay back, keeping your legs in the same position. This is your starting point. Now crunch 25 times with your hands behind your head - keeping your shoulders off the floor.

- 25 Toe-touch crunch: (See photo below) Lie on your back with your legs straight up in the air (legs pointed toward the ceiling); arms straight and pulse up 25 times, trying to touch your toes.

- 25 Flutter Kicks: Lie on your back with legs extended and arms at your side or underneath your bum. Lift your legs 6(ish) inches of the floor and scissor your legs up and down. Make sure to press your lower back into the floor - you do not want it to lift off the ground.

                                                                     Bicycle Crunch

                                                                     Bicycle Crunch

                                                                  Toe-Touch Crunch

                                                                  Toe-Touch Crunch

What are some of your favorite ab exercises?! 

xx, Ashley

Spring Staycation: The Colonnade HOTEL, Boston

Last weekend, our little family decided to book a "stay-cation" in downtown Boston and stayed at The Colonnade Hotel. Even though we were there for less than 24-hours we had SUCH an amazing time and didn't want to leave! I wanted to give you guys a little recap of our stay and a review of the hotel! I'll just start by saying how friendly and hospitable everyone was! They gave us such a warm welcome and made us feel right at home. London had a great time running around the lobby, making friends with hotel staff! They really went above and beyond to make our stay perfect! 

Location, Location, Location

The Colonnade is located in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston, walking distance to many of the city's signature landmarks such as the Prudential Center (across the street), the Public Garden, Newbury Street, Fenway Park, and much more! We used to live in Bay Village, a small neighborhood nestled between Back Bay and the South End ... so this area is very familiar to us. Boston is such a walkable city so it's super fun to stroll around taking in all that it has to offer!

The Room

Our room was enormous! We had a two-bedroom suite complete with a dining area and massive bathroom! Everything was meticulously clean, which is always appreciated! The windows run floor to ceiling with an incredible view of the city so I think this was London's favorite part; she loved watching the buses and trolley's drive by from nine floors up! The beds were beyond comfortable...I slept so well until London gave me an early Mother's Day gift by waking up at 5:30am...she just must have been having too much fun, right?! :) 

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The Amenities

Three words...Roof Top Pool. The Colonnade is the only hotel in the city with an outdoor Roof Top Pool and it's pretty glorious. Two years ago, 9 months pregnant with London, my husband and I spent a day there poolside and it was amazing. It doesn't feel like you're in the middle of a bustling city when you're twelve stories up on a roof top! I definitely want to bring Lo there when it opens at the end of this month - she'd love it! There are private cabanas, daybeds and full-menu food service offered poolside all day long as well! The fitness center, 24-hour business center, and French restaurant Brasserie Jo are three more reasons why this hotel is perfect for your city stay!

                                                                                                        Photo: travelandleisure.com

                                                                                                        Photo: travelandleisure.com

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The Food

Speaking of food, Brasserie Jo is the restaurant located right inside the hotel. The menu is expansive so there's plenty to choose from and lots that even your kids would enjoy! They're very kid-friendly with highchairs, crayons for coloring and cute kids cups! We were there for Mother's Day - so they had a special buffet with food stations, a live jazz band, and "mums for Mum!" Very cute! They also brought Chris and I rose water hibiscus mimosas...and I just about died - SO YUMMY! We also loved how friendly everyone was, from the hostess to the waitstaff and even the head chef, who came to speak to us at our table. They really go above and beyond to make your stay as a whole, memorable! 

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If you're coming to Boston from near (like us!) or far, The Colonnade is the perfect place to stay while you explore everything that the city has to offer! We thoroughly enjoyed our quickie getaway, and hope to return soon so we can enjoy the pool! Highly recommend paying a visit!

Here are more photos from our overnight stay and you can shop my outfits below as well!

xx, Ashley