White Capped Waves & White Ruffle Shorts

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Happy Spring!

If you missed my first post about my Spring Break trip to Florida, you can check it out here!

Day two brought even more sunshine and warm weather. On the first day, my mom and I quickly realized that the waves were pretty sneaky after they managed to catch us both by surprise. Today wasn’t any different. About halfway into our shoot a big wave came up and soaked us both. I decided to just give in at that point and proceeded to have a blast in the sand. My mom and I also had a blast trying to get all the sand out of my new eyelet shorts…(don’t worry they survived).

Day one also left us a little too sun-kissed so we did our best to hang in the shade a little more. After hitting the beach for the little, and taking our usual stroll, we stopped by the pool where we were staying. It was mostly empty which was really nice too – I felt like I was queen of the pool having it all to myself.

When I saw these white eyelet, ruffle shorts at Forever 21, I wasn’t sure if I would like them. I loved the details and the material, but I am usually not crazy about the skort style. When I tried them on though, I loved how they fit! They were a tad see-through so I will have to make sure to wear nude under. As a cover up though, they were great, and I really like how they looked with my simple white bikini top. The look reminds me of one of my favorite pictures of Grace Kelly (who is one of my favorite people ever).

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I mean just look at her! She is such an icon and so beautiful. Anyway…more about my sunny trip to come so stay tuned!

Outfit Details: Bikini: Target (Similar here) | Shorts: Forever 21  | Hat: old (similar here)

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Spring Break & Sunshine

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Hi Guys,

Sorry it’s been a minute since I’ve written anything! I am still working on figuring out a cohesive schedule for balancing school, work, friends, and blogging…sometimes I’m great at it, others…not so much.

I had to come on now through to share my spring break adventures with all of you! When I was deciding what to do for my final spring break I was torn between two very different kinds of trips. All my friends were planning a trip to Mexico with a large part of our class and would be staying at an all-inclusive resort. I knew hanging out with my friends would be a blast, but I can be a little more reserved in large social settings and was a bit weary about what this trip would entail.

I ultimately decided that I was looking for something a little more relaxed and that’s just what I got! My mom and I booked a trip to sunny southern Florida and beyond that the plan was strictly limited to relaxing and doing whatever we felt like. I am so happy I chose to go away with my mom because she honestly is one of the coolest women I know.  Plus, since I’m away at college (even though I am fairly close to home), I don’t get to spend as much time with her as I’d like too.

Each day of our trip, my mom and I would wake up and head to the beach before it got too busy and get some beautiful shots in by the water. It felt good being so productive in the morning because then we had the rest of the days to ourselves. My mom loves to go on long walks. I’m generally reluctant to go more than a mile but with the gorgeous weather and the new scenery I was eager to take it all in.

The sun was out and the weather reached the high seventies, so it was the perfect beach day. The craziest thing was how warm 64ºF felt. In New England, that is a nice spring day, but it can still feel pretty chilly, but under the sun it felt perfect with just a gentle wind.

Most of my outfit items from this trip are from Forever 21 because I fell in love with so many of their new spring items. As a college student, it is really my go-to because it’s cute and affordable. The ruffles and polka dots gave my tops a cute feel. I also loved the cropped fit and off-the-shoulder style.  The shorts I chose are my classic jean pair. I got them at a store in Italy a few summers ago, but I have linked similar styles below. I love the way they fit me so I always have them on repeat in warm weather. My hat is also old (I honestly think it is from Walmart), so i’ve linked some of my favorite sunhat looks as well.

What have you guys been up to for spring break? Comment below!

Outfit Details: Top: Forever 21 | Shorts: Old (similar here & here) | Hat: Old (similar here & here) | Bag: Revolve, Lulus, Amazon |

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Cheers to a New Year!

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Hi guys!

I hope you all enjoyed the holidays! I had so much fun with my family and friends this month and I am so excited for the last holiday of the year – New Years Eve! I’ve been watching the weather and apparently it is going to be one of the coldest NYE nights in the past fifty years! Brrr! Normally, that would really bum me out because I can’t stand the cold, but this year I’ll be celebrating in warm sunny Florida!

This will be my second NYE in Florida and I am really excited because there’s nothing better than escaping the cold weather for a few days. I love my white Christmases, but I have no problem leaving the snow behind after that. I just landed yesterday and I’m staying in West Palm Beach. This is honestly one of my favorite places to go because its warm and by the water, if you know me, you know that those are two of my favorite things (probably because I’m a pisces). All of my friends have different plans though. Some, like me, chose to escape the winter weather and head down South; others chose to head into New York City and others are going back to school.

So, whether you’re braving the cold or dancing the night away by palm trees, I have picked out some of the cutest looks for the biggest party of the year!  I know the holiday is tomorrow but many of these styles can be found in store, so you can make a quick trip to the mall and maybe hit up some of the after Christmas sales.

To start, I have a couple LBDs. I love wearing black for fun nights out, it’s such a flattering color and so easy to dress up. I got my OTS bandage dress from Tobi, but you can find similar ones from: Charlotte Russe, Revolve, Lulus, and Tobi. These stores also have adorable sections of other LBDs too! You can never go wrong with a good black dress!

Emily is wearing a jumpsuit from Lulus. You can find more similar looks here from: Lulus, Revolve, Nordstrom, Express, and Target. I love jumpsuits because they’re cute and a nice take on a dressy look. The one Em is wearing is so flattering. I’ve worn it for school formals and it has been one of my favorite and most comfortable looks. It is especially great if you’re up North for the holiday and might want a little more coverage.

Em and I are both wearing black heels. You can get hers at Target and mine are Steve Madden. I love Steve Madden he has the best strap heels and block heels! I actually secretly obsessed with these nude ones, I may need to get another pair.

 

 

Best Dressed for the Holidays

Hi guys!

I am finally settled in at home for break and loving it! I feel like once I come home I finally get take in the all of the magic of the holiday season. There’s always so much to do in December: shopping, decorating, baking, and lots of parties to attend! Holiday parties are so much fun. This probably comes as no surprise, but I love an opportunity to get dressed up! So today, I am sharing some of my favorite festive looks for all the parties this season!

Casual Gift Swap:

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This Look | Sweater: Marshall’s (similar cute ones here: H&M, Target,) | Pants: Banana Republic | Flats: Tory Burch|

My mom surprised me with this sweater when I got home and I love it! It’s from Marshall’s and I can’t find it online, but I’ve linked some similar ones for you. I think it would be perfect for a holiday brunch or casual party with friends or family. Plus, it’s so cozy so it’s an all around winning look. I styled it here with black pants and flats, but you could swap the look out for jeans and booties too!

Dinner with Friends:

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This Look | Top: T.J. Max (similar here) | Pants: Banana Republic | Boots: Nordstrom (last year) but these are so cute!|Bracelets: Kate Spade |

I actually got this shirt this summer but I love how festive it looks now. This look is great for a gathering with friends that calls for attire that is a little dressier than just a sweater and flats.

Christmas Cocktails:

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This Look | Dress: Urban Outfitters (on sale!)| Shoes: Marshall’s (similar here) | Bracelets: Kate Spade |

I am in love with this dress. It makes me feel like Cher, from Clueless. I also loved that it was on sale for $40! I haven’t decided if I want to wear it for Christmas or New Years yer, but I love that it is perfect for both!

Sit-Down Dinner:

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This Look | Shirt: Forever XXI | Skirt: Vineyard Vines | Shoes: Marshall’s (similar here) |

I have been looking for the perfect tartan skirt for ages and I was so excited when I saw this one at Vineyard Vines. I paired it here with a simple white shirt, but it could be dressed up even more with a nice sweater or blouse.

Bay State Blonde’s Guide to Picking the Best Christmas Tree

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Coat: J.Crew Factory | Scarf: Loft |Jeans: Lucky Brand | Boots: Hunter |

Merry Christmas!

In my family we have a tradition where each kid takes turns picking out the Christmas tree. Even though we’re getting older, this is one tradition I am not ready to give up, especially since this year was my turn!

We usually go to a local stand to pick out our tree. I have a tendency to to pick the biggest tree there, but my process is not that simple. There are several factors that go into a perfect tree.

  1. It has to be full. I like the trees that are a little chubby at the bottom. I usually try and hug the tree (not even kidding) to see how big it is.
  2. It has to be covered to the center. It is the worst when you see a beautiful tree that is bare at the center.
  3. It has to be (fairly) straight. I have learned the hard way that the leaning trees, no matter how pretty, never look as pretty once they’ve fallen over.
  4. It has to have the perfect top to fit our angel. My mom puts a beautiful angel on our tree so I always make sure she has a good spot.
  5. Last, but certainly not least, It has to be tall enough that I can’t reach the top (but not so tall that my dad shakes his head).

Unfortunately, the day we picked out our tree, my go-to photographer (my mom) was sick and my back-up photographer (my brother) was “not feeling it.” So, we couldn’t get the shots, but, luckily Abby and I got a chance to go to Henry’s Christmas Tree Farm in Hope, RI.

It was the first snow of the season and we headed out to Henry’s. We had never been there, but we had heard wonderful things. When we arrived we saw trees as far as the eye could see covered in snow. There was a tractor that drove people out to find their own perfect tree.

Abby and I walked through the snow trying to find the prettiest trees we could find. We watched all the snowflakes move through the air and stick to the trees and us. It was so beautiful and such a fun little adventure to break up finals week.

Have you guys gotten your tree yet? What are some of your favorite tips for picking a tree?

Love Ashley

Cozy Christmas Morning Essentials

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Mug: Pottery Barn | Antlers: Amazon | Pajama Top: Nordstrom |Pajama Bottoms: Victoria’s Secret (Similar here)|Bedding: Homegoods (Similar here) | Headboard: Target | Lamp: Ralph Lauren | Curtains: Nicole Miller |

Christmas morning is the one day where I have no trouble waking up early. In my family celebrations begin the night before with the feast of the seven fishes at my relatives house. It’s a Christmas Eve tradition for us where we get dressed in our Christmas best. Once we get home we get to open one gift specially designated for Christmas Eve. It’s always a new pair of pajamas that we wear to bed and on Christmas morning. This is one of my favorite parts of Christmas because who doesn’t love to be cozy!

On chilly mornings, I love to warm up with a cup of tea or coffee, so naturally I am pretty big on Christmas mugs. The one above is from Pottery Barn and I think it’s so cute. This year, I decided to share this post with all my cozy Christmas essentials. Everything is a little better with some holiday cheer added! What are some of your favorite parts of Christmas?

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Pajamas: | White Reindeer: Nordstrom | White Tartan: Victoria’s Secret | Red Reindeer: Nordstrom| Gingerbread: Nordstrom| White Trees: Victoria’s Secret|Red Tartan: Ralph Lauren |

Mugs: | Reindeer: Pottery Barn | Red: Hallmark | Tartan A: Pottery Barn | Joy: Hallmark | Joyeux Noel: Wayfair | Let’s Build a Snowman: Wayfair | Snowman: Pottery Barn |

 

Surviving Finals During the Holiday Season

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Happy Holidays!

The most wonderful time of the year can easily become one of the most stressful for college students. When all you want to do is drink hot cocoa and decorate your dorm in christmas colors, you are stuck in the library studying for finals or finishing all those endless assignments. Finals week can be tough, but it seems especially hard during the holiday season.

For me, I just got back from Thanksgiving Break and bam! finals, paper, projects all seem to have piled up overnight. I just want to be back home in my bed with Netflix and no work looming over my head. After talking to my friends, and working as a tutor at my college, I have found that I am not alone in this. So many students begin to feel rundown and burnt out this time of the year, and the excitement of the holidays is just another distraction.

So today, I am going to talk about all my tips for surviving the end of the semester and finals when all you really want to think about is the holiday season. This is a long post, but hopefully a helpful one!

  1. Remind yourself of how far you’ve come. Maybe this semester was really tricky, or maybe it was a breeze, but either way you’ve made it this far and that’s something to be proud of. You’ve already put in the work up to this point and it’s important to take a minute to recognize this, especially when it seems like there’s so much more to be done. This leads me to my next point…
  2. Make a thorough list of everything you have left do. You can write this on a sheet of paper or make a checklist or an excel sheet – it’s all about what works for you. I’ve tried each way and I am a big fan of excel sheets. I actually make one at the beginning of the semester for all my classes based on the information in the syllabus. This helps me to track my progress throughout the whole semester. But you can do the same thing just for finals. Once you have everything laid out in front of you and when it’s due, it should begin to seem a bit more manageable.
  3. Start working! Whether you want to start with the easiest assignment and get it out of the way or just tackle each little by little, you have to start somewhere! For me, I take one day where I get a head start on everything and plan out each project, paper, or study plan.
    1. For papers: I start by picking apart the assignment and making a list of all the aspects that I need to address. Sometimes my papers just flow and I can skip this step. However, often when I feel overwhelmed, I need to start tackling it piece-by-piece. I take the prompt and then make and outline. If it’s a research paper, I head straight for the library and take over a table with books and papers with colorful sticky notes. Then I feel that I can begin writing.
    2. For projects: I mainly do the same things as I do for a paper, but it all depends on the project. My big projects for this semester are: researching different financial indexes over the last few recessions and coming up with an art project (about my blog!). For the finance one, I start by figuring out what information I need and making a list (I love lists). Then I’ll start gathering the information and go from there. For the art project, I plan on making an outline of my presentation and the key points I want to hit and then incorporating it all together in Powerpoint.
    3. For exams: As a tutor, I get a lot of people coming to me with help for exam prep. Each class is different, so exam prep needs can vary. I find it especially helpful if the professor gives a list or outline of the information that the exam will cover. Some professors do and some don’t. I then take the list and mark everything I am completely confident on in green, the things I know a good amount about but am still unsure of in yellow, and the stuff I really don’t know or really need to review in red. This helps me to see what I should focus most on. (These Stabilo Pens are my favorite!) From there I’ll begin making a study guide. I like to handwrite mine on blank computer paper because it gives me complete freedom to put things where I want (I also like trying to make them as pretty as possible). I find that making these guides are useful because I am reading over my notes and the material again, but I am finding new ways to express the information. Make sure you fully understand what you’re writing or mark it to come back to again on your guide.*This is a very brief overview, feel free to comment below if you have any questions. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to come up with a better and more comprehensive guide you guys, so let me know if you have any suggestions*
  4. Set a schedule. Sometimes I do this before starting, sometimes I have to start my projects before I can even figure out how much time to devote to each. Try to set a realistic schedule for how much time you will have to work on each assignment and prioritize based on due date and difficulty. My paper is due last, but I know that I can’t save it for last because it is going to take me the longest to finish! Make sure to allow time for breaks and not to overwork yourself. It’s easy to say that you are going to spent 8 hours straight in the library, but it’s much harder to actually stay productive for 8 hours…
  5. Make time for fun! Yes, it’s finals week, but it’s also the last week of the semester which probably means that it’s the last time you’ll see your friends until you get back! Take time to do things you enjoy, college is all about balance. Plus, if you’ve stayed on tray with the steps above, you’re probably much farther ahead than you would have been anyway, so you deserve a little break. Go downtown and see the christmas lights, maybe go ice-skating. Do something for yourself!
  6. Speaking of doing things for yourself, make sure that you are eating and sleeping and drinking water. The first two aren’t issues for me but the last is my downfall. I am always forgetting to drink enough water, but it is so, so important! All three are. I have seen my friends pull all-nighters and be miserable for the rest of the week. I know everyone says it, but it’s true! Take care of yourself first, it’s not worth making your first trip home one to urgent care (like I did…sorry Mom).
  7. Finally, remember to breathe and have confidence. You can do this! And before you know it, the exams will be over, your papers and projects will be turned in and you can focus on relaxing and being with family and friends!

I hope this helped! I’d love to hear for you guys. Did you find these tips helpful? What are some of your favorite ways to stay sane during finals week? Feel free to comment below.

Love Ashley

Farewell to Fall

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As soon as September rolled around, it was all things pumpkin spice and it seemed like summer was in the rearview mirror. Now, I am breaking out my cozy sweaters and Christmas socks and playing holiday music any chance I get. Before I delve completely into winter and all things Christmas, I wanted to take minute to reflect on my favorite season: fall. Fall is such a beautiful time in nature and for me, has always been a time of new beginnings.

Fall is when we get to go back to school again and see all our friends. Fall is when we get to trade our shorts for cozy vests and our flip flops for riding boots. Fall is nature’s finally before everything green is buried in a blanket of snow. What a more beautiful way to mark an ending (and new beginning) than with a vibrant display of beautiful colors.

So here is my farewell to fall, it will be a whole year before we meet again and I hope that the next season of vibrant colors finds me in a new place with renewed hope for life and all its beauty.

Outfit details here.

So Many Reasons to be Thankful

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My sweater: TJ Maxx (similar here) | my vest: TJ Maxx (similar here)| my boots: Nordstrom (similar here) | scarf: Target | Amanda’s sweater: Francesca’s (similar here) | Amanda’s tights: Target | Amanda’s Boots: Marshall’s (similar here) |

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am writing this right before I have to run to sit down for Thanksgiving. My cousins are staying with us this year so we have twelve people in my house which means lots of stories and lots of laughs. My family is big on both sides, but most of my mom’s side is from the Midwest, so I don’t get to see them as often. This makes the holiday season even more special because we get to all be together again.

I got home Tuesday afternoon and my mom was already in cleaning mode. After scrubbing every inch of the house and rearranging the furniture to accommodate a larger than normal group of people, it was time to start decorating and preparing the food. The house is filled with rich smells of all the yummy food. My favorite part of thanksgiving is dessert, so its no surprise that I get even more excited with I get a whiff of of all the sweets being baked.

This year I have so much to be thankful for, but my amazing friends and family are definitely at the top of the list. I am so lucky to have so many people by my side. Knowing my mom is just a phonemail away and always willing to talk is the best feeling. She’s borderline superhuman and is always doing something for someone. She put together our whole Thanksgiving meal too, she’s really the best.

Every year we take Thanksgiving pictures (usually for our Christmas card). Unfortunately, my younger brother, Andrew, was not having it this year, so Amanda and I decided to just do them on our own (why let a silly boy spoil our fun?). Anyway, I figured I share them with you guys! I’d love to hear about some of your favorite Thanksgiving traditions. So feel free to comment them below!

I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Love Ashley

Autumn Wonderland: A Trip to the White Mountains

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My Sweater: Forever 21 (similar here) | My Vest: TJMaxx (similar here)|My Scarf: TJ Maxx  (similar here)| My Pants: Forever 21 (similar here)| Our boots: Hunter |Abby’s Shirt: Gap (similar here & here) | Abby’s Jeans: American Eagle |

This post took me much longer to write than I was hoping and that’s because I took so many gorgeous photos during my trip that the idea of editing them all was so daunting. So I kept putting it off, but I need to share them with you guys because they are truly, truly magical.

Over Columbus Day Weekend, Abby and I (and my mom!) took a trip up to the White Mountains in New Hampshire. It’s about a two hour drive for me and the weather said that it was supposed to rain so we almost didn’t go. I am so glad we did though, because even though it did rain a little, the trees were still so beautiful that it made it all worth it.

While driving along the highway, we could see color bursting out in all directions. It really was something out of a dream. When I was younger, my family would always take trips up to see the foliage. I definitely didn’t appreciate the long car rides and seeing all the colors back then, but I certainly see the beauty of it now.

I hope that this is a renewed start of that tradition because the magic of the foliage up North is something I would love to see again and again.

Do you guys have any favorite fall traditions? Comment below!

Love Ashley