Outfit of the Day: Do-Gooder

January 31, 2020

And just like that, we have closed the books on our first month of 2020! January came and went so quickly, and yet I feel like most of those days were spent guessing what the weather was going to do. It’s been that weird mix of freezing nights and early mornings but midday sunshine and springtime vibes come afternoon. So not full-on winter coat worthy but not exactly thin cardigan ready. This fluffy jacket by Nike has been a Godsend — it’s versatile enough to keep me the right amount of warm, and stylish enough to elevate just about any look that I pull together as I’m rushing out the door.

“Trust in the Lord and do good …” Psalm 37:3

These days I’ve been keeping it classic with black-and-white outfits featuring a pop of color. This ensemble was built around my “do-gooder” shirt.

At the start of the New Year, my church began making a concerted effort to do good for 21 days straight in the same we we’ve done Daniel fasts. My pastor described being a do-gooder as carrying out “practical, tangible acts prompted by God but directed toward people.” Ultimately, the goal is to lead people to God by being his hands and feet, doing good deeds, meeting people’s needs, showing kindness and such. It sounds so obvious, right? Do good. Not because you want something in return, but because we honor God when we give freely. And dare I say, it’s quite alright to look good while you’re doing good 😉

See more of this cozy, carefree ‘fit and find out where to shop the look after the jump!

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Wednesday Word

January 1, 2020

This Wednesday Word No. 113, courtesy of Good Housekeeping, pretty much sums up my 2019-to-2020 mood. I personally am using all that I experienced last year — the highs and the lows — to rewrite my story for the New Year.

If I said that any other year prior to this past one was rough, I take it back. 2019 takes the cake … and throws it right in my face, smearing its messy frosting all over the place. This past year, Q4 especially, was marked with profound loss. Don’t get me wrong — there were some great times, too (e.g., being able to finally walk without my brace, doing flying trapeze for the first time, participating in my first Walk MS, vacationing in Barbados, finding a therapist who gets it, etc.). God truly did keep me (*cues “Never Would Have Made It” remix)! Before I say good riddance to 2019, here are some things I learned from it.

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Travel Log: Barbados, 9/21 – 9/28

October 7, 2019

With 2019 zooming by — hello, Q4! — it was time for a break from my day-to-day. Thankfully, I was able to get away for one lovely week in Barbados with my bestie Yvette and good friends Crystal, J.C. and Ernie. There’s so much to say about our adventure, so I’ve broken it down by category.

LODGING

The Crane Resort, located in St. Philip — just a 15-minute drive from the Grantley Adams International Airport in Bridgetown, was spectacular! Apparently, it has the distinction of being the oldest resort in the Caribbean, so it has that going for it, too. Our luxurious suite was very spacious (Shout out to Ernie for booking our stay!) and even included a swim-out pool, which was the perfect amenity for cooling down in the warm September sun.

The beds were cozy, and the convenience of a refrigerator, stove and washer-dryer made our trip all the more pleasant. The resort boasts awesome ocean views from just about every angle and is quite peaceful. In fact, we didn’t experience as much noise and chaos as one would expect of a vacation destination. Plus, the well-equipped fitness center and easy beach access were icing on the resort’s (rum) cake. Noticeably missing, however, were jacuzzis but with temperatures in the high 80s, I can’t complain.

An added bonus was how personable and courteous the staff was. The real MVPs there are Shannon, Brandon, Theo, Jamal, Corey and Jeff (and a few whose names escape me). They gave us such excellent recommendations on places to see and restaurants to try. We even saw Shannon and Brandon out on the town one night at Mojo, a spot they mentioned to us! The concierge was quick to send help when the power went out three times within an hour during a rainstorm and when we needed transport to the lobby.

Having The Crane as our home base for those glorious seven days only added to the enjoyment of our time in Barbados. I’d return for a stay there without hesitation! Oh and be sure to order the cajun smoked chicken wings at the resort’s Bar 1887. You’ll thank me later!

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Kitchen Diaries: Fresh Mango Salsa

August 27, 2019

Friends, it’s been a minute (several, actually) since I’ve recorded my Kitchen Diaries, but I’m back with a simple yet extremely delicious recipe for fresh mango salsa! It’s the perfect summer concoction. Now, I’ve had my share of store-bought salsas but there’s something about creating a condiment, no matter how easy, from scratch. You’ll be surprised at how flavorful and refreshing this mango salsa, courtesy of a Cookie and Kate recipe, is.

Ingredients:
3 ripe mangos, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
½ cup chopped red onion
¼ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced (or not, if you like spicy)
1 large lime, juiced (about ¼ cup lime juice)
⅛ to ¼ teaspoon salt, to taste

Dig into more of this fresh mango salsa recipe after the jump!

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Outfits of the Day-to-Night: Fashion Haul

August 9, 2019

Oh, hey. Didn’t see you there. “What have I been up to?,” you ask. I recently partnered with PrettyLittleThing to bring you a super versatile day-to-night fashion haul that ranges from casual cute to hot girl summer. Yes, I’m serving you looks that work for day and shine in the night. To start, here’s one that is undeniably meant for an evening out on the town.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16

These outfits feature some of my favorite accessories (What’s not to love about bright pops of color, and who doesn’t get life from a good statement necklace?), but as you feast your eyes on these ensembles, you’ll see that one of my main accessories is missing: my AFO brace. I’ve regained strength in my foot after the MS-related flareup that I experienced in September 2017. God is good! More on that next week … But with renewed strength comes a renewed desire to stunt on ’em. Thanks to PrettyLittleThing, I have some killer outfits for you to do just that.

Get into this summer fashion haul and shop the ‘fits after the jump!

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Ashley Adores in the Press: DressLikeMe — July 2019

July 11, 2019

I love a good surprise, and thankfully DressLikeMe, an online store and magazine, is in the business of giving them out! (Well, that and being an awesome one-stop-shop for all things fashion.) The editorial team recently reached out to see if I’d be up for a feature on their website. And, of course, I was grateful for the opportunity and consideration. The Fashion Feature that DressLikeMe wrote about me was super thorough and truly encapsulates what I aim to do on this here blog. They really know how to make a gal feel special. Take a look at the post and let me know what you think!

Thanks again to DressLikeMe for the feature 🙂

DressLikeMe outfit feature

Outfit of the Day: Progress Not Perfection

June 14, 2019

I’m excited to announce that I’ve become an ambassador for Just Strong, a women’s fitness brand dedicated to empowering and encouraging women! I immediately connected with their Progress Not Perfection tank, which is the star of this Outfit of the Day.

“… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

My fight with multiple sclerosis has been one that has led me to experience of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. There are days when I feel fantastic and my MS symptoms aren’t even recognizable, and there are days when I feel like my chronic condition is getting the best of me. But through it all, I’ve realized that as long as I’m continuously moving forward, I’m on the right track. After all, life is about transformation. Perfection would mean completion, and I know God’s not finished with me yet! That’s why I wear this Progress Not Perfection tank with pride as I work out.

As I work on my fitness, week after week, it’s important that I continue to focus on making steady gains instead of striving for perfection. If you’d like to see more of what Just Strong has to offer, head to the website and use the code ASHLRATC10 to get a discount on your purchase!

Shop the look below:

Tank: Progress Not Perfection (juststrong.com — Use this link to get a discount applied to your purchase at checkout!)
Leggings: Nike
Shoes: Nike Air Max Tavas
Scarf: Forever 21

Photographer: Dash

To see more Outfit of the Day/Night posts, click here.

Wednesday Word

May 29, 2019

This Wednesday Word No. 112, from AdView and spotted on Pinterest, is pure facts. I’ve seen it in my own life recently with some strides made with my fitness. Toward the beginning of the year, I set out to take control of my health and made finding a personal trainer one of my 2019 goals. Since I’ve been working out with my trainer, I’ve lost 10 pounds and 2 percent body fat! I was surprised to hear those results, but it just goes to show that a little becomes a lot if you keep your head down and trust the process. I think the (not-so) secret to my success has been making changes to my regimen little by little. I started cutting back on eating fast food and upped my physical activity. Nothing groundbreaking! This could apply to any goal that you make for yourself.

Also, on the eve of World MS Day, I must reflect on my health journey. I’ve slowly been working on strengthening my left foot that became severely weakened after my flareup, which ultimately led to me being diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. And slowly I’m beginning to be able to walk for longer periods unassisted by my AFO brace. I WILL be able to leave it off permanently one day soon! To think about where I was back then and where I am today is astounding. I went from having extreme fatigue where I would just collapse after getting home from work, for weeks on end, to waking up at 5:30 a.m. consistently to work out and feeling energized well into the night. All I can say is, “Thank you, God!” I’m writing this to remind you that it — whatever your “it” may be — may look too hard to attain, but taking it one step, hour, day at a time will mean big results if you keep at it. So, don’t give up just yet! You’re closer than you think.

To get inspired by previous Wednesday Word posts, click here.

Wednesday Word

Photo of the Week No. 54: “Ladybug Business”

May 13, 2019

This Photo of the Week was a serendipitous moment from a couple of weeks ago when I happened to stop and smell the daisies and spotted a busy ladybug in the mix. Thankfully, I already had my camera out and was able to capture the curious creature before it flew away. Although it didn’t land on me, I still think it means good luck (I’ll take all that I can get!). I also love the detail that this image displays, from the drops of water on the petals to the spots and antennae on the ladybug. Alternate titles: “Ladybug Luck,” “Dude Looks Like a Lady(bug)” and “Caught Red Bodied.”

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Out and About: Walk MS: Long Beach

April 27, 2019

I participated in my first Walk MS: Long Beach a couple of weeks ago, and I had my tribe of supporters there walking with me, and an even bigger village of loved ones there in spirit. Ashley’s Crew for a Cure showed up and showed out, collectively raising $5,895 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. We were in the top 10 teams out of 113, and I was in the top 10 for individual fundraisers, bringing in $3,130. Click through the slideshow to see some snapshots from Walk MS: Long Beach. The day was full of love, encouragement and hope, as we walked three miles around El Dorado Park. Although it was a challenge to walk that distance, I did so with an immense sense of gratitude that I was able to do so standing on my own two feet, with a little help from my AFO brace. Putting one foot in front of the other, and dancing an occasional jig as the volunteers chanted my name and cheered me on at various stops along the path, I crossed the finish line with so much joy in my heart. Praise God! It was inspiring to see so many people come out to support the cause — finding a cure for MS — and it definitely gave me a second wind of strength to continue my battle. Having been diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS a little over a year ago, it’s events like these that energize me and let me know I’m not alone. To those who joined my Crew, donated to my fundraiser and lifted me up from afar with prayers and well-wishes, I am forever grateful for your love and support! Next year will be bigger and better. Hope you’ll join me 🙂

P.S. Thanks to Pops and Jordan for taking some of the images seen in the gallery.

See what other adventures I’ve gotten into by clicking here to read more Out and About posts.

ashley ♥ adores