Photo of the Week No. 53: “The Birds and the Boy’

January 6, 2019

This Photo of the Week — the first of 2019 — was taken on the last day of 2018. On New Year’s Eve, my sister, brother-in-law and nephews came up to visit me in Long Beach. Of course, they wanted to do the quintessentially Long Beach things, like eat at Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles and check out the Aquarium of the Pacific. This image captures one of my favorite moments from the latter. My nephew Jordan, ever the animal lover, wanted to go inside the lorikeet forest exhibit and feed the tropical birds nectar. And to say that they were feeling a bit peckish would be an understatement! As soon as we entered the enclosure, the lorikeets swarmed Jordan. I was initially nervous that he would freak out about the birds being too aggressive and landing on his head and arms. But actually, Jordan ended up having the time of his life. We ended up going through the exhibit twice back to back. What a day! Alternate titles: “He’s for the Birds,” “Boys and Birds of a Feather” and “A Flock of Lorikeets.”

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Wednesday Word

January 2, 2019

This Wednesday Word No. 109 (the first of 2019!), spotted at Lessons Learned in Life, is a timely reminder as we embark on the new year. Whether you feel like 2018 was kind to you or if it was the meanest year to date, it’s apropos to reflect on how far you’ve come. I personally am using the upsets and challenges from the past year to propel me into this new season. I’ve weathered the storms and am stronger than ever because of it. Give yourself credit for persevering. Alrighty, no more living in the past. Let’s get after 2019! May this new year be your most productive, fulfilling, successful one yet.

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

ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 52: “Look Back at It”

December 29, 2018

With this being the last Photo of the Week of 2018, it’s only right that we take a look back at it. I know your minds went straight to the antelope’s heinie (tee hee!) but we’ll get to that later. At the start of the year, I decided I wanted to hone my photography skills. To keep myself honest and actually focus on taking better images, I created the “Photo of the Week” feature here. It’s been a fun challenge that has forced me to think of different angles and pursue interesting subjects to share with you all week after week. I plan on keeping it up. My guy even got me a light kit for Christmas, so be on the lookout for more polished photos (once I figure out how to use the thing).

Now to the elephant, or antelope derrière, in the room. This image is one of hundreds I took while on safari at Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa earlier this year. This lone antelope was casually walking up the road and I couldn’t help but admire its strength and beauty. In a way, it’s a metaphor for the close of the year. I’m walking into 2019 stronger than I was this time last year, not looking back, more sure of myself. Alternate titles: “Back Street Beast,” “Back to Life, Back to Reality,” “Walking With a Purpose” and “Hope in an Antelope.”

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Outfit of the Day: New Year, New Me

December 24, 2018

When I think back on all that happened this year — perhaps one of the toughest of my life — I’m grateful that I made it through. I know it sounds cliché, but I’ve got “New Year, New Me” on the brain. That includes a fresh perspective on productivity, career, finances, and, most importantly, my health. I showed you how I’m keeping fit in style in last week’s Outfit of the Day. Here’s another look at how PrettyLittleThing is helping me get workout-ready for 2019.

“You have armed me with strength for the battle; you have subdued my enemies under my feet.” Psalm 18:39

If 2018 has taught me anything, it’s how to fight. Three months in to the year, I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. I had to use all that I could muster up to regain my energy, my self-confidence, my passion and my strength. I’ve been back in the gym building up my stamina and slowly making progress. Thankfully, PrettyLittleThing is helping me look good while doing it. The mesh crop top paired with the black paneled leggings makes me look like a total bawse, if I can say so myself. And the PLT script peeking through the top softens the look by adding a little feminine touch.

See more of this ensemble and shop the look inside!

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Photo of the Week No. 51: “Stand Tall”

December 22, 2018

This Photo of the Week is a reminder to take a stand. This image of a vibrant yellow flower was taken in Soweto, South Africa, earlier this year at the Mandela House. When I consider the namesake of the venue, he (Nelson Mandela) is the epitome of standing up for what you believe in. The thing I like most about this photo is the contrast of the foreground and the background. The stately flower commands attention, even amid all the action happening on the other side of those bars. It makes me thing of the saying, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Outfits of the Day: Keeping Fit in Style

December 17, 2018

I’m really excited to show you how I’ve been keeping fit in style! I recently partnered with PrettyLittleThing — a one-stop shop for all things wonderful womenswear — to add some flair to my workout wardrobe. And, friends, did I need it!

“She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.” Proverbs 31:17

Not gonna lie, my current fitness attire consists of oversized T-shirts and well-worn leggings, which was not really helpful in getting me active. Since my MS diagnosis this March, I’ve been on a bit of a wellness journey. A lot happened in the months following, and working out took a back seat, given the weight of wrapping my mind around my new reality. I’ve slowly been getting back on the wagon (shout out to my wellness coach, Lisa!). But nothing motivates me like a stylish outfit! Thankfully, PrettyLittleThing has plenty of activewear to get me pumped up do some yoga or a HIIT routine at home, hit the gym, or get my body moving in general. And don’t be surprised if you see any of these pieces repurposed into nighttime ‘fits!

See more of this outfit and peep the second look inside!

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Photo of the Week No. 50: “For the Birds”

December 15, 2018

This Photo of the Week centers on one of the prettiest little birds I spotted out in San Francisco. I wish I knew what species of bird it was. I love the iridescence found in its feathers and how it flows seamlessly between black, blue and green. It was curious, hopping around and then pausing to observe the scenery. Or perhaps it was in scavenge mode trying to find food. Now that I think of it, the bird has a tiny treat in its mouth. In any event, it was relaxing to sit back and watch wildlife, and is something I should do more of. Alternate titles: “The Early Bird Gets the Worm,” “Freebird,” and “Fine Feathers.”

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 49: “Show Your True Colors”

December 8, 2018

I call this Photo of the Week “Show Your True Colors” because it makes me think of the importance of being yourself. You were meant to stand out, not blend in. This image was captured on a rooftop in New York a few months back. As I was looking through the photos from that particular trip, I was struck by this vibrant cluster of flowers shrouded in darkness. This picture is a poignant reminder to let your light shine, especially when surrounded by dark times. You may feel outnumbered or overpowered, but know that you matter, that you are noticed, and your presence makes an impact — just like these dainty little flowers. Alternate titles: “On the Bright Side,” “This Little Light of Mine,” and “Bright and Mighty.”

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 48: “Heavy on the Chocolate”

December 1, 2018

I’ve been thinking back to a special cup of hot chocolate that warmed my soul during a jaunt in San Francisco, since the past few days have been on the chilly side. It’s the star of this Photo of the Week. Funny story. My pals and I were at AfroTech early one morning last month and in need of a pick-me-up, so we hopped into an Uber in search of breakfast treats. We literally circled the block and ended up at the tiniest coffee shop, Dynamo Donut & Coffee, at Little Marina Green. It was so small we even questioned if it was an actual business. Thankfully, it was. But, honestly, we could have walked there in three minutes. It took us longer to drive. Bless our driver’s heart for accepting the ride and not judging us. LOL. But it all was worth it because the cup of hot chocolate that I ordered — heavy on the chocolate — was everything and more. Plus, it was pretty to look at. Shout out to the barista for complying with my ridiculous request and kicking a plain ol’ cup of cocoa up several notches. Never mind the word “Dirty” lurking in the background.

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 47: “Docked Boats in the Bay”

November 20, 2018

I call this Photo of the Week “Docked Boats in the Bay” because that’s basically what it is. LOL. I love this image because there’s so much to unpack. I kid you not, every time I look at this photo I discover a new detail that I hadn’t noticed before. The names on the boats. The San Francisco skyline in the background. The beautiful homes. The reflection of the scene in the water below. I can almost feel the crisp air and hear the birds chirping. It feels very much like a painting.

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores