Fancy Things Friday

January 19, 2018

This Fancy Things Friday is all about embracing the cooler temperatures with a little bit of color. In oher words it’s sweater weather with a burst of flair:

1. I love a good play on words, so this LITerature Sweater made my heart smile. I’ve been doing some more writing these days, and I’ve been making my way through some fantastic audiobooks on my commute to and from work, so I guess you could say that I, too, put the “lit” in “literature.” (cottonbureau.com)

2. With its pretty pearls and radiant ruffles, this Pearl Beading Tiered Ruffle Sleeve Jumper will definitely help you step your sweater game up. This gem also comes in Pink, Black, Green, Burgundy and White, but will turn heads in whichever hue you choose. (shein.com)

3. And speaking of making a statement, this grand Gold Feather Statement Necklace is giving me warrior princess meets buttoned-up beauty. Also, had no clue that World Market had such fanciful necklaces. Mind blown! (worldmarket.com)

4. Who says denim can only come in shades of blue? I, for one, subscribe to Zara’s belief in color. This dazzling Coloured Denim Jacket in yellow will definitely keep the winter blues away. The distressing and rips throughout add an element of badassery and boldness. And guess who’s here for it! (zara.com)

5. I wore my black-and-white oxfords so much that they’re in pretty bad shape, which is a shame because I really loved them. They went with everything! Thankfully, these sprightly Derby Tweed/Black Shoes are a(rollienation.com)

To see past Fancy Things Friday posts, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

DIY Time: 2018 Desk Calendar

January 16, 2018

Am I the only one who gets jazzed about a crisp new calendar at the start of a new year? Well, I squealed with delight when I saw that my job was hosting a craft night where we’d be making our very own 2018 desk calendars, with help from the kind folks over at Paper Source. Stamps, quotes, embossing, washi tape in all its varied patterns, colors and textures — the world was my oyster while putting together my mini 12-month calendar. I got my entire life, to say the least. I tried to stick with a theme, but somewhere along the way I said, “Bump it.” Click through the slideshow to see my calendar, a month at a glance.

I figured I’d start January with a bright and hopeful tone, hence the “Dream Big” embossing and matching gold chevron-patterned washi tape. Hearts, of course, are the focus of February. March is springy, so I chose two varieties of flowers and accented the month with a sparkly silver triangle of washi tape. April is when Record Store Day, a tradition for me and my guy, happens. I decorated that month with an off-centered vinyl record and a quote about adventure, which is always what follows on that special day. May pays homage to the month when Dash and I met in 2013. Our first date soon followed at CicLAvia in Downtown LA, where we rode bikes and spent the day learning about each other, and laughing lots along the way. Halfway through the year, I thought I might be in need of some inspiration, so I went with a quote from C.S. Lewis about dreaming for June. If you remember, January starts with a little bit of gold and an encouraging word, so I thought it would be a good call-back for June. July — which is by far my favorite month of the year, thanks to my and many loved ones’ (my anchors) birthdays happening then and being smack dab in the middle of my favorite season (summer!) — is sailing smoothly with a gold and blue embossed sea moment. August is when I hope to do some traveling abroad with my bestie Yvette, so the international city-themed washi tape carries the messaging there. September is just a reminder of how awesome I am, and I’ll need a reason to smile now that summer will have officially ended. By October, I totes phoned it in. LOL. It’s a little disheveled, but the gargantuan orange pumpkin is endearing — some might even say cute. But I pick things up in November with a dual-layered washi tape accent and uplifting quote, and finish strong with a silver-lined snowflake fantasy for December.

And there you have it! Twelve months of fun and whimsy to get me through 2018.

See more my crafty moments and home-improvement experiments here.

ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 3: “Azalea, Commander of Cute”

January 15, 2018

My cute little 11-month-old niece, Azalea, is the star of my third Photo of the Week. And there’s plenty more where that came from because she is the most adorable little human I’ve ever laid eyes on. This image was captured the day before Christmas, as my siblings, Zae and I were hanging out in the loft area at my mom’s house in Menifee. Zae is completely enamored by cell phones, and she being the sticky-finger bandit that she is snatched my sister Ayesha‘s unattended phone, which looks like a vintage camera. This was literally a Kodak moment in the making. I was snapping away, flash and all, when she looked up at me as if to say, “Can you cool it with the photos, auntie?!” And that’s the image that I now call “Azalea, Commander of Cute.”

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Travel Log: Montréal, Canada 

January 11, 2018

This Travel Log also doubles as a Throwback Thursday, as this epic girls trip to Montréal, Canada, took trip place last August. Click through the slideshow for a glimpse at some of the highlights.

Me and my boos — Yvette, Sierra and Andrea — wanted to get some travel in together. But where to? Savannah? Santa Fe? Boulder? Suddenly, Canada looked pretty good since we could go international without going too far for our weekender. As a kid, I took a day trip from Detroit to Toronto with my brother Robert and my aunt Betty, but I had been wanting to give Canada a real go. I’m so glad we settled on Montréal. And thus began a new tradition for our crew.

Sierra and I arrived within an hour or so of each other on Friday, Aug. 25, so we met up at the airport and Ubered to our Airbnb, which was located in Old Montréal and not too far from downtown. Yvette was next to arrive, and the three of us wandered to find a brunch spot. Immediately, I was charmed by the architecture and foliage everywhere. It felt like we were in France. Oui oui! We soon met up with Andrea, who arrived a few hours later, and set out to have a proper lunch. I was pleasantly surprised by how accommodating the locals were by offering double-sided menus in French and English because I tried Duolingo and my French accent is especially atrocious. We wandered a few blocks away from the square where we brunched and were enchanted by a quaint restaurant that had corks on display. I had a delicious steak and fries and the girls feasted on clams, and all enjoyed a bottle of red wine over lunch. I could get used to this cosmopolitan-ladies-who-lunch life. The rest of the evening consisted of a fancy dinner at L’Original. The smothered pork chop and spaghetti was everything. On the way to find a bar for a night cap, we encountered a movie playing on the side of one of the buildings. It turns out it was part of an art installation for Montréal’s 375th anniversary celebration. We ended the night at Saint Pierre, a newly opened bar run by a black woman (aaoooww!) and playing dope music. I had a refreshing drink called “Respect Your Elders,” which included elderberries. Who would have thunk?

The next day, we got an early start and went on a dining walking tour that left from the steps of the Notre-Dame Basilica, which we would find out was Celine Dion’s church. It was there where she got married and had the funeral for her husband. The tour guide pointed out important landmarks and gave us tons of historical anecdotes (Did you know that Montréal was named after its proximity to Mount Royal?), plus we got to try some great traditional bites along the way. Delicious custard-filled tarts, duck and pork patés, macarons and a smoked meat sandwich made the tour well worth it. The awkward mix of outlandish characters on the tour was memorable, and also a point of contention as we wanted to slap one of the ladies for making a borderline racist comment about an interracial couple. Folks be wildin’. Of course, we ate again shortly after the tour, but this time we felt better equipped to pick a place and had a good lay of the land. I tried my first poutine (Fun fact: It’s really pronounced “poo-ten” — far less fun to say than “poo-teen” in an aggressive Southern accent, which is how I still choose to pronounce it) and a tasty flight of local beers. We went back to the Airbnb to rest from all the walking we had done. That evening, we took a short Uber drive to a fun restaurant, where we ordered a number of dishes to share and proceeded to do shots like college girls on spring break. Hahaha. We still got it!

On our last full day in town, we had a lovely brunch after being lured in to a swanky hotel restaurant with the promise of a free mimosa. I mean, why not? We went to see the rainbow balloons lining the LGBT neighborhood and stocked up on last-minute souvenirs. Those Coffee Crisps — imagine a coffee-flavored Kit Kat candy bar — that we discovered at the grocery store were smackin’, and I left with several to bring home. We finished the night at a cute little tiki bar called Le Mal Nécessaire, which translates to The Necessary Evil, where we drank some potent punches and lamented the early morning flights we had back home.

Montréal, you beautiful beast. Thanks for your hospitality and the adventures I had with my girls. I could definitely see myself living here if I had to live in a foreign city. Either way, I will be back.

To see previous places I’ve jetted off to via my Travel Log, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Wednesday Word

January 8, 2018

This Wednesday Word No. 99, spotted on Pinterest, is dedicated to those who want to live life without regret. It’s better to make a mistake than it is to sit idly by and wonder what could have been. With the start of a new year comes an influx of hopes and aspirations of ways to improve various areas of your life. And of course, there comes the cynicism of those who feel like the new year is simply a changing date on a calendar. But I personally am harnessing the newness as a real opportunity to start over and go after the things that I’ve pushed aside. I want to be that person who learned a bunch from their failures, instead of that person who looks back over their life in their 80s and wishes they had taken the risk or did the thing they always wanted to do. This year, I’m going to do things that scare me and push me out of my comfort zone. I’m currently listing to Shonda Rimes’ “Year of Yes” (seriously, do yourself a favor and head to Audible right now — well, after you finish reading this post — and get it!) and it’s giving me all kinds of life. And it’s giving me all kinds of ideas about what I could say “yes” to, and I’m excited about what I’ll learn about myself along the way. For starters, I’m taking a series of public speaking courses offered through my job. Like many introverts, I’m terrified of public speaking. “I’m a writer, not a talker,” I tell myself to make sense of this phobia. But who knows what this newfound courage will bring about? I can’t wait to see. I’ll fill you in!

What is it that you’re making a commitment to pursue? Let me know in the comments below.

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

ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 2: “Serving Face All Summer”

January 8, 2018

It’s time for another Photo of the Week, friends! For my second installment of 2018, I’m featuring my beautiful sister Ayesha. I call this one “Serving Face All Summer,” because that’s exactly what she did. This photo was taken at my job’s summer party at the world-famous Santa Monica Pier, which is all about fun in the sun. Amid all the day’s revelry, I captured my sister in one of her infamous “face-times.” To the naked eye, it may look unrehearsed but Esha is no stranger to working her angles. I’m quite proud of myself for catching those cheekbones hitting the light just right.

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 1: “Puppy Peering at Peering Puppy”

January 2, 2018

New feature alert! I figured I’d start the year off with some newness because by golly it’s about time I switched things up. I have lots of goals for 2018, and this new addition represents a combination of two of them. This year I endeavor to be more consistent with this here blog and to hone my photography skills. I photograph events and people at my job (and have done so for my past few professional roles) on a consistent basis, and in my personal life, of course, mostly for Snapchat and the ‘Gram. Because I’m holding myself accountable, I went ahead and double-downed on that goal by investing in myself and buying a Canon DSLR camera. I was reminded by a colleague that my photography is an art form that I should be proud of sharing, and her comments really resonated with me. Maybe she’s onto something.

Without further ado, I present my Photo of the Week for the first week of 2018. I call this one “Puppy Peering at Peering Puppy.”

What are some subjects you’d like to see me photograph? Let me know in the comments section below. And Happy New Year to you!

ashley ♥ adores

Thrifted Thursday: Vibrant Button Down from Assistance League, Long Beach

December 21, 2017

This Thrifted Thursday is all about this vibrant Bob Mackie button down ($9). The bright red color immediately caught my eye, and I love that the geometric design features pops of turquoise and purple, and is a bit daring, edgy even. It’s giving me Southwestern desert goddess vibes, and the tiny Ms emblazoned on the gold buttons are a testament to the designer’s impeccable attention to detail. The tag reads “Wearable Art,” which is an apropos descriptor. Frankly, it’s a masterpiece! It gets better because one of the store clerks at the Assistance League told me that the renowned Bob Mackie has crafted creations for the likes of Cher, Diana Ross, Liza Minnelli, Tina Turner and Whitney Houston. This was a definite steal considering. While it is slightly larger and, thus, longer than my normal preference, the shirt can act like a tunic of sorts. Rolling up the sleeves is a must, and this might be cute with a floppy-brimmed hat. I can’t wait to wear this red denim top, which will pair nicely with some skin-tight black leggings and my black cowboy boots. Yee-haw, y’all!

Grand total: $9.00

To see previous Thrifted Thursday rarities and good finds, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Out and About: California African American Museum

December 11, 2017

I’ve lived in Los Angeles County for 11 years and I finally made my way down to the California African American Museum a little while ago. I know. I’ve gotta do better. But I was glad that I went when I did. I heard that the “No Justice, No Peace: LA 1992” exhibit — focusing on the 25th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots that came on the heels of the Rodney King verdict — was closing, so that seemed as good a time as any to visit. When my guy and I arrived, we weren’t prepared for the emotions that took hold of us as soon as we stepped into the exhibit. Heavy doesn’t even begin to explain it. There was a police vehicle from the era right in the middle of the floor (it’s unclear if that was the exact car involved in the King incident), and images of the King beating and news footage of the subsequent riots played on TVs across the room. There were also artifacts from some of the people, even a 13-year-old girl gunned down by a store owner, who were unfortunate casualties of the unrest. Our eyes filled with tears reading about the loss of innocent lives, and the complete disregard for black lives that’s still prevalent to this day. Maybe that’s why it was so gripping. In short, the exhibit was powerful and one I won’t forget. There was also an intriguing exhibit about black women in silent films that provided a rare glimpse of our people’s first appearances in motion pictures. The images above don’t capture those exhibits — my pictures wouldn’t do them justice. But on the lighter side of the museum were these marvelous works by African-American artists. They each evoke a sense of pride and wonderment in their own unique ways. Click through the slideshow to see a few of my favorites from that day. If you’re in LA and you haven’t been to the California African American Museum, run, don’t walk, over there. It will fill your soul and make you think.

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

ashley ♥ adores

Wednesday Word

November 15, 2017

This Wednesday Word No. 98, courtesy of Marc Johns, has been my mantra over the past six weeks. I suddenly didn’t have much feeling or strength in my left foot. I noticed my foot was dragging one night when I was walking my dog. It wasn’t a thing that progressively got worse. It just happened all at once out of the blue. I’ve been in and out of doctors’ offices trying to diagnose my injury. Even a kind young doctor was trying to diagnose me out on the dance floor at my job’s Halloween party last month. It seems like most are perplexed by my condition. The podiatrist confirmed nothing is broken. The chiropractor conducted an awful nerve test on me (basically he stuck me with a needle at various points on my thigh, leg and foot, and zapped me to see how my nerves reacted) and I got my back X-rayed — the results for both came back normal. Most recently, the MRI revealed more about my discs. The chiropractor’s theory that I’m experiencing the numbness and lack of strength in my foot due to a slipped disc in my back, which could have happened months ago, was partially correct. It’s a lateral herniation in my L4/L5 disc. Basically, the disc is triangulated so it’s nearly pinching the nerve. The doctor prescribed me steroids, which were helpful in restoring strength and movement back to three of my toes. Now if we could get the pinky toe and the one next to it back wiggling, that would be fantastic. It’s been super frustrating not knowing what the heck’s going on. But at the same time, I’m hopeful because I know God is up to something. He’s in control. And he’s going to work it out. And though it sucks walking around in a boot, I’ve been heartened by the kindness and concern people have shown me. Everything’s gonna be super duper. I feel it in my bones. Just not all of the ones in my left foot. LOL.

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

ashley ♥ adores