Wednesday Word

March 8, 2017

This Wednesday Word No. 91, on this International Women’s Day, comes from the mind of English novelist and poet Charlotte Brontë. This particular passage comes from perhaps her best known work, “Jane Eyre,” and is all about letting go of wrongs. Last week, the first lady at my church shared a message on silence and solitude and challenged us to spend 30 minutes alone and quiet with God. Admittedly, it was a challenge to keep my mind on Him. And it didn’t help that I chose to practice silence and solitude while driving in morning rush-hour traffic. Several times, my thoughts were interrupted by people acting a plum fool out on the highways and byways, and how they were breaking the rules of the road and how they needed to be taught a lesson. Petty, I know. But LA traffic has a certain way of getting your blood boiling. And then more seriously, what came to mind during that quiet, alone time were some lingering challenges I’m facing. Not sure how to say it without getting into the nitty gritty, but I’m dealing with the aftermath of emotional harm from a certain relative. Honestly, it’s taxing to constantly be on the receiving end of ill will and then be expected to be the bigger person. It’s easier said than done, but I have to move past replaying the hurt and stewing over those events. For my sanity, I can’t spend time keeping score of all the times I’ve been wronged. Life is certainly too short to be holding on to some nonsense. I choose to forgive. Not for anyone else, but for me. Friends, I hope you can do the same. Let’s let go of the drama so we can live our best lives!

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

ashley ♥ adores

Fancy Things Friday

March 3, 2017

This Fancy Things Friday is all about the subtle slay, with an assortment of pieces that take a look to an all-new level:

1. Gals, not only is ombre killer on hair — it also suits jewelry quite well. Exhibit A: this stunning Ombre Chain Necklace that gracefully runs the spectrum from gold to black. Definitely one of my favorite color combos, black and gold are a match made in heaven. Spread the love by pairing this necklace with a daring all-black jumpsuit. (missselfridge.com)

2. Turn a basic tee into a timeless look, with this darling Montana Square Scarf. The fringed hem and mélange of patterns make this piece a win-win on all sides. (anthropologie.com)

3. This Scale Top is giving me Khaleesi, Mother of Dragons, with a touch of Selina Kyle, a.k.a. Catwoman. Needless to say, it’s fierce AF. Stunt heavy on ’em in this top, paired with a pencil skirt or a tapered cigarette pant and a stiletto heel. Perfection! (shopakira.com)

4. Cozy up to this luxurious Oversized Sweater from Genuine People. The red color is powerful, but the piece also comes in off-white, if you’re more mellow. A sweater like this is key in transitioning from winter to spring, as it’s perfect for layering. (genuine-people.com)

5. Ty Hunter, stylist to Beyoncé, makes his foray into fashion design with his athleisure line, Ty Hunter by Reflex. Honestly, every single piece (I’m talking all 23 of them!) in this line is a must-have, but this Reflex Maritza Pencil Skirt (and matching Reflex Tina Crop Top, of course) stole a piece of my heart. The stripes set in different directions adds a dimension of playfulness that I can get into on the way to the gym or even out on the town. (six02.com)

To see past Fancy Things Friday posts, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Wednesday Word

March 1, 2017

This Wednesday Word No. 90, spotted on Pinterest, is a reminder that it’s never too late to start anew. It’s month three of 2017. Can you believe it? Happy March, friends! 2017 is just “march”-ing right along. Amirite?! With each passing month, it’s only natural to take inventory of how far you’ve come, where you are and where you’d like to be. Personally, I’ve lagged behind on some goals that I made at the start of the year. My gym membership and Class Pass are still waiting to be activated. Memoir writing has all but ceased. And if I’m being really honest, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve actually cooked (not warmed up frozen or instant meals, or leftovers from eating out) at home since January. My goodness. I’ve got to do better. I’m talking to you, but I’m mostly talking to myself: Don’t let your shortcomings prevent you from losing the will to get back on track. As businessman and author Harvey Mackay says, “Every morning brings new potential, but if you dwell on the misfortunes of the day before, you tend to overlook tremendous opportunities.” While it’s great to be honest with myself, it’s also important to be a glass half full thinker. On the bright side, I’m alive and healthy, have some writing topic ideas floating around the old noggin and a list of recipes I’ve wanted to try. This new month is full of possibilities. Now it’s time to go chase after them!

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

ashley ♥ adores

Travel Log: Orlando and Bahamas, 2/17 – 2/20

February 28, 2017

It’s the dead of winter, so a trip to a tropical atmosphere was in order, starting first in Orlando, Florida, then taking us to Nassau and CocoCay, Bahamas. I mean, I can’t really complain living in Southern California, but my good friend Zita is going through it with snowstorms in Boston. So we got out of dodge and spent four glorious days and three lively nights on a boat in the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, we cruised it up! Click the slideshow to see some fun visuals, and read all about it below.

DAY ONE: Friday, Feb. 17
I landed at MCO (Orlando International Airport) bright and early at 6:30 a.m. and waited for my pal, Zita, to arrive. I posted up for a few hours and got caught up on some episodes of “Z” on Amazon Prime. Thank God for WiFi and headphones. When, she touched down, we fueled up on some light snacks then boarded a shuttle for the port at Cape Canaveral. Off in the distance, we could see our ship, Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas, which would be our home for the next four days. We breezed through security at the port and checked in on the gangway, where we were greeted by Jock Jams blaring through the speakers. “Y’all ready for this?!” Why, yes. Yes, we were. Our first stop: the pool bar.

With unlimited drinks available (Hot tip: You’re gonna want to buy the drink package in advance!) at the swipe of our Set Sail card, we ordered our first libation of the trip — an ice cold piña colada. Zita immediately began mapping out the day’s plans as outlined in the Compass. Should we dance under the stars or hit up bingo? The world was our oyster! At about 3 p.m., we were able to go into our stateroom, located on the third deck. We would later find that this was actually one of the better decks on the ship. You felt the swaying most on the upper decks, and Lord knows ain’t no body got time for sea sickness. As our ship departed Orlando, I observed from the room’s porthole a flock of pelicans flying in a perfect V formation. It was truly magical. Something I didn’t catch on camera because I was immersed in the moment.

After a bit of a fiasco with the dining room assignment for our 8:30 p.m. dinner time, we were seated at a table among a crowded sea of people. We were surprised that we were expected to eat dinner with complete strangers, but thankfully, our table mates, Sarah and Lacey, were good company. We kinda felt bad for Kelly, another table mate who was ditched by her 17-year-old daughter, who was busy meeting boys in the teens-only section of the ship. Shame! After dinner, we found our way to the seventh deck, where we were promised free champagne and the possibility of winning raffle prizes (the magic words). We both made off with a free print and were encouraged to return the following afternoon for an art auction with even more raffle prizes. Exhausted, we called it a night early.

Find out how the rest of my cruise went after the jump!

Continue Reading…

Wednesday Word

February 22, 2017

This Wednesday Word No. 89, courtesy of Redbubble, is where my head is after this past three-day weekend. I’m fresh off my first cruise — we went to the Bahamas — and all I can say is I need more travel in my life. The anticipation, the expectation of a new adventure in a new part of the world is exhilarating. Thursday night, I boarded a red eye for Orlando, Florida, and Friday afternoon set sail on a cruise to Nassau and CocoCay with my pal, Zita. I’d been on many boat rides, but this was different. The crazy part about it was we were literally out in the middle of nowhere. This huge, blue, choppy expanse that could chew you up and spit you out — also known as the Atlantic Ocean. To feel so small in this ginormous ocean was humbling. We really did disappear those four days and three nights. And it was quite magical. The goal of the vacation was to relax, soak up the sun and just escape from the day to day (or in Zita’s case, the snowy weather in Boston) — and we did all of the above. As the quote says, “You don’t need magic to disappear. All you need is a destination.” Stay tuned for my Travel Log about my journey!

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

ashley ♥ adores

Thrifted Thursday: Window Shopping on Retro Row, Long Beach

February 9, 2017

This Thrifted Thursday is a snapshot of a recent stroll through my old stomping grounds: Retro Row in Long Beach. It had been a minute since I stopped by my personal haven of secondhand scores. The first five snapshots in this slideshow were taken at the Assistance League Thrift Shop, perhaps the most under-rated store on the block, but by far my favorite. I saw a couple of pieces that channeled my inner working woman circa 1980 and said “What up tho?!” to my girl, Liz Claiborne. The contrasting brown and cream leathers made it hard to pass up, but I’ve gotta slow down on buying duplicates of items I already own or that are too similar in style. Another find that was extra hard to turn away from was the vintage wicker picnic basket. I’m a collector, but the $20 price tag was a little steep, considering the handle was slightly warped. It was a sight to behold no less, as was its mini counterpart that I spied resting in the shelf underneath. My friend Fifi bought the tiny basket, which would make a super cute lunch bag or an even edgier handbag, for her sweet little niece. Inside were these itty-bitty ceramic tea cups and saucers. So darling! As my trek down the block continued, I saw some exquisite framed tapestries, the most adorable vintage typewriters, an ultra authentic Western blouse and the pièce de résistance … a VHS copy of Michael Jackson’s “Moonwalker.” You have no idea how many Saturday mornings were spent dancing and singing along to this gem of modern cinema in the Ratcliff household during the early ’90s.

You’ll see the great finds that I purchased that day in next week’s Thrifted Thursday. Until then, to see previous Thrifted Thursday rarities and good finds, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Wednesday Word

February 8, 2017

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This Wednesday Word No. 88, courtesy of Year 27, is a word straight from God. If these last few months have taught me anything, it’s that I can’t place confidence in anyone, except for my Heavenly Father. Look, this isn’t anything that I haven’t already known. Sometimes I just need to cloak myself in the honest truth. It’s easy to fall into the trap of fear and be overcome with feelings of defeat when you read the headlines (by the way, I just learned that “headline stress disorder” is a very real thing) or watch 45 and his cabinet shipwreck this country with their ill-advised actions. It can take a toll. Thankfully, we don’t have to stay in that dark place when we feel down. I can rest easy knowing that God is in control. You can, too. Joshua 1:9 is a command from God himself for us to “be strong and courageous.” We, as believers, have the luxury of choosing to stand tall because we serve a God who cares tremendously for us. He fights our battles and will never leave nor forsake us. He’s always there right alongside us. This also brings to mind Romans 8:31, which says “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Spoiler alert: The answer to this rhetorical question is “nobody.” Not a one. Long story short: Fear not, y’all!

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

ashley ♥ adores

Fancy Things Friday

February 3, 2017

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Punxsutawney Phil may have seen his shadow yesterday, but I’m already prepping for six weeks of spring. Warm it up with these Fancy Things Friday finds:

1. When I say “Coa,” you say “Chella”! That’s right. This darling Best of the Fest Black and Cream Fringe Clutch has Coachella written all over it. Heck, it’s even alluded to in the product title. This dynamic little clutch is giving me all kinds of life with its bold Southwestern print and frisky fringe! (lulus.com)

2. So nice, I had to share Lulus twice! If this doesn’t scream “take me down to the paradise city,” I don’t know what will get you to see the beachy vibe woven all over this Adventure in Costa Rica Grey Straw Hat. I picture myself lounging on a white-sand beach with this number topping my crown, and a piña colada in my hand, of course. (lulus.com)

3. I’m transfixed by this brazen Amuse Society Spellbound Woven Top. This almost-tribal print is a sight to behold. (revolve.com)

4. This Blue Yoke Ruffle Pin Stripe Shirt Dress is giving me “home on the range” meets a feminine “Risky Business,” with a dash of Sunday’s best circa 1987, and I’m here for all of it! I’d pair this dainty, frilly frock with some tan or light brown cowgirl boots and a simple tote. Done and done! (missguidedus.com)

5. Now, before you run and get the red paint, you must know that this edgy De Vil Coat is shown here in all its faux-fur glory. Channel your inner (not-so) Cruella as you set out for a night of mayhem in this piece, which makes quite a statement. (nastygal.com)

To see past Fancy Things Friday posts, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Wednesday Word

February 1, 2017

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This Wednesday Word No. 87, found here, basically sums up the essence of what I observed these past two weekends. Amid the protests (the Women’s March and those incited because of Trump’s immigration order) — and, yes, contagious chants and witty picket signs — all across America, people of all colors and creeds united around a universal goal. This past weekend I was moved to tears watching footage of green-card holders that were detained at airports across the country being able to come home. The massive crowds erupted with cheers as if it were their own loved one who was released. The swift action to overturn the unjust action, and the lawyers who wasted no time in coming to the aid of the detainees, reminded me that there are people in their designated arenas who won’t back down under the pressure. Rather, they thrive off of it. It’s so hard to remain hopeful during these times (2017 really did come in hot!), yet when I pause and see that I’m not in the minority — a majority of Americans hold the same belief that every human being is worthy of respect — my heart is glad. These words, from Japanese writer Ryunosuke Satoro, speak volumes: Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean. We’re stronger together, friends.

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

ashley ♥ adores

Found Objects: Street Art in Venice

January 30, 2017

Since starting work in Venice this past October, I must say that it is chock full of visual treats. Click through the slideshow to see some of the pieces that caught my eye while strolling through the zany beachside town. For starters, this brown-and-white pitbull puppy that adorns the wall of this apartment building is the absolute cutest. Doesn’t he look like an Oscar or a Brutus? I can just hear him panting and see his tail wagging. That big ol’ boy! The Monarch butterflies bring an element of surprise and delight to this quintessentially Californian mural. Another iconic piece is this striking mural that pays tribute to the late Teena Marie, who is gone far too soon but forever in our hearts. Here, Lady T stands tall with her psychedelic-colored guitar and showy purple, velvet thigh-high boots. This mural is extra epic because the neck of the guitar actually hangs off the building. Way to break down walls, just like the Ivory Queen of Soul did! I wonder if the artist had the same thing in mind as I did. Lastly, these chubby, grey gorillas, created by artist Isabelle Alford-Lago, are almost a trademark of Venice, as the lovable animals, often seen in pairs or solo throughout the city, are like Easter eggs. Their faces reveal so much personality. I predict finding more of these gorillas and documenting them as Found Objects here soon.

To see more Found Objects posts, click here.

ashley ♥ adores