Wednesday Word

April 25, 2018

This Wednesday Word No. 106, spotted at Haute in Texas, is where my heart and head have been since my epic trip to South Africa. Our group was fortunate to go on a walking tour of the Langa township in Cape Town, where we had the opportunity to meet the locals, learn about their history, buy some of their wares and see how they live. Sugar, our tour guide, was from the township and gave us a real glimpse at life in this part of the world. She even gave us a run-down of the Xhosa language, marked by distinct clicking sounds, which made me appreciate its unique beauty all the more. We visited the Dalukhanyo Preschool, where the kids sang the South African national anthem and danced for us. I wanted read to them and play games and trade dance moves. Simply put, I didn’t want to leave. If anything, those few minutes we spent at the school made me realize that I could be doing more to support them. Our tour guide in Johannesburg, Sonja, also left an impression on our group. Her adoration for the country of South Africa was palpable. She didn’t sugarcoat the not-so-pretty parts but spoke truth with love. It’s crazy how much Sugar, the students and Sonja made me feel at home, thousands of miles from Long Beach, on a whole new continent, on the other side of the world.

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

ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 17: “Cloudy With a Chance of Magic”

April 23, 2018

This Photo of the Week was taken while on a recent safari in South Africa — cloudy but still perfect in every way. I mean, everything about that day was magnificent: the commentary from our tour guide Peter, the beautiful animals (obvi), the rolling hills and picturesque landscapes, even the clouds. These fluffy cumulonimbus clouds had just as much personality as the warthog that zipped in front of our truck. Clearly he had places to be (I’ll introduce you to him in an upcoming “Out and About” post). I call this photo “Cloudy With a Chance of Magic” because I went into the safari with great expectation. What we saw was nothing short of magic. These clouds add to the joy felt that day. If that chubby one situated front and center were a kid, I’d pinch its cheeks.

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 16: “African Art-ifacts”

April 17, 2018

This Photo of the Week, titled “African Art-ifacts,” was captured while on a walking tour of the Langa township in Cape Town, South Africa, last week. I love the juxtaposition in this image between the traditional African art (masks, sculptures, bowls, etc.) and the modernity of the handcrafted boombox with the Coca-Cola branding, bottle caps and metal wiring. This artsy boombox is definitely the one that got away, as I ran out of Rand while shopping in the township. Womp womp. I’m determined to return for it, among other missions I’d like to complete in the Motherland.

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 15: “The Lion’s Den”

April 10, 2018

This Photo of the Week, titled “The Lion’s Den,” is one of many snapped during my first-ever safari at Pilanesberg National Park & Game Reserve. Oh, yeah … I’m in South Africa right now. My tour group and I made the two-and-a-half-hour drive from Johannesburg to the park, eager to see which majestic creatures we would encounter. Fun fact: Pilanesberg is home to what’s called the “Big Five”: lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and Cape buffalos. This particular pride of lions (our tour guide Peter said there are about five different families spread among the 572-square-kilometer reserve), with two males and three females, was the first of the “Big Five” we crossed off our list. What’s wild (literally and figuratively) is that these massive cats were, by my estimation, a mere 10 yards away from our Jeep, relaxing under some shade, seemingly without a care in the world. I love this image because it’s such a slice of life that could be replicated with families, tribes, clans, you name it from around the world. Finding rest among loved ones is a universal action, and I’m amazed that I was able to catch these lions in the act.

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Out and About: Private Tasting at Brown Estate

April 9, 2018

“Fun” doesn’t even begin to describe my time at Brown Estate winery in Napa Valley. It’s the subject of my last Photo of the Week, by the way. Click through the slideshow to see the sights from the day. This visit was part of a girls trip with a few of my faves from the Bay Area. It doesn’t take much for me to have a blast with these gals, but the fact that we had the whole place to ourselves was an added bonus. We got to learn about the owners, Dr. and Mrs. Brown, the history of the black-owned winery and the grapes used to create their wines. And we even got to go into the wine cellar and see the barrels on barrels on barrels of the wine varieties. Sky, the family’s trusty poodle, also added to the charm of being on the pristine grounds. The Brown Estate staff went above and beyond with the pairings. They were smackin! I fell in love with the Betelgeuse White and the Westside Zinfandel. This amazing day was all made possible by Veronica (so grateful for the invite!), who is a member of the winery. And a big thank you to David, the winegrower, and Sean, the tasting room associate, for making our visit extra special and super memorable. I can’t wait to return!

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

ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 14: “Fun Awaits at Brown Estate”

April 2, 2018

This Photo of the Week was taken at Brown Estate winery in Napa Valley, California, this past weekend. I call it “Fun Awaits at Brown Estate” because I visited this beautiful, black-owned winery with a group of some of my favorite girls. There’s never a dull moment when we get together! This building was built in the 1850s and remains intact — just as it was built all those years ago. That was just one of many fun facts our tour guide for the day, Sean, shared with us. There was something magical about this stately, brown building and the dangling tree leaves swaying effortlessly in the gentle breeze. To me, this image signals that whimsy and merrymaking are in store. Spoiler alert: They were. Stay tuned for more about our adventure in an upcoming “Out and About” post!

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 13: “Man’s Best Friend”

March 26, 2018

My favorite pit bull, Jacc, is the star of this Photo of the Week No. 13. He belongs to my guy and he’s the absolute sweetest. This image was captured one Saturday morning in Inglewood while I was playing with my Canon. An inquisitive creature, Jacc is naturally drawn to the camera. Every time I have it out, it doesn’t take long for him to zone in on the lens. This photo also speaks to the inseparable bond between Jacc and Dash. Like a good boy, Jacc is always by Dash’s side and has proven to be a protector, cheer-upper and ultimate listener. That’s why this photo is titled “Man’s Best Friend.”

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Out and About: Spring at the Silos

March 22, 2018

If you’ve seen my most recent Photo of the Week, then you’ve gotten a sneak peak at some of the sights from my visit to Spring at the Silos. Last week, I was in Austin, Texas, for SXSW and my mom was able to join me for a few days. Being the “Fixer Upper” fan that she is, she wanted to visit where Chip and Joanna call home. And I was down for the adventure. So we rented a car, drove an hour and a half to Waco (with me singing “Life Is A Highway” no less than 275 times or so — bless my mom’s heart for putting up with my antics), and dove head first into the magic at Magnolia Market.

When we arrived, we were amazed at the huge crowds of people who showed up. There were people — and lines — everywhere. But, thankfully, they moved quickly. I was drinking it all in — the rust-covered silos, the flowerbeds, the design elements inside of the shop, the typography, the big blue sky. After working up an appetite, my mom and I decided to take a break from barbecue (we had so much smoked meat while in Austin that it legit was coming from our pores) and feasted instead on a burrito, but still were tickled by the sign from the Guess Family Barbecue truck.

Overall, it really was a quaint and pleasant experience. I look forward to returning with my mom one day. Also, not pictured are the tasty confectionary delights from Silos Baking Co. I’d make a trip back to Waco for “The Prize Pig” biscuit (hint: there’s bacon involved) and the Silo Cookie (with chocolate and peanut butter chips with a sprinkling of walnuts) alone. Run, don’t walk, if you find yourself in the neighborhood, and thank me later! And by “thank me,” I mean save me some of that goodness.

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

ashley ♥ adores

Wednesday Word

March 21, 2018

This Wednesday Word No. 105, spotted on Pinterest, is a good reminder for today, the second day of spring. Or any day, really! LOL. Spoken by Walt Whitman — the American poet, essayist and journalist also known as the “father of free verse” — this quote, in my opinion, is all about your mindset. Spring, to many, is the start of a new beginning. New life, new blooms, new wardrobes, new possibilities and so on. Why not use the dawn of this new season as a time to recalibrate and shift gears in your thinking? Maybe the rainy, chilly weather — or if we’re being really honest, life’s little storms — has gotten you down. Maybe you’re tired of hearing that good things are on the way when your present reality shows otherwise. If so, here’s a simple remedy that may be just what the doctor ordered: Turn your gaze toward the sun. Soak in those rays, that divine Vitamin D, and see if it doesn’t shift your perspective. When we shift our gaze toward the light (read: focus on the positive), darkness has no choice but to fall behind us. On this day — this drizzly and grey day in Los Angeles — I will look for the metaphorical sunshine and know that it will put a little spring in my step. Hope you can do the same wherever you are (physically and mentally), friends!

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

ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 12: “Welcome to Waco”

March 19, 2018

I made it to Texas for the first time last week — Austin, specifically, for South By Southwest, and then Waco for the Spring at the Silos event on Friday. This Photo of the Week No. 12 was taken at Magnolia Market, owned and operated by Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s “Fixer Uppers.” It being my proper first time in Texas, I was struck by all the quintessentially “Texas” sights and sounds — the massive silos, the thriving flowerbeds, the stately typography on the signage, the Southern twangs of the attendees who came from far and wide to experience the Magnolia they’ve fallen in love with on TV. I was eager to capture it all with my trusty Canon. The image that I settled on for this Photo of the Week — what I call “Welcome to Waco” — frames all of the aforementioned magic in one simple shot. It’s like a postcard. Stay tuned for more snapshots from that day in an upcoming Out and About post!

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores