Father's Day Brunch + Area Four...

 
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This month has already been super busy for us as a family! We celebrated our four year wedding anniversary just last week, we're currently planning Lo's 3rd birthday and also trying to gear up for our move on July 1st! I couldn't let Father's Day weekend pass by without planning something special to honor the best Daddy in the universe! I knew I had hit the jackpot in the husband department but found out pretty early into my pregnancy with London that Chris would dominate the "daddy department" as well! He doted on me the entire time and when Lo was born - he made the transition to parenthood look (annoyingly) effortless! Needless to say, I love that I get to spoil him on Father's Day weekend because he is always taking care of us first before himself! 

We started our weekend off on Friday with a little shopping spree. Chris NEVER buys anything for himself...so I thought it would be fun to take him shopping so he could pick out some new things for summer! Saturday kicked off with an AMAZING brunch at Area Four in the South End! We had been wanting to try it for awhile and it did NOT disappoint! The food was absolutely delicious ... and the cocktails (even though I couldn't indulge) looked so yummy. The staff showed off a few of their creations (you can see the "Malibu Beach Barbie" cocktail to the left!) and the presentation was super unique and innovative! The vibe is also really cool and artsy...with giant windows that bring in lots of natural light. Since Chris is a sports guy, he pointed out that it would be a really fun place to catch a game - and I couldn't agree more. 

Before we even ate at Area Four, I had heard that the cinnamon bun was TO DIE FOR. Well, I can now say from experience that it was without a doubt the best cinnamon bun I've ever had and my husband totally agreed! It made all of my pregnant dreams come true and now I'll be craving it from here on out; a price I'm willing to pay for that amazing-ness! The caramel-bacon frosting (yes, you heard that right!) is made in-house as is the entire bun itself. It was served on a warm skillet and you better believe we ate the whole thing! We were able to try a few entree's as well; the breakfast pizza, the "hot mess," and the breakfast sandwich - all of which were delicious! (You can take a peek at the brunch menu here!)

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I can also say that the staff was super friendly and welcoming! They brought London a little doll and mini blow-up flamingo cup holder, which she just thought was the coolest ever. We were totally impressed from start to finish and can't wait to go back! There's another Area Four location in Kendall Square, Cambridge - so if you can't make the South End, check that one out! 

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After brunch, we continued our Father's Day weekend celebration by heading North to the Beauport Hotel! A full review of that is coming soon! I hope you all had an amazing weekend celebrating the special Dad's in your lives! Thanks so much for stopping by!

xx, 

Ashley 

5 Easter Traditions For Your Family...

 
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I can't believe it's Easter week already! It's one of my favorite holidays to celebrate and especially fun now that we have a little one who LOVES eating treats and finding eggs with her cousins :) We are spending Easter weekend in Maine this year after staying home the past few and we are so excited to be with family. 

I wanted to share some Easter traditions that we love that maybe you can adopt and pass on to your own family! I'll also share some basket ideas / things the "Easter Bunny" aka YOU can leave on Easter morning! 

1. Easter Service. There is nothing more beautiful than church on Easter! Although we always try to make holidays fun and exciting - I want our children to grow up understanding the meaning of Easter and what "Resurrection Sunday" truly means for us and our lives. I also love getting dressed up in Spring dresses and going to service as a family. I remember my mom putting my sister and I in gloves, hats, dresses...the whole nine yards! It was always a big production and we loved it :) 

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2. Brunch. Hello Hot cross buns! Before or after service is the perfect time to have something out for the family to munch on! It doesn't have to be anything crazy; coffee, juice, pastries and a quiche and you're good to go! Hot cross buns are an Easter staple and if you want a good recipe, you can find it here

3. Egg Hunt. This is a MUST! London was a beast last year during the egg hunt with her friends - she had her eye on the prize ;) I'm sure this year will be even better and I can't wait to watch her scurry around. We filled her eggs with some of her favorite things (not all candy) like yogurt bites, fruit loops, and raisins and she was so excited. Of course, we snuck a few m&ms in there as well! We got a little Easter egg hunt kit from Target last year - but this would also be cute to mark the start of the hunt! 

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4. Dyeing Eggs. We didn't do this last year but plan to this time around! I always loved doing this as a kid - and I think London will too! You can find kits anywhere...Target, Walmart, Rite Aid, CVS etc., and they're pretty cheap! It's an inexpensive way to have fun and do a little Easter holiday project! 

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5. Easter Baskets. My fave! I LOVE playing Easter Bunny ;) It's so fun and now that the Target dollar bin exists, it's even more exciting! Amen?! The things they have are so cute. Don't feel like you have to fill the baskets with just candy and junk food! There are so many other ideas like books, stickers, etc that your little ones will be just as excited about! 

Here is what I fill Lo's basket with this year: 

Mini m&m's

Goldfish

Princess coloring book (she is SO into these!) 

Melissa & Doug ABC Puzzle

Rapunzel Dress and long Rapunzel braid (will just set this up beside her basket)

One-year Devotions for Preschoolers (under $10)

Sidewalk chalk

Bubbles

Assorted eggs filled with surprises 

Stretchy Bunnies

Stickers

 

Those are a few ideas that you can use for your own Easter celebration this year! I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your friends and families...wherever you may be! Thank you for stopping by!

xx, 

Ashley 

 

 

Spreading The Love with Cuties + DIY Recipe For Kids...

 
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After getting hit with Daylight Savings Time a few weeks ago and dealing with a 4:30pm sunset...it's been a month of transitions for all of us! I tend to dread this stretch of time when it's dark early and so cold in New England we can see our breath...BUT this year, I'm looking forward to planning more indoor projects and getting creative with my little one! One thing we love to do together is bake/cook! It's fun for me to come up with tasty and healthy snack ideas...then watch her enjoy them! When thinking of two things that London loves...fruit + chocolate came to mind. I mean, you gotta have balance, right?! :) She LOVES citrus-y (is that a word?!) things...so when I saw that CUTIES were back in stores I couldn't help myself and bought a 5-lb box! We will DEFINITELY be eating madarins for days, but maybe it'll bring a little sunshine to the chilly days ahead! Either way, we are excited! 

Combining Cuties + chocolate just seemed like the BEST IDEA EVER so that's what we did...we made "chocolate covered Cuties" and Lo absolutely LOVED it! Because Cuties are small and easy to peel, she was able to help me make them too which was part of the fun! (You can find the recipe below!)

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Also, side note, they're a great "on the go" snack to grab as you're heading out the door! I like to keep one in my backpack at all times, in case Lo gets hungry and needs something quick! I mean, Moms love that they're healthy + portable...and I think the kids love that they taste sweet! Win for all :) While we're on the topic of food...It's been difficult to get Lo to sit long enough to enjoy a full meal. She loves to snack and "pick" but I really want to keep the habit of having breakfast, lunch and dinner together at the table because it's such a special time! I've started to think "outside the box" and come up with different ways to make meals FUN! The other day, I made her a special "lion" pancake using our Cuties - and her face lit up when she saw it! It's super easy to make and a creative way to start the day! She loved it!

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Easy, sharable snack that all kids love...

I'm always scheduling playdates for London with her little buddies...and there's always some sort of sharing of food that goes on. It's pretty heartwarming to watch them interact and see how they're learning about the power of giving. Cuties are such an easy, sharable snack and certainly one that Lo considers "fun" to share with her friend Zach! How adorable are these two? They totally loved having a snack together and Lo even peeled it for Z! So sweet! Grab some Cuties for your "cutie" at a location near you

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Here's what you'll need for the fun Chocolate Cuties snack...

- 6 Cuties peeled and segmented

- Melted chocolate (You can literally melt chocolate chips or a candy bar in the microwave)

- Sea salt to sprinkle (optional)

- Parchment paper

Directions: Dip half of the clementine in the melted chocolate then place on the parchment paper. Continue and line all side by side. Place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes then serve!

 

xx, Ashley

 

This post is sponsored by Cuties. As always, all thoughts, opinions are my own. 

Thanksgiving: Gifts For The Host or Hostess...

Tis' the season of gift-giving! My favorite time of year and it all kicks off on Thanksgiving ... when you (hopefully) will bring a small token to show your appreciation to the host/hostess! It's never nice to show up to someone's home empty handed ... especially if you are about to feast on delicious food that they have prepared for you. 

So, today I'm sharing a few things that would make perfect host/hostess gifts! Of course, there's always the go-to - a bottle of wine - but if that's been done before, here are some gift ideas! Enjoy!

 

xx, Ashley 

Apple Crisp Recipe...

 
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I love love LOVE apple crisp; it's the perfect dessert for Fall. Our friends brought us a box full of apples so I decided to put them to good use :) I use the recipe from AllRecipes.com and tweak it just a bit. It usually takes me 15 minutes to prep and 40 (ish) minutes to cook! 

Here's what you do:

- 8 apples peeled + sliced

- 2 T white sugar

- 1/2 tsp cinnamon

* Mix together 8 apples, peeled + sliced with 2 T white sugar + 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Pour into 9-inch greased pan.

- 1 cup brown sugar

- 3/4 cup oats (I use quick oats)

- 3/4 cup flour

- 1 tsp cinnamon

- 1/2 cold butter

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix brown sugar, oats, flour, cinnamon together then cut in butter with a fork. The oats mixture should be a crumble. Spread over the apples evenly and bake for 40 minutes until golden brown and sides are bubbling.

xx, Ashley 

 

 

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star: My Sister's Baby Shower...

 

When I found out my sister Lindsey was pregnant with her first child, I was over the moon and couldn't help but begin to dream about throwing her a shower! She has always gone above and beyond for me and I wanted to do the same for her. Thankfully, the other lovely hostess, our mother, helped me bring the vision to life!

The shower took place at my sister's house and was centered around the age-old nursery rhyme "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." Since the gender of the baby has not been revealed, we decided that "twinkle twinkle little star, how we wonder what you are" would coincide perfectly! The inspiration actually came from this Olive and Star invitation that I saw on Etsy, which we then ended up using as Lindsey's shower invites! We chose to stick to cream and gold as the general color scheme. Lindsey has designed the nursery to include some mint green, so we did incorporate that color just a bit throughout. 

The flower of choice was baby's breath. To me, it always give a simple, yet elegant feel to a space and we ordered a generous amount (15 bunches) to put in mason jars all over the house. A beverage station was set-up with vintage glass dispensers where we served strawberry lemonade, plain lemonade and water infused with lemons and limes. Guests munched on cheese + crackers, vegetables, crostini bread with french onion dip, and fruit while they mingled. There were cards custom designed by Mint Arrow Designs for guests to leave their love and well wishes for Baby M. Lindsey and Derek (my brother-in-law) both thought this was a really special touch and they loved reading them at the end of the day. 

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My mother and I came up with a custom dessert menu along with the help of Maine baker, Sue Warren (Sweets by Sue) Fun fact: Sue also worked with me for London's first birthday ("Splish Splash" theme) and you can see what she created here! We wanted her beautiful desserts to be the focal point of my sister's large dining room table. The chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream frosting (mama-to-be's favorite) and custom "twinkle twinkle" topper served as the centerpiece while the other desserts (macarons, cake pops, sugar cookies, rice crispy treats, and cupcakes) were scattered around. We also bought a table easel from Michael's so we could showcase a framed print that tied in the whole theme. Each guest went home with gorgeous and yummy Lavender soy candles from The Favor Design Studio, which were a huge hit!

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Overall we had such a fantastic day! Everything came together beautifully and most importantly, Lindsey felt showered with love! I am so thankful to have worked with some incredible vendors and wanted to share their shops below, as well as more photos from the day. Take a peak :)

Floral: Whole Foods

Desserts: Sweets by Sue

Invitations: Olive and Star

Party Favors: The Favor Design Studio

Wish Cards: Mint Arrow Designs

Personalized Napkins: With Love and Ink

xx, Ashley

Living an Active Life + Chicken Orzo Soup Recipe...

 
 Photo credit:  Kivalo Photography

Photo credit: Kivalo Photography

Happy Weekend! Can you guys believe we are over halfway through March already? Bring on spring! I am so ready for warmer weather and to spend more time outside with my baby girl!

You all know how much I like to hit the gym and work out. It makes me feel SO much better and gives me that good feeling energy to start the day out on the right foot! I think it's super important to find a home gym that motivates you and makes you feel comfortable and welcome! If you can find a workout buddy, even better! Before becoming a mom I used to have a lot more spare time to spend working out, so on days when I can't make it to the gym, I like to get creative.

There are a few small things you can do throughout your day to make a little difference...

Take the stairs. At my gym, I have to go up three flights of stairs just to get to the workout floor. I am ALWAYS tempted to hit up the elevator, but I just tell myself that it's my "warm-up." :) Park in the spot furthest away. I know, I know...what a hassle right? Parking lots can be GINORMOUS, but make a conscious effort to park far from the front door. It's something simple that can burn a few extra calories. Grab a girlfriend a.k.a accountability partner. Recruit a friend and motivate each other to do something active like a walk or hike. Lolo and I are officially "mall walkers" nowadays :) During the cold winter months, we head to the mall and I let Lo run around for an hour or so to burn off some energy. Chasing her is a great workout! If you need a little boost to get your butt into gear, sometimes making a new "activewear" purchase is all it takes. I always feel better when I've got some cute gear to rock to the gym or on an errand! Check out some of my favorite athleisure / activewear picks here

I've also gotten a few questions about the chicken + orzo soup that I put on my Instagram story, so I wanted to share it with you all. It's SO incredibly easy. Anytime I can use my slow cooker, I'm a happy girl! I think you'll enjoy it, so give it a try! 

EASY Chicken + Orzo Crockpot Soup

 Photo cred: Delish.com

Photo cred: Delish.com

  • 1 - 1.5 lbs chicken (I used boneless tenders)
  • 64 oz. chicken broth
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 package frozen peas + carrots
  • 1.5 tsp pepper
  • salt to taste
  • garlic to taste
  • 2 cups dried orzo

Directions: 

Add the chicken, broth, onion, peas + carrots (and any other veggies you'd like to use) to the slow cooker. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic. Cook on LOW for 3-4 hours (I did 3.5hrs). Stir in the orzo for the last 45 minutes - 1 hour. ENJOY! 

xx,  Ashley 

Happy SIX Months SGL! : Why I Started Blogging...

Happy 1/2 Birthday to Style Grace + Lace! 

Six months ago today, I launched my lifestyle, fashion, and motherhood blog in search of a new hobby and a way to express some creativity. Of course, I have a love for writing, which seems should be a given when you're a "blogger," but for me, starting this blog was almost a cathartic release. I was a new(ish) stay-at-home mom to an 8-month old baby girl, struggling to find an outlet. I was sitting on my couch in early February; London was napping her first (of three) naps for the day, and I was basically binge watching Teen Mom OG (don't judge!). I remember feeling really down and kind of (for lack of a better word) defeated. I cherished the quality time that I got with Lo and we had established our own little routine, but I found myself worn out from the monotony of everyday life. I knew I needed to get out of the funk I was in + use what down time I did have to do something positive and productive. 

Enter SGL. 

In many ways, this little space on the internet saved me. I am able to express my love for style, fashion, travel and fitness all while sharing my journey and joy in being a mom. My passion for writing is stronger than ever, and I can honestly say that it has made me happier and in turn, a better wife + mom. The beauty of this whole blogging world is that there's SO much to learn and while I'm still learning everyday, SGL continues to provide me with some pretty cool opportunities and has allowed me to meet and collaborate with incredible people. 

I want to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone who has supported my journey with Style Grace + Lace. I'm so appreciative of every single reader + I hope to bring you many more months of lifestyle + motherhood goodness :)

xx,

Ashley

Independence Day treats...

Beacon Hill Morning...

There's nothing more beautiful than Boston in the summertime. The city is so charming with its dreamy cafes, blooming flowers, and lines of row houses down cobblestone streets. I fall more and more in love with it every day! Beacon Hill, a neighborhood in Boston, is just absolutely stunning. If you plan to travel to Boston, please take a stroll through. You won't be disappointed. A few eateries to hit are Tatte Bakery for delicious coffee and pastries, Deluca's Market for cheese, wine and fresh produce, and The Paramount which is a casual bistro staple in Beacon Hill!