Our Favorite Family Spots in Boston...

We have been living in Boston for almost five years now and have completely fallen in love with the city. When we first moved here Chris and I were newlyweds and we got our first apartment together in the cutest neighborhood of Boston (in my opinion), Bay Village. It is sandwiched between the South End and Back Bay - which are home to some of our favorite spots in the whole city. We only lived downtown for one year - but I like to think that we made the most of exploring and discovering all of the things that make “the Bean” so amazing. Now that we are parents of two, we have spent the last few years taking advantage of all the things that the city has to offer for KIDS!

I wanted to share some of our favorite spots in and around Boston; our go-to parks, restaurants, museums, etc. so if you guys are ever visiting or even currently live in the city, you can check them out!

The Boston Common: This is Boston’s most popular 50-acre park located right in the middle of the city. You can take a walk across the picturesque bridge and snap a photo with the swan boats in the distance, or find the prettiest blooms, which are changing every season. You can always find things to do; in warmer months you can pack a picnic and go for a ride with your kiddos on the duck boats. London loves to find the Mother duck and her ducklings in the park, a nod to the popular book “Make Way For Ducklings!”

common.jpg

Boston Public Market: This is one of our top places to go on the weekend but it’s Monday - Friday as well! Some of our favorite spots are here…all in one place. We get our coffee at George Howell, always make a stop at Red Apple Farm (for homemade apple cider donuts), and London and I pick a few flowers from Field & Vase by Stow Greenhouses to make our own bouquet.

jjcole2.jpg
jjcole1.jpg

Also, how good is this backpack that attaches to my stroller? It’s the Papago from J.J. Cole and I love that it holds everything I need - literally I always pack my LIFE when I go out with the girls and want to make sure I have everything - this backpack holds it all!

We love the Boston Public Market!

We love the Boston Public Market!

This is Field & Vase where London and I love to make our own bouquets!

This is Field & Vase where London and I love to make our own bouquets!

Blackbird Doughnuts: These doughnuts are so good! They’re delicious, they’re made in-house and they make these mini cinnamon sugar stacks for your little ones too! If you’re feeling up for it, try the “made-to-order” ice cream sandwich!

Faneuil Hall: So fun to go here as a family! They always have fun street performers to keep kids entertained and you can grab a delicious meal in Quincy Market!

jjcole11.jpg

Boston is such a walkable city and I love that I never have to worry about Malia being cold on these chilly winter days because of the BundleMe that keeps her super snuggly! I also don’t have to bring any additional blankets which is a major MOM WIN, am I right?!

Beacon Hill: You HAVE to visit Beacon Hill. It is quintessential Boston with the adorable tree-lined streets and beautiful brownstones. There are some of the cutest shops and cafes in this neighborhood also including Tatte, a beautiful space with a cozy feel and open kitchen to watch the chefs whip up tasty sandwiches, soups, delicious pastries and more! Make sure you walk by Acorn Street, which is known as one of America's most beautiful streets and easily one of the most Instagrammed spots in Boston. Also, a little tip: you'll have better luck in flats trying to maneuver your way up or down this street. And best to ditch the stroller beforehand, too.

How cute is Malia on Acorn Street, one of the most photographed streets in America!

How cute is Malia on Acorn Street, one of the most photographed streets in America!

Love exploring Boston with my girl in her cozy    BundleMe   !

Love exploring Boston with my girl in her cozy BundleMe!

Charles River Esplanade: Grab a coffee and head over to The Esplanade for a relaxing walk and scenic views of the Charles River and cityscape. The Esplanade Playspace is a place your kids will love too and a great way for them to burn off some energy!

Newbury Street: Newbury is the city's most popular street for shopping! There are so many trendy cafes and restaurants to power you through a shopping spree (if your kids will allow it). One street over on Boylston, you’ll find the Boston Children’s Museum if your kids need a little escape - or you can head to our favorite Newbury spot, Georgetown Cupcakes. London always picks the cupcake with the MOST frosting…can you blame her?!

London loves all of the pretty store-fronts on Newbury!

London loves all of the pretty store-fronts on Newbury!

jjcole6.jpg
Waiting patiently for her cupcake!

Waiting patiently for her cupcake!

jjcole9.jpg

New England Aquarium: Pretty self-explanatory, but aquariums are always a hit and this one is really fun! It’s also a short walking distance from Faneuil Hall so you could do them both in the same day!

Museum of Science: We love bringing the girls here! You can easily see the exhibits in 1-2 hours but you can also make a whole day of it if that’s the kind of mood you’re in. London loves “Science in the Park” so she can go on the swings and she loves to visit the Dinosaur exhibit as well. (I recommend trying to go on a weekday because weekends tend to be pretty crowded!)

London loves to run around the museum and we have been so many times that she knows where everything is! The photo on the right is a new exhibit (that’s a true-to-size SEAL by the way), and I love that they are always changing up exhibits and bringing new/interesting things to the museum for people like us that visit so often!

*Mom Tip: A backpack always works better than a shoulder bag. You need both hands - especially when you’re the solo adult with two little ones! We love our Papago!

The “Science in the Park” exhibit is GREAT for kiddos to burn off some steam and run around!

The “Science in the Park” exhibit is GREAT for kiddos to burn off some steam and run around!

London could stay on these swings for hours!

London could stay on these swings for hours!

Fenway: You can't visit or live in Boston and not take at least walk America's most beloved ballpark; that would just be unpatriotic! Catch a game for a photo of the “Green Monster” or just pay a visit to capture the essence of this legendary place. If you’re looking for a yummy place to eat, Sweet Cheeks Q is a super popular place basically next door!

There you have it, that’s my list! What are some of your favorite places to take your kids in Boston?! I’d love to hear more ideas / recommendations … we are always looking for more adventures!

xx, Ashley

This post was sponsored by JJ Cole. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Microblading: All Questions Answered + Why You Should Do It...

I think this is my most sought after blog post! I have had so many people message me on Instagram about when I’m going to show “before + afters” of my eyebrows now that they’re microbladed and asking SO many questions about the procedure in general. Well, HERE IT IS! I wanted to wait a few weeks to let the eyebrows CALM THEMSELVES DOWN a bit because let’s be honest when they’re first done they’re CRAY. They’re dark, you can’t get them wet or touch them…it’s just a SCENE. About three weeks later and I’m absolutely LOVING the way that they look. I don’t even know how I was rocking my sad eyebrows before this or what took me so long to get this done! SO HAPPY WITH THE OUTCOME!

Ok, so first thing’s first…

WHAT IS MICROBLADING?

  • It’s a semi-permanent brow enhancing tattoo

  • Brows are created using a tiny scalpel with multiple blades, which are then dipped into pigment before making the individual, tiny cuts into the eyebrows.

  • The pigment isn’t applied as deep into the skin as with a conventional tattoo, so this method is deemed semi-permanent. Meaning: It should last around two years, depending on skin type and how it was applied.

How Do I Find My Technician?

Rejina from Boston Perfect Eyebrows in Allston did my brows. She has been doing this for over three years and after researching her website and her Instagram page I felt really comfortable trusting her to do mine! Everything was VERY clean and sterile. She is patient, thorough, and takes her time. She is super sweet and dealt with my nervous self so graciously. Also, she is the CUTEST human.

Make sure your technician is properly certified and licensed people! This is nothing to mess around with - HELLO these are your brows and a semi-permanent tattoo. Do your research!!

mblade7.jpg

Does it hurt?

Short answer: Not really. Longer answer - I’m a BIG baby and told Reji from the beginning that I didn’t want to feel anything. Honestly, the threading at the beginning was the worst part, if that says anything! Ha! She put numbing cream on my eyebrows and during the first pass of three - I didn’t feel one thing. The second pass I started to feel a little bit of a burning feeling so Reji put more numbing cream on. I love that she took her time and was patient in allowing me to do that!

Do they use a needle to numb you?

I know I just mentioned this above but I got this question a lot! NO they don’t use a needle to numb - they use a CREAM. Score!

mblade9.jpg

What is the healing process / after care like?

Basically you can’t get your eyebrows wet or really touch them for 2 weeks. For the first week, I was instructed to apply a thin layer of ointment on my brows. It was a little annoying mainly because I couldn’t work out (due to sweating) but honestly - not terribly difficult and TOTALLY WORTH IT for two years of rockstar brows if you ask me!

How do they find your shape?

You can arrive with your eyebrows penciled in / shaped the way you prefer them. Reji did the “mapping” where she shapes them and draws them in with a pencil first to see how they look. Then I was able to look and we could tweak them together. She did them perfectly the first time - so I didn’t have to make any adjustments. She’s a pro :)

mblade4.jpg

What is the maintenance like after the two weeks?

There is a secondary visit 5-6 weeks after your first appointment. You can follow up with a yearly touch up or go beyond the year if you feel like they are still looking on point ;)

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

Please feel free to message me on Instagram if you have any questions!! If you want to check out Rejina’s instagram, you can click here!

xx,

Ashley





How To Travel With Your Three Year Old...

It’s that time of year again - Conference Tourney Time for my husband’s basketball team (Go NU!) and I’m heading back to Charleston with London for a few days! I have been looking forward to this trip with her ever since I booked the tickets in December .. and I think she is JUST as excited. Traveling with her is a blast - and we always have such a fun time together. This will be the 13th flight she has taken and each time gets better and better - probably because she’s getting a bit older! It’s like going on a little trip with my bestie!

I wanted to share some "must haves" when it comes to toddler travel… 3.5 years old is still considered “toddler” right? Let’s go with it :) I know traveling can feel stressful and exhausting at times, but I think if you try to make it as fun as possible than they will feed off of that energy. First things first...I highly recommend traveling with a BACK PACK as a carry-on and not a mini backpack…a pretty roomy one because you’re going to need ALL THE THINGS. That’s just the way I personally like to fly anyway because, better to be safe than sorry! I really love the Papago from J.J. Cole which we just got, this one by Skip Hop and if you’re looking for a cheaper version, this one is under $70.

The next thing that's a "must have" is a lightweight, compact, and easy to fold stroller. Our BABYZEN YOYO+ stroller is an actual lifesaver and I can't say enough about it. It's folds up in literally five seconds and is small enough to fit in the overhead compartment on the airplane. Once it's folded, it has a shoulder strap for easy carrying and it weighs just 15lbs. I can't tell you how many people comment on it when they see us fold it up or open it; just how easy it is! There's also a pretty convenient compartment underneath to store small items if needed. If you’re looking for a double stroller for two kiddos, we have been using the Chicco Bravofor2 LE Double stroller and really love it for the ease of folding/opening and the storage underneath!

charelston1.png

A few tips while you’re on the plane…

I typically like to time flights so they’re during London’s nap time. Now that she’s older I just booked the cheapest flights…which is nice :) She does still nap, but will be able to handle a missed nap for one day. Prior to flying, I alway hit the Target Dollar Bin for some activity books, sticker books, and anything small I can fit in my carry-on backpack for her. I pack a few of her favorite snacks, books, plane-friendly games, and of course – the iPad. Lo is old enough to understand how headphones work and she loves wearing them. I got these Mpow Kids Headphones for this trip - and they’re great. I also just downloaded ‘Starfall ABC’ to my iPad for our trip because it’s an educational game that you don’t need wi-fi to play…and it’s free!

Some snacks that I typically bring: granola bars, raisins, goldfish, apple sauce, pea crisps, graham crackers and I usually buy a banana and a cheese stick at Starbucks in the airport :)

Important tip: I highly suggest bringing a travel pack of Purell Sanitizing Wipes. It gives me peace of mind to wipe down the germ-infested airplane. I also bought the travel-sized Purell to attach to the strap of my backpack. I cannot tell you how many times I use this throughout the day when we travel!

I don’t leave home without…

Blackout shades; these are cheap paper shades that I always travel with. Actually I just keep them in my car. I use them when we stay at friend’s houses, hotels if needed, etc. They’re easy to fold and carry in your suitcase.

4Moms Travel Playard: Hands down, best ever and easiest set-up. It comes with a travel bag so we just usually check it in for the flight. I’ve struggled HARD with other pack n’ plays, but this one is absolutely AMAZING.

Sound Machine; Another thing I never travel without is this $20 plug-in sound spa. You never know what the noise level will be at the hotel so I prefer to make sure unnecessary things don’t wake my babes! Doesn’t take up a lot of room in your luggage either!


Lastly, as far as I’m concerned all bets are off when traveling. Screen time increases, the amount of snacks can go through the roof and I’m not above a good dum-dum lollipop bribe! You just do what you have to do, knowing that things will return back to normal as soon as you reach your destination! The moral of the story is to HAVE FUN and try to enjoy what can sometimes be a stressful experience, but doesn’t have to be!

I hope this is helpful for any of you that’ll be traveling with toddlers soon! Make sure to follow along on my Instagram to see our adventures over the next couple of days!

xx, Ashley

Winter Deals...

Happy Wednesday! I hope you’re all having the best week! Here are some cute styles on sale NOW!

xx, Ashley

How To Maintain Curls + Curly Hair Wash Routine...

Happy Wednesday!

I ran a poll on my IG stories last week asking if you all would like a mini tutorial on how I manage London’s hair and since 94% of you voted HECK YES … here it is! :)

It has taken me 3+ years to get to a place where I feel like I have somewhat of a clue when it comes to curly hair! I have completely straight hair so it’s definitely been a learning curve! I’m not an expert AT ALL so I’ve asked lots of questions about products, researched products, a little trial and error to see what works and I finally think we have a concoction that’s working right now!

locurls.jpg

I will mention that I basically harass Allysha from @HouseofTurcotte because her hair is AMAZING and she recommended the Shea Moisture product that we use….which we LOVE and makes a huge difference! If you have curly hair or curly-haired kids you should check her out :)

Here are the products that we currently use on London’s hair:

  1. Garnier Fructis Curl Nourish Shampoo

  2. Garnier Fructis Curl Nourish Conditioner

  3. Garnier Fructis Damage Repairing Treatment

  4. Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie

  5. Proclaim Olive Glossing Polish

hair4.jpg

Step 1: Wash / Condition

I typically wash London’s hair 2x a week. I found that if I washed it more it would dry it out, so twice seems to work well. I shampoo her hair once and condition it twice. I found that on the second pass of conditioner - if I use my wet brush while it’s wet and she’s still in the bath - I can brush the tangles out so much easier! The wet brush has been clutch - I love it. Sometimes I do the Leave-in mask for a few minutes after combing her hair and after the shampoo/conditioner, as the last step before I do a final rinse.

hair1.jpg

Step 2: Apply Smoothing Cream

I also took Allysha’s advice on this too and use one of Chris’s white t-shirts to wrap London’s hair in. I used to towel it off and it would make it really frizzy from the start - but the t-shirt works! Then I use the smoothing cream. I start at the root and usually work the cream in all the way to the ends. Lo’s ends can get frizzy so I make sure I add a bit more of the smoothing cream on those. I let that set for a few minutes and sometimes I’ll finish it off with a braid or just let it air dry.

hair3.jpg
hair5.jpg

Step 3: Apply Proclaim Glossing Polish

First off, this oil smells SO amazing. It has olive oil, for frizz and to make hair look super shiny. I put a nickle-size amount in my palms, rub them together and them work it all through London’s hair - typically from the bottom-half down to the ends.

hair2.jpg
hair6.jpg

I do typically braid her hair when she sleeps because it minimizes the tangles. In the morning, I’ll spritz it with a little water and add more of the Shea Moisture smoothie cream to bring her curls back to life! It seems like a lot of steps and sometimes it is - but we have it down to a little routine now and I feel like we’re getting the hang of it. If you have any more tips/tricks you’d like to share - please send them my way! I know a few people have recommended a silk pillowcase and I have one in my Amazon cart right now - I think that’ll help with tangles also.

Anyway - I hope you found this helpful in some way! Have a great week!

xx, Ashley

Getaway Style...

London and I leave for Charleston in just a few weeks!!! I’m so excited to have some one-on-one time with her and also to see Chris’s conference basketball tourney! Such a fun weekend!

We are also heading to Florida at the end of March so I’ve been shopping for swimsuits, cover ups, maxi dresses, and all of the fun “vacation wear!” I wanted to share a few things I’ve purchased and also some stuff that I have my eye on. Can it just be summer already?! Cravinggg warm weather….we’re always to Spring! Ahhh!

xx, Ashley

How '1-2-3 Magic' Worked For Us...

 
I got my eyebrows microbladed literally YESTERDAY sooo… don’t mind those ;)

I got my eyebrows microbladed literally YESTERDAY sooo… don’t mind those ;)

Happy Week of Loveee :)

I am one of those people that really LOVE Valentine’s Day and all the hearts, all the pink, and all the red! What better week than this one to talk about our favorite thing ever: Toddler Discipline. HA! Kidding…Eww. I know. It’s not fun - but I’m writing this post in hopes that it can help other parents who may need a new strategy or who feel like they’re walking on egg shells around their “threenager” like we did! This isn’t sponsored by “1-2-3- Magic” … and I highly suggest you get the book to read it for yourself … but I just want to share WHY we started using the techniques discussed and how it has worked or rather TRANSFORMED our home.

The WHY

As parents we have always tried to be super consistent with every aspect of our children’s lives. We are consistent with their routines at bedtime, at nap time … we were consistent with potty training … we are consistent when it comes to the morning routine, etc., and it’s all good because it works for us. There was one area that we weren’t being consistent in and that was in our approach to discipline. (i.e. are we doing time-outs? are we ignoring? are we just talking calmly? are we distracting?) For awhile it wasn’t much of an issue because London always cooperated and listened fairly well. We used the “distraction” method as long as we could - but when London neared 3.5, I was feeling pretty helpless. I had tried different tactics but none of them seemed to be working. London was starting to do things like slamming doors and saying disrespectful things to both Chris and I. I know, she’s 3 and that comes with the territory (somewhat), but I really felt like if we didn’t nip it now, it would get worse later and MORE THAN THAT…I’m NOT okay with anyone slamming doors in my face. Even though our doctor said “just ignore it; it’s normal toddler behavior,” I didn’t really want to ignore it. It seemed like I was getting into these power struggles with this tiny human leading to more and more meltdowns.

I had read a few books before this one about staying calm, ignoring tantrums, avoiding time outs and taking “time-ins,” speaking directly etc., some of which worked for half of the day… but by the end of most days, after I was exhausted from lectures and repeating myself, I would often lose my patience. I was raising my voice more often than I wanted, which never made me or London feel good. I was essentially crying to Chris every night when he got home and felt like I was failing at my “job” which feels absolutely TERRIBLE especially when your job is being a stay at home mom. I knew that we needed to find a way to fix this or we would all go literally insane!

HELLO Magic!

A few weeks back, I went to my alumni basketball weekend at the University of Maine and had the best time with some of my former teammates. A lot of us are now raising kids that are around the same age - and we started talking about some of the challenges that I was facing with London and the constant power struggles. That’s when my friend recommended the “1-2-3 Magic” book. I’m not going to lie, I was skeptical because like I said, I had read other books already that led me to lots of dead ends. After I listened to how it had transformed her household, I pretty quickly ordered it. Thank GOD I did.

I LOVE that this book, unlike the others I have read, actually gives you a consistent plan when it comes to discipline. Any behavior that you want to stop such as whining, disrespectful talk, hitting, throwing etc. can be “counted” using the 1,2,3 counting method that the book discusses! The first thing we did was sit London down and tell her that we have new “house rules.” The book instructs you on how to do this and the reason in doing it. I think it’s an important step because it shows that you and your spouse/partner are a united front and are both on board. We also did a dress rehearsal to demonstrate what it would mean if we counted to ‘3’ and she had to take a “time out.” (London thought it was hysterical to send Chris to our room for 3 minutes. Ha!) Also, we do three minute time-outs because Lo is 3 years old. She spent the next two days after our little house rules chat testing us to see if we were going to follow through. We did :)

An important part to this whole thing being successful is NO TALKING on the part of the caregiver. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT and it was REALLY hard for me at first. I was so used to lecturing / explaining WHY we don’t do something or say something that isn’t kind etc. It is also my favorite part of the entire process because by eliminating the talking - my days instantly became a lot less exhausting.

Just to give you an example of how this works…one thing that London would do that always seemed to DRIVE ME CRAZY was that whenever she got frustrated she would say “I don’t like you” to anyone that was around; could be me, a friend, her grandparents, a stranger … literally anyone. I tried putting her in time out anytime she said it, didn’t work. I tried ignoring it completely, didn’t work. I tried explaining to her that this hurts feelings and isn’t kind, DEFINITELY didn’t work … but for whatever reason - THIS WORKS. She has only said this once since we began this entire process - which is a major win!

For the purpose of this blog post, here is an example of how an exchange might go (there are LOTS of examples given in the book which really help too!)

London: “Mommy, can I have a cookie?”

Me: “Not right now. It’s too close to dinner time.”

London: “I want one now!”

Me: “That’s 1.” (said calmly and holding up one finger)

London: “I don’t like you, Mommy!”

Me: “That’s not kind. That’s 2.”

London: (yelling) “No!!!”

Me: “That’s 3, take 3.”

At this point ideally Lo would go to her room but if she doesn’t go on her own, I would calmly pick her up and put her in her room WITHOUT SAYING A WORD and start the timer for 3 minutes. When the timer is done I would go into her room and say, “timer is up!" and that’s IT. I wouldn’t lecture or explain why she got a time out … we start FRESH and move on like nothing happened. London is usually smiling saying “let’s read, Mom!” or even “I’m sorry Mom!” … it’s pretty amazing.

Here is another example of the same situation as above, except this time ending in a MOMMY WIN…

London: “Mommy, can I have a cookie?”

Me: “Not right now. It’s too close to dinner time.”

London: “I want one now!”

Me: “That’s 1.” (said calmly and holding up one finger)

London: “Okay, maybe I can have one after dinner!” (exits room)

The first example looks a lot like how things would have gone 2+ weeks ago before implementing this strategy. The second example is absolutely what happens now. Let it be known, I have definitely used this outside of our home as well. I’ve counted at the doctor’s office, at Target, at London’s preschool pick-up and in front of friends/family. If you’re worried about feeling embarrassed when counting in front of other people - throw that out the window. It’s pretty freaking awesome to be able to just say “that’s 1” to get your child to stop doing whatever it is you don’t want them to do.

Our house is definitely a more relaxed place and just calmer overall. London was certainly craving consistency in the area of discipline and we were totally NOT fulfilling her needs. I think children really crave boundaries and the meltdowns that London was having were almost a cry for help. She was frustrated, I was frustrated … and now I feel like my girl is back and we are completely enjoying our time together.

I wanted to share this with other parents because maybe you’re feeling a bit helpless like I did. Don’t lose hope. Parenting is really freaking hard…like REALLY hard. We are all just doing our best. Please take a peek at this book and let me know what you think. I truly hope it meets you where you are! As always, please message me here or DM me on Instagram and I will respond to you if you have any questions! Love y’all! Keep being amazing!!

mommysgirls.jpg

xx, Ashley

Target Try-On...

Since we live dangerously close to Target, I thought it would be fun to start doing “try-ons” for you guys! It’s like window shopping - since I actually can’t afford to buy all the cute clothes I want - I’ll just try them on and share them with you :) It’s a win-win! I am going to share another Target try on this weekend on my IG stories, and then I’ll post those here as well so you can shop! I did a poll on my IG and you guys voted that you wanted an Old Navy one too - so I am going to get on it :)

I have linked all of the items below each picture so you can click and shop - and I’ll put the prices as well because they’re super affordable!

Sports Bra: Joy Lab  ($20) / Leggings: Same as above!

Sports Bra: Joy Lab ($20) / Leggings: Same as above!

Sweatshirt  (This is AMAZING and oversized..which I love! I’m wearing a large! ($24.00)

Sweatshirt (This is AMAZING and oversized..which I love! I’m wearing a large! ($24.00)

 

xx, Ashley

Valentine's Day Outfit Inspo + 5 Date Night Ideas...

I personally LOVE Valentine’s Day - but Chris and I never do anything crazy or over the top. It’s an excuse for another date night, which we desperately need, so we’ll take it! We usually skip gifts and just grab dinner at our favorite restaurant. I thought it would be fun to come up with a few creative ideas for how to spend V-Day with your special someone this year!

Here are some ideas / ways you could celebrate!

  1. Take a dance class. This is something I’ve been wanting to do with Chris because we’ve never done it and I think it would be a really romantic/fun wait to connect! It doesn’t have to be a weekly thing - but maybe just a “one-off” if there is a studio in your area offering one class or something! I’m sure around Valentine’s Day you’d be able to find something like this…maybe a little ballroom class or salsa?! I’d love to learn that with Chris!

  2. Have a “date night” at home. Can’t get a sitter? Order take out, grab a bottle of wine and have a romantic dinner post-bedtime! Side note: If you live in the Belmont/Watertown area - we LOVE doing take-out from Cha Yen Thai Cookery! It’s our go-to spot and I highly HIGHLY recommend the Khao Soi Brisket with a nice bottle of red or a crisp white ;)

  3. Go out for a dessert sampler date and champagne. Skip dinner, go to your favorite restaurant (or one with the best desserts) and order every single one off the menu! This is right up my alley since I loveeee dessert so much - and I think Chris would really enjoy this too.

  4. Take a cooking class. I’ve been DYING to do this because I know there has to be amazing cooking classes in Boston! I think it would be super romantic to cook something together while drinking wine + then enjoy the masterpiece at the end. A private cooking class would be ideal - an for me, and Italian meal would be what I would go for :)

  5. Throw a Galentine’s Day bash! This is my personal favorite and probably something I may do this year considering Chris will be on the road for work! Target has the absolute CUTEST decorations to throw the perfect party for your girls. It would be fun to have a hot cocoa bar and obviously champagne while watching the girliest chick-flick ever created. My vote would be “To All The Boys I Loved Before” on Netflix. If you haven’t seen it…it’s a must-see!

    I’m always curious to know if y’all celebrate this holiday - because I know some people who just skip it all together. What do you guys do?!

xx, Ashley

Malia's 6 Month Update...

 
Lia6Months.jpg

It’s safe to say I’m kicking 2019 off with a bang and already forgetting to do a write-up on Malia’s 5th month! Second child problems! Honestly … there wasn’t much of a crazy change in her schedule in regards to sleeping/eating/playing etc. in her fifth month, so it kind of works out well that I’m skipping right to six :)

Malia actually turns 6 months today - so I’ll do a little update on where we are at now! She’s still a champion sleeper, is starting to engage so much with the world around her, sits up unassisted (which is a game changer), is eating solid foods and is just as cheerful as she’s ever been! We are so in love with her…honestly, SWEETEST BABY EVER. I’m sharing lots of info regarding her eating schedule now too, per request, so take a peek below :)

Sleeping

Liasleeping.jpg

Malia is still napping relatively well and sleeping through the night. We had about a week of bad naps and poor night sleep when she was sick with a cold, so it really made me realized just how spoiled we are by her amazing sleep habits on a normal basis. She is definitely able to stay awake longer before needing a second nap. I would say her wake times are about two hours…maybe 2 hours and 15 minutes. She is taking 2-3 naps a day, but typically still three with the third nap being the shortest a majority of the time. Her morning nap continues to consistently be the longest of the day (typically 1.5-2 hours), her second nap is anywhere from 45 minutes - 1.5 hours and her third nap, like I said, is about 30-40 minutes. (What can I say, this girl loves her sleep and I’m not complaining!) I’m sure in the coming weeks, we will have her nap just twice a day, but for now this seems to be working. Her bedtime is between 6:15pm - 6:45pm.

We put her down awake at every nap and at bedtime and I’ve found she is much more aware now that she’s older. She fusses a little bit sometimes, but usually not more than 10 minutes before falling asleep. I highly recommend that if you do nothing else sleep wise, that you start putting your baby down awake around 2-3 months old. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be and the more problems you will have. We basically sailed through the 4-month sleep regression because Malia was already consistently putting herself to sleep. The issues were extremely minimal and I know it was due to that. Trust me on this one…teaching them this skill is MAJOR and will help you so much in the long run!

Eating

I consistently share what my girls eat for their meals on my Instagram and ALWAYS get questions about it - especially concerning Malia. I’m not an expert by any means but I’m just sharing what seems to be working for us! This section will be a little longer than the others, because I want to try to be as thorough as possible!

I started purees with Lia around 4.5-5 months. I didn’t put too much pressure on it or have any expectations, I just kind of wanted her to start trying foods, learning to push foods to the back of her mouth and swallow, etc. I know a lot of people like to wait until 6 months with the Baby Led Weaning approach - but this is what we did with London and it worked out well for us so we stuck with it. We are still just doing one meal per day and always at 5pm when London and I eat dinner as well. When we started with just purees Malia typically would eat 1/2-1 jar and 1 Tablespoon of rice cereal at a sitting. Like I said, we did this for about a month or so - letting her just explore different tastes of different foods. Some days she would eat more and others she would eat less … I just took her lead :)

Recently (like, in the past week) I have started to give her more solid foods to try. For example, this week she gnawed on some broccoli and I fed her little pieces of salmon and sweet potato. She loved it all! She actually ate quite a bit of salmon too! I typically put it all in a plate, but she hasn’t quite figured out that instead of smooshing the foods in her hand she can bring them to her mouth - so I help her with my fingers or a spoon. If I remember correctly, London started around 7-8 months using her fingers and feeding herself. I would say just experiment with it and have fun! Let them explore different textures and let them get messy! Try not to get too stressed (I know that’s easier said than done) but keep in mind it is SO good for them to just explore. I love making mealtime a production i.e. when it takes 20-30 minutes I’m thrilled! It’s an activity and it takes up time, so that’s a win! The brand that we love is BeechNut (this is not an ad) and we also do Earth’s Best. I usually get them at Target or the grocery store.

Here are the foods that Malia has tried thus far (not purees): sweet potato, asparagus, avocado, banana, salmon, and broccoli. She has seemed to like all of it which makes me happy! I want to steam some carrots and also try zucchini with her next. I really like following @Feedinglittles on Instagram as a great resource!

Playing

Lia and Mommy.jpg

Lia has definitely been more interactive and expressive as of late. She is now in her stand-up activity saucer which keeps her entertained for a good 15 minutes at a time. She is starting to sit up unassisted which I’m so happy about. She seems to love books, especially ones with a “flap,” she loves to grab for toys/stuffies and of course she enjoys watching her big sister run around and play. She’s finding her voice and exploring all the ways she can make noises with her tongue and lips. It’s so cute to watch. I also just bought a bathtub seat for her which is seriously the best - and I’m so mad that I didn’t buy it sooner! I’ve been able to put the girls in the bath together this week and it’s made life so much easier! They both LOVE it. All baths have been 25-30 minutes long so that’s also a win.

If I remember from London’s first year, SO much happens between 7-9 months and I recall loving those ages. Crawling is next and then comes pulling up and eventually walking - and I’m just so excited for it all. At the same time, I want time to slow down because I can’t believe my baby is already half a year old! It doesn’t seem possible.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Let me know if you’d like me to work on any specific posts coming up - you can comment on my latest Instagram post and I’ll see it there :) Love you all!

xx, Ashley

Galentine's Day Gifts under $30...

I loveeee celebrating Valentine’s Day! I am a sucker for all the pink, red, hearts, and LOVE. I know a lot of people who feel differently about all the hype and don’t really celebrate it at all. To each their own! I do LOVE the idea of a fun Galentine’s Day party! What would be more fun than having a cute “girls night” in honor of the holiday to show your girlfriends some love! I think it would be soooo much fun! I’m sharing some gift ideas for the lovely ladies in your life and they’re all under $30! Enjoy! XO!

xx, Ashley

Cozy Winter...

 

xx, Ashley

A Letter To My Second Born...

 
IMG_7672.JPG

My Malia Skye,

You are already almost half a year old. It has been 167 days of “getting to know you” my sweet girl…and it has been every bit as glorious as one could imagine. I am going to cry through writing this letter to you, my very first one, but I want to be able to express all of the love I have in my heart for you!

Before you were born it was just Daddy, your big sister and I. I was nervous about our dynamic changing and the big transition we would encounter when becoming a family of four. As soon as they placed you on my chest, every fear or feeling of anxiousness dissipated. It was like you had been with us all along. Every day from that moment forward you have continued to bless us with your sweet disposition and your contagious smile. You are truly the happiest baby and you make life EASY for me; for that I am eternally grateful. When we looked up the meaning of your name, “calm and gentle waters,” it could not be more fitting. You embody that in every way; you have a calming presence and an ease about you that is evident and always commented on by anyone that meets you.

I am so blessed to be your Mom.

I am sorry that far too often you get the short end of the stick when it comes to time and attention from me. The day gets bombarded with a never ending “to-do” list and your sister needs lots of love too. Thank you for being patient. So many times you’re watching me from the playroom while I’m running around the kitchen making dinner feeling like I should be reading to you or playing with you … and our eyes meet. You give me the sweetest side smile and time stands still. In that moment I feel like you really “see” me to my soul…and it’s almost like you’re saying “I’m ok, Mommy. I’m good.” Thank you for the unspoken understanding that you give to me. I live for your little smiles that melt my heart into a giant puddle.

I was already someone’s mommy when you came into the world, but you made me a better one. Just know, you were the missing piece that completed our little family.

Loving you is easy, Miss Malia. I will love you with every part of my heart forever…

Mommy xx

Skincare / Beauty Products I Love...

 
makeup1.jpg

Clearly “skincare” is taking over thus far in 2019, but I’m a month away from ‘34’ and mama needs to make sure her skin is looking right! :)

I am sharing the skincare products that I use and below that - the makeup for each part of my face! I have been implementing a lot of the Honest Company’s beauty products into my everyday routine lately. I did a full review on their beauty line here if you want to check that out!

Skincare

I’ve been using the Neutrogena Rapid Repair line since I went to the Neutrogena U event in Boston this past fall. I’m obsessed with the entire line especially the moisturizing cream. It’s thick and I love putting it on after the oil - makes my skin incredibly smooth and soft. I am a fan of The Honest Company’s facial oil as well - LOVE the smell of this!

Face

For a natural everyday look when I plan to see just my kids all day (and maybe London’s preschool teachers), I’ll put on my Bare Minerals matte powder and under eye concealer. If I’m going out to on a date with my hubby then I’ll wear something with more coverage like concealer. I have shared my favorites below - but my all-time favorite’s are Make Up Forever and L’Oreal!

Bronzer / Blush

I have been using the Hourglass bronzer for a few months now and really love it. It’s golden / illuminating! I also use the cream blush by The Honest Company and love how it gives my cheeks naturally pink! I linked my bronzer brush that I use, which is literally $2.99 from Target and works just as well as the expensive ones from Sephora.

Eyes / Brows

For the eyes, I love the Mac liner, Naked palette from Sephora for every day and the palette from The Honest Company, which I shared below as well! For my brows, I swear by Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz to line the brow perfectly and I love the tinted brow gel to fill them in!

Lips

If you’ve been following me for any amount of time you know I’m a GIANT fan of the Sephora lip stains. There are SO many colors to choose from - but I love the Nude Blush and Always Red. Those are my faves. I am obsessed with the Honest Company lip crayons - both the matte and the sheer. They’re super moisturizing and really natural.

xx, Ashley

Baby Favorites...

Hey guys! I’m committing to blogging more in 2019! The past few months have been so hectic, I don’t feel like I’ve been delivering my best content or as much content as I would like!

Today’s post and yesterday’s post is more of the things you can expect … more motherhood + lifestyle since that’s just fitting my life these days and seems to make sense :) I always get questions about my favorite products for baby and even though I’ve done a similar post with “mommy must have’s” I feel like today’s post offers a little more detail about each product and WHY I love them so much. If you have any questions - please comment on my latest Instagram post! I’m more likely to see it there and I will get back to you!

xx, Ashley

Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale...

Hey all!

I’m sharing my favorites from the Nordstrom half-year sale! A lot of things are selling out fast…so make sure you grab whatever you like NOW! Happy shopping!

xx, Ashley

Honest Product Review...

 
Makeup: Wearing the cream blush, “Blossom” lip crayon and Mascara - by The Honest Company

Makeup: Wearing the cream blush, “Blossom” lip crayon and Mascara - by The Honest Company

I’ve gotten so many questions on my IG about how I like the The Honest Company beauty products! This blog post is totally not sponsored - I just wanted to share some clean, natural beauty products with you guys because you’ve been asking…and I want to make content that you actually care about :)

So…The Honest Company reached out to me (still pinching myself) and said they wanted to send me some products from their beauty line to which I said YES PLEASE! I already use their diapers, wipes, lotion, bubble bath, and shampoo (for Malia) anyway - so I thought it would be fun to try some stuff for myself! I’m really impressed with their skincare and makeup so below you’ll find a list of the products that I’ve tried and I’ll link them so you can shop!

  1. Everyday Primer Matte: I’m not sure how I feel about this one. The consistency is a bit thick compared to what I’m used too. I typically use the Sephora brand primer and it’s pretty lightweight. I must say, I do think it preps your skin well and the smell is very “earthy” which I also like! Again, the verdict is still out - but I’ve used it twice under my tinted moisturizer and foundation and it seems to prep my face well without giving any extra oil!

  2. Cream Blush: I’ve never used a cream blush before but I actually LOVE it. It’s a really soft pink (“rose pink”) and blends really well without leaving your skin feeling super oily! I’m wearing it in the above photo. ($12.99)

  3. Organic Beauty Face Oil: Speaking of oil … OBSESSED. I never thought I would be one to jump on the “face oil” bandwagon but I’m sold. This stuff is actual GOLD. I love how it makes my skin feel when I apply it in the morning and evening before bed. Since it’s winter and everything is extra dry, I feel like my face just soaks it up immediately. I’ve noticed a total difference in how vibrant my skin looks since using this! HIGHLY recommend! ($27)

  4. Mascara + Primer: I am the queen of cheap mascara’s because I feel like I’ve tried a lot of the expensive ones and they either don’t work or they make my eyes / lash line itchy! (Anyone else have that problem?!) Not only does this mascara/primer duo lengthen your lashes and make them look fab, but it’s also affordable so, YAY! ($14.99)

  5. Lip Crayons: YES YES YES! So much yes. Again, because they sent these to me I had never tried a lip crayon and mainly used stains. I absolutely LOVE their lip crayons because you can apply them heavy or light, depending what look you’re going for. They make my lips feel moisturized too, which is an added bonus. The Demi-Matte lip crayons are great because they’re more pigmented for a night out (I love “Blossom”), but I use the Lush Sheer crayons for my natural / every day look. ($12)

  6. Make Up Wipes: I’m not going to lie, I just used these for the first time last night but they did remove a full face of makeup! I’m a big fan of make up wipes in general, but sometimes the scent is too strong so I really like that these have a pretty muted smell! ($3.99)

  7. Eyeshadow Palette: I was VERY excited about this palette - which I shared on Insta-stories. I can’t believe its under $20! The colors are so rich and beautiful and I’ve used it every day since I received it. Highly recommend you snag this up! ($19.99)

    *I also received the “Elevated Hydration Mist” which seems like it would be GREAT for cold, dry winter months. I haven’t used this yet, so I can’t really give a review!

xx, Ashley

New Year's Resolution...

I think resolutions are silly and they always seem to fade away shortly after making them … BUT, I am hopping on the bandwagon and making ONE resolution this year. Are you ready for it?! It’s a real shocker… my resolution is to…

WORK OUT CONSISTENTLY

I have found myself saying recently “I’m going to work out consistently in the new year…that’s my goal.” For whatever reason, every cookie I ate (and there were a lot of them) over Christmas was followed with this internal thought of “I’m going to work out in 2019.” I was getting back to my workouts for a bit, but after Malia got sick and I missed a solid week - I fell off the wagon again! It’s always easy to do anytime you have sick kiddos and honestly, I’m just not as motivated when I’m functioning on very little sleep.

My husband got me 10 & 15-lb weights and a stability ball as one of my Christmas presents and I was so happy because I’ve been needing them. I want to start a lifting program from home because it’s more realistic for me at this season of my life. I’d love to go to the gym and I know I’ll get back there, it’s just not going to happen consistently right now so I’d rather not spend the money on a membership! So…I’m vowing to work out consistently and maybe by posting this blog, I’ll be able to stick to that! The word “consistently” has a different meaning now than it did pre-kids. I used to workout 5-6 times a week but now, I’m happy with 3-4 times a week..I think that’s a realistic goal. I’m also vowing to get up early to work out. I was doing this for a bit and it was AMAZING. I would get up at 6AM and sneak a quick workout and shower in before the girls woke up! I loved it for two reasons: 1. my workout was done for the day and I didn’t have it looming over my head, and 2. I was super energized! After a little morning “me” time, I felt awake and ready to take on the day, so - I’m going to get back to that!

Anyway - I wish you all a happy and healthy NEW YEAR! It has been such a magical year for us as a family…so we will see if we can top it in 2019! Love to you all - and thank you for following along!

xx, Ashley

NYE Dresses...

It’s almost the new year! Snag some last minute dresses from Nordstrom (two-day shipping) and Express to ring in 2019! I’m sharing some of my favorites plus a few jumpsuits which are SO adorable. Enjoy!

xx, Ashley

Last Minute Stocking Stuffers...

 
Maliastocking.jpg

This little stocking stuffer is not included on my “last minute” list … but seriously you guys, I couldn’t help myself! Also, the fact that she fits in her own stocking is proof that I ordered them WAY too big … how am I ever going to fill this thing?! Ha!

I do love that we all have these matching classic velvet stockings though - I just would recommend ordering a small or medium size. They’re from Pottery Barn and I ordered them when I was pregnant with London! We monogrammed them to say “Daddy, Mommy, London” .. now we just need to get Malia’s embroidered! I love them and they’re currently on sale, just FYI!

I cannot believe Christmas is 7 days away! AHHHH! I’m freaking out! I have so many last minute things to grab - so if you’re anything like me - I thought I’d share some ideas to help you. These are inexpensive and perfect to stuff the stocking with or just TREAT YOURSELF (my other favorite thing to do!)

Make sure you scroll ALL the way to the bottom because the last item is my FAVORITE. Hint: It has to do with WINE :) Happy shopping!

xx, Ashley