Moms Day Out...

 
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Last weekend I got a chance to spend quality time with some of my favorite mamas sans-kids for a fun "Moms Day Out" experience! We spent the morning/early afternoon together - enjoying an amazing Core Cycle class at Exhale Boston Battery Wharf and then headed over for a fun brunch at State Street Provisions! It was the perfect Boston day that was MUCH needed for all of us!

Exhale has a GORGEOUS space and spa. I had been to the location in the Back Bay, but really loved the fact that this was part of Battery Wharf Hotel oh, and the valet parking (which you can get validated at the gym). We took the new Core Cycle class and it was amazing! I haven't done a spin class in months, so it felt great to sweat it out for 45 heart-pumping minutes. Our instructor Erin was super motivating and once she shut the lights off and cranked up the music the energy was electric! We were all dripping sweat, but it felt awesome.

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We also got SO many compliments on our matching shirts from Jam Threads (which you can see above!) It was a cute little touch that just made our day even that much more fun! Also, not only are they super cute but the material is so soft; all of the ladies said the same thing! Cute + comfy, for the win!

After class, we were able to take advantage of the beautiful deluxe full-service spa that Exhale has to offer! They provide you with plush bath robes and comfortable slides, and even if you're not booked for a service you're able to use their sauna, detoxifying hammam, the "quiet spa lounge," and rain showers (complete with heated towel racks!) I think the calming zen lounge was super appealing to us mama's, since we all have toddlers :) We enjoyed sipping tea, lemon-infused water and just looking at magazines. A few of the girls LOVED the sauna, which I sadly had to skip because...pregnant! I did take the longest, most luxurious shower I've had in awhile, using the shampoo/conditioner and body wash provided! There are lots of other amenities too such as body butter, hair spray, hair dryers and even mini straighteners to use if needed! We spent over an hour just relaxing and it was incredible. We will definitely be back to enjoy another class/spa experience soon!

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After an intense workout, we were so ready for our yummy brunch at State Street Provisions! The restaurant has a chill vibe and also a large fully-stocked bar! They made me the yummiest "mocktail" and the other girls loved their hand-crafted drinks. The brunch menu is super diverse and it took us quite awhile to decide what we wanted because EVERYTHING sounded so good! I highly recommend the burger served on an english muffin; it was absolutely delicious! We were also surprised with a little dessert from the chef - a cappuccino mousse with orange and almond biscotti. It was the perfect ending to our meal...I think we nearly licked the plate clean :) Not only is the food incredible, but the location is perfect! It's right around the corner from the New England Aquarium, across the street from Faneuil Hall, and walking distance to TD Garden! 

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We had such a refreshing day hanging out in our city and enjoying some "kid-free" mommy time! What are some things that make you feel refreshed?! 

xx, Ashley 

Special thanks to Jam Threads, Exhale, and State Street Provisions to helping to make this day so much fun! 

Mama + Me Class: Coolidge Corner Yoga...

Being that I'm a stay at home mommy to London, I think it's so important that I integrate classes in our schedule so that she can be around other children her age! It's also fun to try new things with her and I always seem to meet some pretty fantastic mama's I can relate to as well. We've been taking a music class together since she was 6 months old, but I also wanted to do something active - especially during these cold winter months - to burn off some of that toddler energy! I began researching places in the Greater Boston area and stumbled upon Coolidge Corner Yoga in Brookline! I was so excited when I found that they offered a "Toddler Yoga" class for children up to 3.5 years old. London is super energetic and I like to be active too - so I thought this sounded like something fun to try together...and it was!

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Our teacher, Joanne was super laid back, patient, and engaging (all great qualities to have when dealing with a bunch of toddlers!) The "hello song" that kicked off every class was one that all of the kids seem to enjoy; "Om, London, celebrate London, sing it with an open and a joyful heart..." What a wonderful message - I just loved it and around week 5, London started singing it at home to all of her stuffed animals. Super cute! Joanne led us through some really fun partner poses that we could try with our little ones. Sometimes Lo was really into trying and sometimes she just wanted to run around the room - which was totally fine too! Either way, we were reaping the benefits; I was getting a stretch in and London was burning energy. Also, even though she was running around the room, I knew that she was still listening and observing which is still a win!  

There were a few signature things that Lo looked forward to every class...

1. Animal Puppets. Each class, Miss Joanne would bring a different collection of animal puppets and the kids would go crazy for them! There were poses associated with each animal, which was also really fun. I think London's favorite was the lion :) 

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2. "Down dog at the wall...bat pose" was another favorite class moment. I was so excited the first time London did it! The first few weeks she just took it all in and observed, but by the 3rd week she was doing it on her own and you could tell she felt very accomplished :) 

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3. The cool down. I think this might have been London's absolute favorite part. With the lights dim and the soft music playing, Lo would lie on her mat and ask me to rub her back. She waited patiently for Miss Joanne to come around and rub lotion on her feet. She would be offered strawberry or banana scented lotion (sometimes chocolate) and London would always say "I'd like strawberry AND banana lotion." I thought this was super cute and unique way to calm the kids down and also such a good sensory exercise that they all really loved. 

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I would highly recommend trying this class if you live in the Boston area! It will certainly nourish your child's budding imagination and will be lots of fun for him/her! There are also classes offered for children in other age groups as well and you can learn more about those here. It's worth mentioning that CCY has a sister-studio, Sadhana, in the South End neighborhood of Boston so totally check that out if geographically that makes more sense for your family. They also offer classes suitable for the whole family! As always, if you have any questions about the class - please leave them in the comments below and I'd be happy to answer! Thanks for stopping by! 

xx, 

Ashley 

Spring Staycation: The Colonnade HOTEL, Boston

Last weekend, our little family decided to book a "stay-cation" in downtown Boston and stayed at The Colonnade Hotel. Even though we were there for less than 24-hours we had SUCH an amazing time and didn't want to leave! I wanted to give you guys a little recap of our stay and a review of the hotel! I'll just start by saying how friendly and hospitable everyone was! They gave us such a warm welcome and made us feel right at home. London had a great time running around the lobby, making friends with hotel staff! They really went above and beyond to make our stay perfect! 

Location, Location, Location

The Colonnade is located in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston, walking distance to many of the city's signature landmarks such as the Prudential Center (across the street), the Public Garden, Newbury Street, Fenway Park, and much more! We used to live in Bay Village, a small neighborhood nestled between Back Bay and the South End ... so this area is very familiar to us. Boston is such a walkable city so it's super fun to stroll around taking in all that it has to offer!

The Room

Our room was enormous! We had a two-bedroom suite complete with a dining area and massive bathroom! Everything was meticulously clean, which is always appreciated! The windows run floor to ceiling with an incredible view of the city so I think this was London's favorite part; she loved watching the buses and trolley's drive by from nine floors up! The beds were beyond comfortable...I slept so well until London gave me an early Mother's Day gift by waking up at 5:30am...she just must have been having too much fun, right?! :) 

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The Amenities

Three words...Roof Top Pool. The Colonnade is the only hotel in the city with an outdoor Roof Top Pool and it's pretty glorious. Two years ago, 9 months pregnant with London, my husband and I spent a day there poolside and it was amazing. It doesn't feel like you're in the middle of a bustling city when you're twelve stories up on a roof top! I definitely want to bring Lo there when it opens at the end of this month - she'd love it! There are private cabanas, daybeds and full-menu food service offered poolside all day long as well! The fitness center, 24-hour business center, and French restaurant Brasserie Jo are three more reasons why this hotel is perfect for your city stay!

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The Food

Speaking of food, Brasserie Jo is the restaurant located right inside the hotel. The menu is expansive so there's plenty to choose from and lots that even your kids would enjoy! They're very kid-friendly with highchairs, crayons for coloring and cute kids cups! We were there for Mother's Day - so they had a special buffet with food stations, a live jazz band, and "mums for Mum!" Very cute! They also brought Chris and I rose water hibiscus mimosas...and I just about died - SO YUMMY! We also loved how friendly everyone was, from the hostess to the waitstaff and even the head chef, who came to speak to us at our table. They really go above and beyond to make your stay as a whole, memorable! 

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If you're coming to Boston from near (like us!) or far, The Colonnade is the perfect place to stay while you explore everything that the city has to offer! We thoroughly enjoyed our quickie getaway, and hope to return soon so we can enjoy the pool! Highly recommend paying a visit!

Here are more photos from our overnight stay and you can shop my outfits below as well!

xx, Ashley 

 

 

 

 

Summer Lovin...

The weather yesterday was totally giving me summer vibes, and I'm trying to soak it up as much as possible. We enjoyed some family time outside and basked in as much sun as we could. Oh, and did I mention shopping? Yes, I did a little of that too. I have dress envy for all the cute summer looks out right now. I'm realllllly good at window shopping (my husband begs to differ)...so I have chosen some of my favorite dresses currently. They're not to tough on the budget either - which is always a plus! Shop the looks above & let me know your favorite brands for all things summer as well!

xx,

Ashley

One Boston Day

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My Outfit: Sweater: Adrianna Papell, old (similar here) | Jeans: HM | Shoes: Nike, love these | Sunglasses: Dolce & Gabbana, on sale here | 

It's the day of the Boston Marathon & the city is totally bustling with more life and energy then ever! Lo, my sister and I ventured around our old neighborhood, Bay Village, taking in its beauty. I love the beautiful brick row houses, intricate designs, and wildly painted doors! I found a few favorites and of course, we snapped away! The day was perfect, with lots of sunshine. Here's wishing everyone participating in the marathon a safe and happy time ... enjoy this beautiful city! 

xx,

Ashley

Just Keep Swimming...Just Keep Swimming...

Our first vacation as a family of three is fast approaching and naturally, we are so anxious and excited! Anxious (frightened) to see how London does on the plane, and excited to be together for seven straight days! We will be staying near the ocean and also at a spot with a pool...so this past Sunday we decided it would be a good idea to acclimate London to the water a bit! She was first introduced to a pool at 7 weeks, and loved it, but I didn't know how she would do now that she's 9 months old! Our gym has "family swim," so we tried it out and well, we have a little fishy on our hands! She was skeptical at first, for maaaaybe 5 minutes, but then she was splashing around, smacking the water and kicking her little legs! We had so much fun with her and can't wait to go again! I don't think we will have any trouble on vacation ... London and the water seem to get along just fine! Here are a few pictures from our family swim!

My swimsuit: Marc by Marc Jacobs

London's swimsuit: Little Me

INSTAGRAM GIVEAWAY!

I've partnered up with Little Beans Clothing to give my Instagram followers a chance to win a $25 shop credit to snag some of the cutest mommy & baby apparel!

To enter, here's what you do:

>  Follow @AshleyMarkwood & @LittleBeans_Co

>  Like the photo posted with the giveaway

*Please tag some friends who you think would like to enter! The giveaway closes in 48 hours!

 

Why I'm totally #TeamLittleBeans:

I love meeting fellow mommy's that are so inspirational and motivate me to chase my dreams! Stephanie, the owner/creator, it not only extremely talented - she's also super sweet!  I'm all about graphic tee's that are witty and just REAL ... so when I came across this company, it was a match made in heaven. Her designs are unique and there's something for everyone; moms, dads, boys, girls, toddlers & babies ... I love the variety!

I hope you all enter this Instagram  giveaway for a chance to win! Below are some of my favorite pieces from the online shop!

xx,

Ashley

 

Oh, Miss Shirley...

During my recent trip to Baltimore, I had my heart set on being super "touristy." I wanted to explore the inner harbor ... try lots of great restaurants ... visit the aquarium, you know, be THAT person. First on my list was to check out "Miss Shirleys Cafe" ... a famous spot that was featured on the Food Network show "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives." It was my intention to eat here ONCE you guys .... just once. Well, Miss Shirley and I became besties by the end of my 3-day stay in Baltimore because I went there EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I don't regret it one bit. When I step on the scale I might ... but I don't plan on doing that for awhile so for now, I'm going to just dream about every last bite. I'll be a gem jerk and share some photos with you ... so you can salivate a little, but mostly so you can understand (and not judge) my decision.

(**The last two photos are from Miss Shirley's site! But they are true to the photo - served up just beautifully!)
Miss Shirleys

Miss Shirleys

fried green tomatoes

fried green tomatoes

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Toscanini's...Best of Boston!

Some believe it to be the best in the world (yes, world), and every list of "Boston's Best" includes this family-owned ice cream shop! Toscanini's has been part of my own "must try" list for some time now, created back when Chris and I first moved to Boston. Over the weekend, we finally ventured to Cambridge to see what all the fuss was about. 
To start, ALL of the ice cream is homemade right at the shop. They have been making ice cream every morning since 1986! Flavors like "burnt caramel" and "belgian chocolate" are mainstays, but there are always new ones in the rotation. An added bonus is that the toppings like whipped cream, chocolate sauce and butterscotch sauce are homemade as well! I can highly recommend the flavors "Butter Almond" and "CookiesXCreme" because Chris and I went with those - and they were amazing! I hope you all get a chance to check this place out if you ever come to the Boston area. It's definitely worth the extra calories :) 
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Magical Newport Weekend, Part I

I hope everyone had a happy Easter celebrating the Resurrection! 
Chris and I were able to get away for a long weekend - and it was just as the title says...magical. Newport, RI is such a little slice of heaven, right in our backyard. After only a 75 minute drive, we arrived in this charming seaside town and were checking into our selected bed & breakfast, The Hydrangea House. We absolutely LOVE b&b's, and this spot was perfect for us. I can't say enough about the hosts, Grant and Dennis, who went above and beyond to make our stay extra special. We had turn-down service at night with cookies left on our pillows, wine and cheese in the afternoon, and the breakfast was OUT OF THIS WORLD. Each morning we couldn't wait to see what they had prepared for us...and it was nothing short of gourmet status. Bread pudding french toast with Vermont maple syrup, homemade glazed apple turnovers, oven baked bacon, raspberry pancake fritters, orange zest yogurt mousse...the list goes on and on. According to Chris, I put on a "legendary" performance at breakfast :)  It was quite funny actually, there were four other pregnant women (myself included) staying at the inn this past weekend! Three were due in June. You'd think there was some sort of "expectant mother special" going on, but it was all by coincidence! 
Anyway, I highly recommend a stay at the Hydrangea House ... even if it's just for a night of two. Below is a photo of the dining room (I was terrible with my camera this weekend) so just take my word for it...you would absolutely LOVE this b&b...especially the quaint rooms and fantastic breakfast! 
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Friday Five

Is it Friday already? This week has gone by in the flash, but I'm not complaining. It's been a week of discovery for me as I learn to adapt to my growing body and work out the kinks in classes like prenatal yoga and coconut oil massages. I also started reading a new book "Bringing Up Bebe" and I'm finding it rather entertaining. I hope you all had an amazingly fulfilled week! XX!

 

One // ILY Couture "donut tee"

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Two // Multi layer necklaces...Wildflower Shop

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Three // Wood prints...*swoon*
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Four // Cinnamon bun pancake cravings...

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Five // My new read...

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