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!!

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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!

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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 :)

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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 ;)

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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





Malia Skye: Birth Story...

 
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It's been the most magical week and five days since little Malia Skye entered our world! She fits so seamlessly into our family, as if we've known her all along. I've called her a "unicorn baby" many times because of her sweet disposition and champion sleep habits. Big sister London has been a champ as well. We had no idea what to expect but I must say, we have been so pleasantly surprised and she has exceeded our expectations. Watching London take on her new role with enthusiasm is a big reason why this past week has been as amazing as it has been. I'm just so proud of her. Of course, she has her moments because it is after all a massive transition - but overall, it's been a pretty smooth adjustment :)

I wanted to share Malia's birth story because I've gotten lots and LOTS of questions on Instagram about being induced (i.e. why, how it was, etc.), whether I got an epidural or not (I DID!), if I'm breastfeeding (NOPE!), and more - so I thought I'd put it all here :) 

The Induction

Both of our babies were born on their due dates because we decided (in conjunction with our doctor) that we would be induced. With London, honestly, a lot of it came down to timing and Chris' job. He travels basically the entire month of July, and since London's due date was July 1st, our doctor suggested we be induced. She knew mommy + baby were both healthy at 40 weeks and that I was pretty stressed about Chris being gone so soon after the birth. We were all for it considering we could plan the time/day of induction and plan with our family so they could be here to experience it!

Fast forward to July 25th - which was Malia's due date - and we found ourselves with a planned induction once again. A lot of people asked me why we chose to be induced...and my answer was kind of like "why not?" We had the most amazing birth experience being induced with London and I wanted a similar experience this time around as well. I asked my doctor the same question and she sort of had a similar answer like, "why wouldn't you be?!" I trust her 100%. She is incredible; has been doing this for 30+ years and delivered over 6,000 babies! We absolutely adore her, so when she said we could do another planned induction we were all for it.We were scheduled to check into Brigham and Women's at 9:30AM. When we arrived they took my vital signs, did the necessary paperwork and got us onto the floor pretty quickly! My sister arrived for the fun around 11AM, just after my nurse (who was amazing by the way!) started my IV. I don't know why, but getting the IV started was something I was most nervous about...I think I'm crazy ha! Anyway, once that was in place we just hung out for awhile until Dr. Bunnell (my doctor) came to check on us and run through how the day would progress. We were all so excited to get the show on the road and meet our girl! They started me on Pitocin around 1pm (the same time they started me with Lo!) and from there they kept increasing the drip until come 6pm, my contractions were lasting 45 seconds and about 1 min, 20 seconds apart. 

The Epidural

I waited pretty long (I think) to ask for my epidural and maybe even wish I had asked for it sooner. Holding completely still so they could place the catheter in my back while simultaneously having contractions was less than fun. Not to mention, the resident had a difficult time finding the right "space" and by the end it took prob 20 minutes and I was dripping in sweat. It also took about a half hour for the epidural to kick in and even then, I didn't fully cover the pain. In fact, I started feeling CRAZY pelvic pressure shortly after and called my nurse in around 7pm. My exact quote was "why am I feeling this? I don't want to feel anything!" My doctor came in and checked me and said as calm as could be, "well, I think we could push once and have a baby!" I'll never forget the feeling I got when she said that! I just wasn't expecting it and it was like a huge rush came over me. I instantly started shaking with adrenaline and Chris and my sister were SO excited. We just couldn't believe it all happened so fast! 

The Birth

Malia's actual delivery really was in fact, one push. I pushed for a whopping 7 minutes with London, and this time (according to my doctor) it was 45 seconds and through one contraction. There's no rhyme or reason but my doctor tells me I'm made to have babies...who knew?! Either way, I'll take it! Malia Skye entered the world at 7:13pm weighing in at 7 lbs, 6 oz and measuring 21.5 inches long! She looked SO much like London when she came out with her slanted eyes and squished nose...Chris and I felt like we were having deja vu! Her fingers and feet were so long - we noticed right away and the nurse even measured her foot! It was 4 inches! Ha! She also didn't make a PEEP when she came out. No crying, whimpering, nothing. At first I was worried, but no one else seemed concerned at all, so we just went with it. She didn't actually make a sound for about three hours. Her name is Hawaiian, meaning "calm and gentle waters" and I just kept saying that she totally lives up to her name. I still feel that way 12 days later.

The post-birth snuggles are so magical. I felt like this time around I was able to be so much more present and really soak in the moment. It was beautiful and I will cherish it forever. Every fear I had about making space in my heart for baby number two went completely out the window the moment I pulled Malia onto my chest. It was like I had known her my whole life and she had always been part of our family. She has captured our hearts in so many ways and we just feel so blessed to have two sweet, beautiful girls to love and spoil forever! 

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Thank you all for your incredible love and support! Your messages were read and noted ... and even though we couldn't respond to every single one, we felt them all! It's so fun sharing this journey with you all - especially beautiful moments like these!

xx, Ashley 

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What's In My Bag: Part II...

 
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It's BABY WEEK! 

I can't believe we will actually be meeting our sweet girl in just a few days! It's SO surreal and we couldn't be more excited/anxious/nervous/ALL of the above! As promised, I wanted to share what I packed in my bag for the hospital! When we had London, I made it a point not to overpack and was pleasantly surprised because I felt like the hospital really had a lot that we needed.

I'll start with what I put in my diaper bag:

- Baby Markwood's "going home" outfit

- Birth Plan (I did this last time too and gave it to my L&D nurse when we arrived for our induction)

- Swaddle blanket from Copper Pearl (We got this one!) 

- Wubbanub paci plus a regular paci (probably not necessary, but, I packed them mostly for the days after we get home anyway)

- Newborn diapers, wipes, changing pad (again, probably not necessary)

- Letter board for baby announcement (under $16!)

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Now I'm going to list the things that I brought in my own bag ... which is actually a small tote from Target.

- Toiletries / make up bag (yes, I put make up on the first time around too - it made me feel like a human ... so I plan to bring it again!)

- Sports Bra / comfortable bra for post-birth 

- Underwear (literally could do without this...you'll end up wearing the super-attractive mesh underwear provided by the hospital because they're SO COMFORTABLE) 

- Bathrobe; I am bringing this floral robe for photos but also a warmer one with long sleeves because hospitals are always cold!) 

- Pajamas with buttons, I have this in gray and it's the BEST! Here is the shorts/top version (only $35 for the set!; I say "with buttons" because obviously if you're breast feeding it's easier...but also it's easier for skin to skin with your new baby, which is the best ever!) 

- Phone/Phone Charger for ALL the pics and/or a video camera

- Your pillow from home; I'm SO glad I brought my own pillow the first time around. It was so much more comfortable and I picked my own cute pillowcase for photos :) 

- Comfortable/roomy "going home" outfit; I opted for this Daisy Cami Maxi from Forever 21 that is loose fitting because let's be honest, you're not going to feel your absolute best!

I totally suggest making a small list of things you can't forget but also can't pack until you're just about to leave for the hospital! For me this was: phone, phone charger, toiletries, make up bag, and pillow! I strongly advise against overpacking. You'll have enough to worry about, but packing the car with 5 large bags shouldn't be one of them! I think if you want to bring a diaper bag, great - but if you can fit the baby's stuff with your stuff, that's fine too!

I hope this helped any parents-to-be! I'll make sure to post some updates / baby Markwood's birth story soon! If you want to follow along even closer, check my Instagram stories!

xx,

Ashley 

Family Shoot...

 
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We did a family shoot a few weekends back with our dear friend, Patty with Kivalo Photography. She has been a part of our biggest moments and captured our wedding, baby announcements, this maternity shoot and many others. I went back and forth on if I wanted to get photos done mostly because June was such a busy month for our family however, I could NOT be more excited about how these came out. Patty knew that we didn't have a lot of time and she captured this all in under 45 minutes with a rambunctious toddler, on a bright sunny morning (both which make for challenging photographs) She is such a pro and we just love her so much. I wanted to share some of our favorites, which was hard considering how many we loved! 

Thank you, Patty for working wonders! 

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xx, Ashley 

Topshop Sale!

Happy Friday! Topshop is having a crazy 70% off sale that you totally need to check out! I'm sharing some of my favorites from the sale that you can shop below! I hope you all have a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by :) 

xx, Ashley 

Beauport Hotel Weekend Getaway...

 
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Last weekend I whisked Chris and London off for a little getaway at the Beauport Hotel! We had been to Gloucester a few times to enjoy the beautiful beaches, but never had the privilege of staying at the Beauport and you guys, it's AMAZING. I feel like it's somewhat of a hidden gem in that it's only a few years old and the proximity to Boston is perfect (it only took us about 45 minutes!) The rooftop pool, delicious food and sweeping ocean views coupled with the standout service and amenities made this weekend one of the best family getaways we've had to date! I'm so excited to share the details with you all!

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Our Room

We had the privilege of staying in one of the Beauport's oceanfront rooms and it was absolutely stunning. Our balcony overlooked the Atlantic ocean and we enjoyed the most beautiful sunset in the evening. Our room was really spacious, as was the bathroom, and had somewhat of a nautical vibe! The hotel provided bathrobes and slippers (even a pint-size robe for London - which was WAY too adorable) and the bath products were my favorite, L'Occitane. Housekeeping did a fabulous job of making sure the rooms were spotless and we loved the chocolate they left after turn-down service! We all slept so well in the plush queen sized beds and even though London was awake at 6:30AM, I was actually excited! I brewed a cup of Green Mountain coffee, which was provided in the room, and drank a cup while listening to the crashing waves. It was the most relaxing way to ease into the morning! 

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Service

One thing I really wanted to mention about the Beauport is their service! Everyone was so warm and friendly to us during our stay. They were very sweet to London and went out of their way to make us feel welcome! The servers at the pool and the restaurant were extra attentive and even the bellman we asked to snap a family photo was enthusiastic! I can't say enough about the staff + how wonderful they were. 

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Amenities

The amenities at the Beauport are a 10 out of 10! We were so impressed at every turn. First of all, complimentary valet parking...HELLO! I felt like there was such attention to detail and all hands were on deck when guests arrived. Our luggage was taken directly to our room while we went to check in so we didn't have to worry about a thing! We immediately made our way to the rooftop pool because London was bursting with excitement about going swimming. I'm not going to lie, when we stepped onto the pool deck the panoramic ocean views kind of took my breath away! I was worried we would be a little out of place with our 3-year old in tow, but was pleasantly surprised to see a handful of other kids there as well; it felt super family-friendly. The bar/tapas service at the pool was an added bonus! I enjoyed a (virgin) pina colada; a yummy way to cool down from the hot sun! There's also a jetted hot tub on the roof deck which was super relaxing! Not only is there a pool, but you can step out the door and right onto Pavilion Beach where complimentary beach chairs are provided as well as paddleboard rentals and service from the Beauport Beach Attendants! If you're one that can't miss a workout, there's an excellent fitness center that opens bright and early at 5AM. 

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Food

Ok, in addition to the rockstar amenities - the food at the Beauport was REALLY impressive. I think overall Chris and I are somewhat picky - mostly because Boston has such an incredible food scene - but we were pleased with all three meals we had during our stay! To start, the staff brought a bottle of wine and a cheese/cracker + fruit board to our room as a little surprise. It was so sweet and not to mention, delicious! The1606 Restaurant, where we enjoyed dinner, breakfast, and lunch the next day is right on site and has an amazing oceanfront dining deck. I won't bore you with every detail of every meal BUT I will say, the portion sizes for all of the dishes we ordered were generous! I ordered the lobster roll for dinner and it was loaded with chunks of yummy lobster meat! I also really enjoyed their breakfast options as well. The fruit was very fresh and the waffle served with warm maple syrup made my pregnant dreams come true! It definitely exceeded our expectations!

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I honestly could go on for pages about all of the things we loved about our stay! Chris and I just kept looking at each other going "this is awesome" and talking about how we can't wait to go back. I loved sharing it on social media too and seeing all of your DM's asking me about the hotel! I'd love to hear from you in the comments below if you have stayed at The Beauport before or if you have plans on going! Anxious to hear what you think! 

Thanks so much for stopping by! 

xx,

Ashley 

 

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 

Red, White + Blue...

It's so close to July 4th which for us means, we'll be moving apartments (ugh!) but for YOU I hope it means vacation, bbq's, a beach day, or family time! Whatever you're doing, I wanted to share some patriotic inspo to get you in the spirit :) Shop any item directly below by clicking any photo! 

xx, Ashley 

Bumpdate: 30 Weeks...

 
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I can't even believe I'm 30 weeks now! Ahh!! It just doesn't seem real! I know these next weeks are going to FLY and before we know it we'll be adjusting to life with two babies. I'm feeling anxious and excited. We are also moving in a month so that's taking a lot of thought + planning as well. I'm really looking forward to getting settled in our new space and "nesting" a bit before baby comes. When I was 9 months pregnant with Lo we moved and I really enjoyed the process - to decorate and paint, etc. 

Physically, I'm feeling pretty good. I feel like my sciatic pain has subsided - since I've basically cut out any workouts other than going for walks! I still ice here and there as well. On days when I do walk, I notice that I still have SO much pressure and by the end of the day it's a little harder to move around. I miss running and feeling like I'm not going to pee my pants! Ha! I'm excited to get back to normal, but am trying to be present and cherish this beautiful time. I know I will miss this bump and feeling the little kicks! The cravings are still REAL. Just give me ALL the junk food and ALL the ice cream! I try to keep them at bay but sometimes - cravings win out ;) 

Chris planned a baby moon for me last week - and it was SO nice to relax together, away from the craziness. My parents watched Lo so we could steal away for a few days..and while we missed her SO much, it was important to us to have that time. We went to Lido Key in Florida and it was absolutely beautiful! Our resort was right on the beach and the room had a balcony; every morning began with breakfast overlooking the ocean and ended with a gorgeous sunset. It's amazing how just being near the ocean can make you instantly slow down, relax, and be still. I am so thankful to have such an amazing husband who took time out of his busy schedule to plan such a sweet getaway. Just love him! I'm going to share more pics and details from our babymoon, but here is one with baby bump on full display :) 

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Hope you all have a great week! 

xx,

Ashley 

Halfway To Wine: 20 Weeks...

 
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Bumpdate: 20 Weeks

Cravings: French fries, chocolate chip pancakes, orange juice, lemonade, strawberries, oranges

Symptoms: Ligament pain, pelvic pressure, fatigue, slight nausea in the evenings

 

We have had QUITE a week which started out with the news that we are adding another GIRL to our little family of three! We are so super excited...and knowing the gender just makes everything that much more real! I flew solo to Charleston, SC to watch my husbands college basketball tournament. I saw one game, flew back to Boston, watched the semi-final game on TV (which they also won) and ended up booking last minute flights for myself and London to go BACK to Charleston for the championship game! It was a little bit INSANE, but totally worth it. London had the BEST time and even though my husband's team fell short, it was an amazing experience. Traveling with her is just so much fun and she brightened up a pretty miserable day. 

Now back to the pregnancy! We are 20 weeks already...and as the title of this post says...HALFWAY TO WINE! It's so interesting that I never craved wine when pregnant with Lo but this time around - I would LOVE to have a vat of pinot noir. I kind of thought I was carrying a boy because of how different this pregnancy has been from my first. I STILL have bouts of nausea (which I'm so over) and with London I felt great by 10 weeks. So that alone has been much different! My food cravings are a little bit insane as well. I was ALL THE GREASY foods; french fries, cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, etc! I crave sweets at an all time high too! It's really difficult to ward them off and I try my hardest to make good decisions but sometimes the craving wins out! I do feel like I was much more active during my first pregnancy. Of course, I'm busy chasing a toddler around - but I haven't made time for the gym and have been squeezing in a few workouts here and there at home. I'm hoping that can pick up once the weather gets warmer and we have a chance to get outside for walks! 

Our next appointment is in a few weeks but from here on out they are just quick ones with our doctor. I can't believe we won't have another ultrasound and the next time we see baby girl will be when she's placed in our arms! Ahhh! This pregnancy is going by so quickly - so much so that in just FOUR months we will be ready to welcome her home! That's just wild to me. I need time to slow down a bit. I've been thinking a lot about what having another child means for London. Of course, I know she will love her sister and we are giving her the best gift, but I also know that there will be A LOT of things going on in her little brain and I just worry about it. I'm sure that's normal for all parents who are about to add another baby to their families. I'm working on a post that's pretty near to my heart - a letter so to speak to my "firstborn" and I'm having a hard time getting through it! It makes me really emotional. I can now understand why parents have such a special place in their hearts for their first child. My mom tried to explain it to me once, and I couldn't understand ... probably because I was their third ;) ...but now I get it. They're the baby that makes you a mom...that opens your heart to a love you never knew existed...and you experience every "first" with them. Needless to say, there are a LOT of emotions we are feeling and I'm sure that rollercoaster will continue for the next few months - until baby arrives! Thank you all for following our journey! It's been so much fun to share and document it along the way!

xx, 

Ashley 

It's A...

 
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GIRL!!!!

AHHH!!! WE ARE SO THRILLED and EXCITED to share this news! We are adding another little princess to our family and it still feels like we are in a dream! 

We found out yesterday morning and it's already INSTANTLY felt more real! I love being able to refer to the baby as "she" or "her!" Picturing London with a little sister gives me ALL the feels and makes me so happy. I have the most incredible relationship with my own sister, who is my very best friend, and I just can't wait to watch the two of them form their own beautiful bond! Here are a few photos from yesterday, when we found out! Also - I'll share more details soon about names we love, how we told London, and if I feel like our family is complete, etc! 

P.S. With London, we had the ultrasound technician write the gender on an envelope in hopes that Chris and I would open it that night over dinner. Well, that didn't last long. We grabbed Starbucks and ended up tearing open the envelope in the car sooooo...we decided to do the same thing this time! Pretty uneventful for a gender reveal, but it's something unique and special to us :) 

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xx, 

Ashley 

Fall Fun + Mud Pie Market...

 
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October is such a fun month! I love the chilly Fall weather creeping in, pumpkin everything, hot chocolate, colorful leaves and layering up! Last week we took Lo to Wilson Farm in Lexington for a little fun in the corn maze and of course, to take some cute Fall pics :) We indulged in some apple crisp samples and mulled around the property because it's just so perfectly decorated for the season. Naturally we had to pick up some apple cider donuts to bring home because, what's more "fall" than that and we grabbed some "carving" tools! Now we just need to get the pumpkins ;)  

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I wanted to share 5 ways you can celebrate the season! Here they are...

1. Visit a pumpkin patch! Pick out the perfect one to carve; your kids will love to scoop out the pumpkin seeds/guts because...MESS!

2. Bake something homemade together! Apple crisp is always a must but you could also make pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies and decorate with frosting! 

3. Give your pumpkin a bath. We did this a few weeks ago with London and her friend and they absolutely loved it! We actually had them paint the pumpkin first with finger paints then do the bath - which worked well! 

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4. Make a pine cone bird feeder! I remember doing this in school when I was little and it was so much fun! I haven't done this with London yet but it's on our Fall "to-do" list.

5. Go on a "leaf hunt" for a fun project. Collect leaves then bring them home to paint! You could also make a "leaf wreath" by cutting the circle/middle out of a paper plate and glueing leaves around the outside!

 

Below you can see photos from our fun Friday at Wilson Farm!

Also, my entire outfit (except for the boots + purse) is from Mud Pie Market! I wanted to share it with you guys because it's super affordable and not only do they have really cute and fashionable choices for women - they also have adorable kids clothing! I snagged a few things for Lo! They have a whole "seasonal" section for each holiday which I really love. Definitely check out their home goods items - they have everything; decor, mugs, pillows, linens, frames and more! Let me just mention that the leggings I'm wearing are suede with an elastic waist (score) and super soft + comfy (under $20 on sale!) The tunic pictured, I highly recommend because the length is great for wearing with leggings also it's 60% off right now and just $14! Yes, $14 ... basically free :)

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My Outfit: Leggings / Tunic / Vest: Mud Pie Market | Boots: Hunter | Purse: The Initial Co.

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Thank you for stopping by! 

xx,  Ashley 

 

This post is brought to you by Mud Pie Market. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

6 Fall Trends...

1. Frills and Ruffles

Love love love all the frills and girly things. Ruffles on the shoulders, around the neckline, and even on jackets were big this spring and it's carried right into the fall. I mostly wear leggings and tank tops every day - but when I get the chance to dress up, I tend to go for feminine pieces so I'm super excited this trend is here to stay! 

2. Blazers

I feel like every photo from New York Fashion Week was a different girl wearing a blazer. This is definitely the "it" trend of the season. I'm seeing a lot of plaids and HELLO shoulder pads! The boxy shape is totally in. I do kind of love the idea of adding a blazer on top of a casual white tee for an effortless look...so I've added a few below that I think would compliment that!

3. Velvet

It's baaaccckkk! I wish I made my Mom save all of her velvet shirts and dresses from back in the day because I'm seeing it everywhere! I haven't hopped on board this train yet, but it's definitely intriguing. I like how I see some of my blogger friends styling their pieces, I'm just not sure I can get down with it - but we'll see :) Regardless, I wanted to share some that I think are cute...and yes, velvet booties are "all the rage" right now :)

4. Athleisure

Athleisure...never EVER leave me. Like, ever. Seriously though, I LOVE THIS TREND SO MUCH (yes, that's me yelling!) Any moms out there wanna give an "Amen?" Any brand that can make sweats look cute and in style - sign me up. I think Adidas kind of trumps every other brand in this category, but I've included a few others for you to check out that I think you'll like! 

5. Florals

I remember covering florals a lot in the spring and even some last fall - but I'm not mad about this trend sticking around! I think florals are super fun and flirty - I'm totally a fan. The midi dress below is one of my faves and looks so cute paired with the velvet booties!

6. Statement Sweatshirts

Let's be honest...I'm most excited about this trend and the athleisure-wear for Fall because #MOMLIFE. I love embellished sweatshirts that are comfortable but can also make you look like you tried a little bit :) That's right in my wheelhouse! I'm such a lazy dresser every day...I just am. I prefer to be comfortable chasing after London and being able to play/get messy with her without worrying about my outfit. Statement sweatshirts are perfect for every day if you want to feel like you tried :)

xx, Ashley 

Our Weekend...

 

My Outfit: Dress: Tobi (Under $100 and SO comfortable!)| Sandals: Nine West, similar here

London's Outfit: Top: Gap, similar here | Shorts: Gap, similar here | Sandals: Target (Cat & Jacket)

We had Chris home with us for a full weekend so we took advantage and did more "touristy" things in our city! 

Saturday morning we were out of the house early to catch the train to the North End. London constantly asks to go on the bus, train, trolley, airplane, tractor, and any other form of transportation you can think of - so we just had to do at least one of those! (Trolley is next!) We went to the Public Market for coffee + breakfast. Outside they've got loads of fresh produce but inside is where it's really at ;) ...You can find a few of my favorite places in one spot - Union Square Donuts, George Howell coffee, Levend Bagels, and sooo much more! I feel like George Howell coffee is liquid gold ... it gave me energy for the WHOLE day haha! Maybe it's a mental thing, but seriously, you have to try it. 

There's a beautiful green space that separates the Faneuil Hall area and the North End called Rose Kennedy Greenway. So adorable. There are rose gardens, fountains, usually food trucks, and always really fun events going on! We didn't plan on walking from the North End all the way to the Prudential Center, but we did! We went through the Public Garden to show London the little duck statues in honor of "Make Way For Ducklings," one of her favorite books! She loved it!

I'm so happy to have Chris home for a few weeks - it makes SUCH a difference! Sunday we took the bus to Cambridge and strolled around Harvard Square! I didn't take many photos (I try to be "phone-free" on Sundays) but we had so much fun. You can see photos from our morning adventure below. 

Best Playgrounds In The Boston Area For Toddlers...

Hey Boston Mamas! 

I recently wrote an article for Mommy Nearest about the best playgrounds to take your littles too! We live in Watertown, so I included some in the city but also in the Greater Boston area as well :) Enjoy! 

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The playground is the perfect place to let your child burn off some energy, explore, meet up for play dates and get some fresh air. As a new mom, I was so excited when my daughter learned to sit up so she could finally enjoy the bucket swings. And once she started walking I couldn’t wait to watch her toddle around and play on the equipment. I quickly realized that those once relaxing trips to the playground were becoming stressful. I turned into my daughters shadow, trying desperately to keep her away from the dangerous climbing structures and giant slides!

Thankfully, I've been able to find the spaces meant just for little ones who are learning to walk. Think soft surfaces, bucket swings, small slides, tunnels to crawl through and lots more. Here are eight of the city's best playgrounds perfect for your toddler! 

1. Alexander W. Kemp Playground, Cambridge

Why it’s good for toddlers: I’ve nicknamed this one “natures playground” thanks to the design landscape of hills, sand, wooden structures and water features. There’s something for everyone here, including a water table which is always a crowd favorite. Little ones can't get enough of the sand (there’s A LOT of it) and the adults will enjoy that the playground is mostly shaded. It’s the perfect place to let your kids explore their surroundings safely.

Insider tip: There isn’t a parking lot, just metered street parking so make sure to bring some quarters!

2. Victory Field Playground, Watertown

Why it’s good for toddlers: I absolutely love this playground for its soft rubber surface, tunnels to crawl through, and the mini playhouses where little ones can sit and eat their snacks. There are also bucket swings and small slides for even the smallest babes. Not to mention, it’s all fenced in! If you go on a hot day, half of the playground is shaded by trees, which is nice.

Insider tip: Although this is about 15 minutes outside of the city, it's worth the drive. Make a morning of it by hitting the Starbucks just down the road or grabbing breakfast at North 11 Beacon—our favorite diner!

3. Winthrop Square/Minot Playground, Brookline

Why it’s good for toddlers: This park is fully fenced in and offers a large play area for kids, plus a splash pad. There is grass for your little ones to explore and “no dogs allowed” so you won’t have to worry about any unpleasant surprises (if you know what I mean!). There's lots of shade to be found, provided by the surrounding maples, and plenty of benches to catch a break if needed while still keeping a watchful eye on your little one(s).

Insider tip: Pack a picnic or enjoy a snack near the beautiful rose gardens at this park.

4. Ringgold Park, South End

Why it’s good for toddlers: The main attraction of this playground is the park fountain, which cascades water from top to bottom for one hour, three times a day (9-10am, noon-1pm and 6-7pm). Another “perk” of this playground are the walkers and “ride-on” toys that local families have dropped off for other kids to enjoy. Your little one will enjoy pushing or riding them around the fenced in rubber surface and/or the basketball courts next door.

Insider tip: There are always events going on at this park, so check the website for more info! Just recently they hosted a “garden tour” and a musical event for kids.

5. Billy Ward Playground, Brookline

Why it’s good for toddlers: This playground has been recently renovated and now includes a splash pad and sand box area. A wooden toy train structure will be a favorite with your little one, and they’ll love watching the older kids climb up the rock wall! I love that the “tot lot” is separated and on a lower level than the “big kids” area; it lessens the chance of any accidental run-ins.

Insider tip: There are picnic tables on site so pack a meal and enjoy a whole morning or afternoon outdoors.

6. LoPresti Park, East Boston

Why it’s good for toddlers: Let your little ones play while you take in the incredible views and the epic Boston skyline! The playground has the basic equipment (swings, slides, climbing structures, etc.), but the real win is the four acres of green space for kids to run through. It’s such a hidden gem!

Insider tip: The park offers “Family Zumba” every Wednesday at 6pm during the summer months.

7. Charlesbank Esplanade Playground

Why it’s good for toddlers: Located right off Storrow Drive, this playground is large and fenced in which makes it an extra safe place for your little one. The soft rubber surface helps, too! There are two short slides and six infant bucket swings, so it’s likely your kiddo will never have to wait on one. On hot summer days, you’ll be happy to hear there is a splash pad as well.

Insider tip: Parking can be a bit tough due to the location of the playground, so plan ahead time wise (the walk is worth it!).

8. Peters Park, South End

Why it’s good for toddlers: Most playgrounds cater to certain age groups but neglect others—not Peter’s Park! Not only is it great for toddlers with the infant swings and low-to-the-ground structures, but if you’re a parent of multiples, there are larger structures for kids’ ages 5-12 here too. The rubber surface will limit the inevitable bumps and scrapes that come when you’ve got a curious toddler in tow.

Insider tip: Limited shade on hot sunny days so bring sunscreen! Also got a puppy? There’s a dog park right next door!

Do you have a favorite playground that didn't make the list? Please share! We are always looking to try new ones :) 

xx, Ashley 

Summer Outfits Under $100...

Happy Wednesday! 

Here are a few outfits I put together for you that are all under $100! I don't like spending $100 on one item, but if I can put an entire outfit together for that price - then that's more my speed :) The last outfit features a grapefruit straw clutch which is so adorable (& under $20) and I paired it with an off-shoulder chambray dress; you'll love it! Thank you for stopping by and happy shopping!







Three Years...

 

Today marks 3 years that Chris and I have been husband and wife. It's so easy to love someone that's patient, compassionate, kind, humble, and steadfast...not to mention, easy on the eyes! I'm really proud of how much we have grown in the past three years and I feel an ever deeper love for him than I did on our wedding day (which I didn't think was possible!) Nothing makes me more excited than growing old together and getting to spend my whole life loving him. I'm so lucky!

Our photographer Patti Takacs (Kivalo Photography), who I still collaborate with 3 years later for my blog, captured our day so perfectly. I wanted to share some of my favorite photos that she took that day and a few days later in on our mini-moon :)

xx, Ashley 

Splurge or Save...

 

I LOVE finding deals ... so I decided to do a splurge / save post so you can compare prices and looks! A lot of the "cheaper" lookalikes are my taste ... I guess I'm just not that fancy ;) I'm anxious to see what you guys think too! I link the item and price below each picture .. but maybe try to guess which one is the "more expensive" piece before you look! I linked a few dresses that are great for summer and also a couple perfect for any upcoming weddings this season! There are shoes, bags, shorts, jeans and MORE! Shop below :)

 
 
 
 
 
 

1. Bell sleeve top under $40! || 2. $720 (totally prefer the cheaper version!)

1. Lace fit + flare under $100 (perfect wedding guest dress!) || 2. Lace fit + flare $1,595! (insane right?!)

1. Cold-shoulder top under $40 || 2. Cold-shoulder top $695 (I prefer this one, but not the price!)

1. Distressed white jeans $59 || 2. $225 (literally the EXACT same!)

1. Slide lookalike under $60 (totally prefer this pair!) || 2. Designer slide $149

What did you guys think?! :) 

xx, Ashley