The Ashley Maria Blog
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Friday, January 13, 2017

Brownie Fudge Banana Bread | Recipe

So those banana's you bought over the weekend are not looking that hot and you hate to waste them.. what should you do? Well you can make a typical banana bread, but that's boring. I decided I wanted to make more of a desert banana bread, and that's just what I did with my sad, pathetic looking nanners!


2 ripe bananas (should equal 1 cup)
3 eggs
1 tsp all purpose flour
1 box (18oz) brownie fudge mix
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1/3 vegetable oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine brownie mix, eggs, flour and vegetable oil. Mash you ripe bananas before adding them into you mixture. Once combined, add in your chocolate chips and fold into the batter. Grease or spray your loaf tin (you can use any size, it will either make you loaf thicker or thinner depending the size). Place in your oven for 50-60 minutes. Check middle with a toothpick to make sure done. If still very wet (not just fudgy) put back into oven in 5 minute increments. 

After removing from oven, let cool for 5 minutes. With butter knife, go around edge of loaf to make loose. Remove from pan and serve. 

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Linen Closet Organization + Free Download

We are in the process of converting our half bath into a full and by doing this I lost my upstairs linen closet. Thankfully we have a pretty decent size linen closet outside our down stairs bathroom to store all our extra's in. 

I want to also share that photographic this closet is ridiculous. There is NO sunlight that makes this look good! The door blocks the little that comes through the bathroom, so really the only hope was the little shining in from the living room, which here in PA is little to nothing lately!

The first step I took in the organization process was sorting through everything. We had some towels that have seen better days. They had holes, were worn out or just were plain sad looking. When we had our bridal shower we received all new towels in numerous sizes, so there really was no need to keep all the raggy ones.

We had doubles even triples of open toiletries, so we went through and purged anything we no long use and combined some things. It turns out this closet was becoming a catch all for everything. Tissue boxes, kitchen soaps, candles. This desperately needed this organization/ clean out!

Next I neatly organized everything into these baskets. The tray you see in there, we had previously purchased. There was nothing wrong with it, so we decided to keep it for extra toiletries. There also is no easy way to organize all of Charger's toys and treats at the bottom of the closet. Every time we open the closet (and i mean EVERY. DARN. TIME. he runs over and tries to pull them out. It's a hopeless cause, so we just keep his 'travel' bag on top to "hide" the treats! What smart dog parents we are (insert rolling eyes emoji) 

To complete the organization, I labeled all the baskets so everything was easy accessible to get.  

You can download your set of FREE labels for your own home organization project! Just simply click here to download them all. Once downloaded, print them out on paper or card stock and punch a hole in the top. I used jute twine I already had to tie them on the baskets. 

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Currently | January

Today I'm joining in with Anne of In Residence in the monthly link up of what's going on Currently!

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gathering... I've mentioned in a previous post that as soon as Christmas is over I immediately get ready for Spring. I already started gathering a bunch of new bright decor to add to our home. Michael's has the cutest spring floral and faux tree's. I picked up this one with a 50% off coupon I received. All the Ashland spring decor is also 40% off right now too!
making... I am in full nursery mode. Some say it's nesting, but I just can't stand not being busy! I am making special little signs for the babies nursery. I can't wait to show them to you and the rest of the nursery. Look for that around March!
sipping... right before the holiday's I picked up this peppermint syrup from Starbucks. I put it in both my hot cocoa and my coffee. It's the perfect accent to a plain drink. 
following... I want to follow a few more blogs. Lately I've been really into DIY'ing and fixing uppers. If you own a blog that features anything like that, be sure to leave you link below! I would love to read your work.
resolving... this year, especially with baby on the way, I am resolving to be and stay more organized. I have a bunch of projects I want to finish before baby comes including at work. I want to try to stay on task more and not procrastinate as much. I also want to resolve to take more time for myself. When I get a free moment to say get a manicure or hey even lay down, I want to be able to take it. I know that is going to be a little hard with a newborn and very energetic puppy, but a girl can wish, right? 

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Monday, January 9, 2017

Where to Purchase Fashionable Maternity Clothes

On my personal facebook page a week ago I posted a status about how hard it was finding maternity clothes that actually fit. I was flooded with friends trying to help with suggestions where to shop.
Most of the suggestions were places that I had already purchased things from, but my biggest problem is finding denim that fits my little hips (or lack there of). 

I compiled a list that I have purchased some things from and could even be worn after baby is born!

Nordstrom | Kinda my go to, especially when they run sales! I purchased this dress for a wedding in November and also some of the cutest tops like this one and this one. Can you tell I've really been embracing the black wardrobe with this pregnancy! Also, a lot of looser sweaters from brands such as topshop I still am able to purchase in my normal size. 

H&M | I purchased these jeans and fell in love with them. However, everyone else must of had the same idea because they have been sold out of my size for months now. They have great basics such as leggings and tights too!

Old Navy | I originally purchased denim from here, but the smallest size they have are a size 1 which fits the bump but not my hips. If you are able to fit in their denim they have great price points and run sales all the time. I did pick up basic tee's and long sleeves to wear with cardigans and into spring. Great options for work out apparel too!

Pink Blush | They have the cutest dresses! I also got a couple cute tops and tunics to wear with leggings. They are reasonably priced for trendy items. 

a Pea in the Pod | This is the most expensive option for denim, but I was desperate to find ones that fit! I purchased 2 pair of AG jeans that will get my through the rest of my pregnancy as well as future ones. The ones I purchased do not have any destruction or rips so they are classics that can be worn for years to come (or that's what I told Joe at least!!)

Hope this helps all the mama's to be out there! Do you have any trendy shops you shopped or are shopping in for maternity clothes? I would love to check out some new ones!
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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Twinkle VoxBox

To my surprise, right before the holidays I received my Twinkle VoxBox from Influenster. I was so excited to open it up and see what was inside. 

The items to review this time were awesome and I couldn't wait to get started. So much so that I cracked open the Oreo Thins and ate them immediately! #pregnantproblems

So what did I get, well check it out below!

Hills Bros, Hot Cocoa...This was so good. I had a pod on Christmas Eve when I got home and put a peppermint stick in it. Personally I think it was better then my usual Swiss Miss I purchase!

Aquation, Daily Moisturizing Lotion... This lotion is a full size bottle with is awesome! It works great on my itchy, winter skin without leaving my skin greasy.  I have it on my night stand and apply to my elbows and hands at night and after my morning shower!

Not Your Mother's Clean Freak, Dry Shampoo... A little secret is that I was so sooo excited to receive this sample size. I already have a full size bottle of this in the scented version and use it religiously. Especially in the winter, my hair takes so long to dry and like to sleep in as long as possible! With just a few spritz's of this dry shampoo I can have a refreshing look on day's old hair!

Covergirl, So Lashy Mascara... Even though I'm a hard core Benefits mascara gal, I do like the brush of this barrel! It makes your eye lashes full without getting the caked on look. Will definitely be putting this in my makeup rotation!

Axe White Label, Night Body Wash... I'm still waiting for Joe to test this out, however it smells wonderful! I wouldn't mind Joe using this all the time. 

Oreo, Thins... I love Oreo's! Like I said before I snatched these up immediately after opening the box. I like how they are thinner so I don't feel as guilty putting the whole cookie in my mouth with no bites. Great for a snack on the go.

Reynolds, Slow Cooker Liner's... I'm excited to try these out the next crock pot meal I make! This makes for such easy clean up. Who else likes cooking, but hates the mess, raise your hand!!

I received these products complimentary to review, but all opinions are my own!

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Easy Winter Tablescape

We have a lot to look forward to in Spring with the biggest being Baby arriving in April! But I also am looking forward to opening the windows to get fresh air, pastel colors and spring decor. I ran into Micheal's on New Years Eve as they were setting up all their spring pieces. Oh. Em. Gee. I wanted to buy everything, but it unfortunately was not on sale yet. Don't worry, I will be back next week though! Raise your hand if you are ready for Spring yet! 

Anyway... this weekend, we had my parents over for lunch and to celebrate the New Year. I'm slowly taking down my Christmas decorations but still want to keep a winter feel. I figure I will leave up the greenery but take down the reds and real Christmas-y accents. This way I can transition those greenery pieces for more Spring-ish ones in late February. 

For our table, I wanted simple since New Year's isn't a huge holiday and plus, it wasn't that big of a meal! I grabbed things around the house I already had and that was it! There is really no rules on how elaborate you have to make your table, and I actually prefer simple over cluttered! 

Even though Christmas is over, I never got to use my reindeer place settings from Pottery Barn! It seemed fitting to use them for New Years! I just love these appetizer plates and napkins!

I didn't link the details, but if you have any questions about anything shown, just shoot me a message! Hope everyone had a great New Year's! Happy 2017

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Monday, January 2, 2017

Maternity Photo's

When we had our Christmas cards done this year, I decided I wanted to turn it into a maternity session also. These photos were taken when I was about 20 weeks so half way through the pregnancy. I wanted to do maternity photo's but was very hesitant because I didn't want to look back and think all the time, man was I huge. I know this is a beautiful time and I should be flaunting my bump, but for me, I'm taking it a little hard with my body changing. So, I thought let me do it half way through and incorporate my little family into it also!

 This might be by far my favorite picture.. I can hear Joe saying, "HEY, there's a real baby in there!!"

 This barn was a dream! I wanted to pack it up and take it home with me. The colors, architecture and vintage-ness (made up word?) was to die for! So glad we stopped on our back down from the tree farm!

So there you have it.. 'The Bump's' first photo shoot! 

My outfit details:
Jeans | H&M Maternity
Sweater | Old Navy
Vest | Francesca's (old)
Booties | Nordstrom
Necklace | Old Navy

All photos were taken by DeLorenzo Photography and you can check out the complete shoot, including Charger here.
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