The Ashley Maria Blog
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Monday, June 18, 2018

Father's Day Weekend

Father's Day is so different from Mother's Day don't ya think? Mother's Day this year we went out to a beautiful lunch and got dressed up and fancy. Father's Day this year we stayed at home in our bathing suits and cooked out. Next year I vote that as my Mother's Day because it was absolutely perfect! 

On Friday, at Joey's school; they hosted Donuts with Dad. Joey got to spend some time with Joe before he rushed off to work. Joey housed two whole donuts himself (after he already had breakfast at home) so was in a sugar coma the rest of the day. No lie- on his 'daily report' he took two different naps Friday for a combined almost 3 hours- which never happens! Joe gets out of work earlier then I do, so he picked Joey up from school and went to an early dinner with him and some of our friends. I already had plans to catch up over some drinks with a girlfriend after work. 

On Saturday, I left it up to Joe what he wanted to do. Our first stop was breakfast at one of our favorites in town. After breakfast we went to Joe's favorite store- Bed Bath and Beyond. Joey is in a huge 'book stage' right now, which I am not complaining about at all! He loves grabbing books, bringing them over to you and sitting in your lap while you read it nine times in a row.. So we promised him we would go get more books for him to read (not like he doesn't have two baskets filled already or anything like that!!!) We walked next door to Barnes and Nobles and let him loose in the kids section. They were having a reading of some Father's Day books, but Joey was more interested in the train set table. After playing a little, checking out the toy section and taking almost every book he could reach off the shelves, we picked out four new books! We then took a ride to another favorite of our Lowe's! Joey had fallen asleep by then so I sat in the car with him while Joe picked up some stuff we needed. We then took a trip down to the Steel Stacks where they were having a special event with Grand Prix race cars. We walked around a little bit to check it out but decided to go to the National Museum of Industrial History which is also located on the same property. Joey loved looking at all the big machines, but by far his favorite part was pushing the interactive buttons.  A little later that day we met up with friends a new local brewery called Birth Right Brewing.  Joe loved the food, especially the brick oven pizza and so did Joey!

On Sunday, we started Father's Day by walking a few blocks to another one of our favorite breakfast spots.  After we finished we walked back home and got in the car to run a few errands. A car wash, Starbucks run, a trip to the farmers market and drove around a little to look at homes.. we were ready to head home. When we got home we inflated Joey's pool, which I thought was A LOT bigger then it was (I really need to read all the specs and reviews!). But Joey loved it and played most of the day in it and with his water table. Joe opened his gifts from Joey and Charger. They got him a new Under Armor golf polo and the most adorable book that was custom to him, Joey and Charger! My parents and brother came over in the afternoon and we cooked out on the grill. We all had so much fun and sun then Joey went to bed by 5:30pm and after cleaning up Joe and I crashed on the sofa as well. 

I think Joe would agree it was such a fun weekend spent with our little family. Love these summer weekends with no plans!

Hope you all had a great Father's Day weekend as well!

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Friday, June 1, 2018

End of the Year Teacher Gifts

We are officially in June, which means the end of school is upon us. Joey just started 'school' aka day care during the day, so I don't have to make any end of the year gifts for his teachers yet, but /i was asked by a friend if I could come up with an idea for her kids.  I, of course jumped to the occasion, ans wanted to doing something cost effective yet the teachers could find use in it!

If you want to make your own teacher gift, download the tag here

Beach Towel
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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Top Things Every New Mom Needs to Know

Where my new mom's at? Prolly right now you are thinking, the house is a mess, I'm so tired and counting down the time until nap or bedtime! I hear ya.. I've been there and frankly I'm still there. But here are a few tips I've learned through this past year with Joey

you figure it out

you may think you have no idea what to do. I remember right after Joey was born, it was now the early hours of the morning after they moved me into the post pardum room and wheeled him in. Then left. Um hello! now what!! I didn't even know where the diapers were in the crib thing, luckily he slept for a few hours until a nurse came in to give me some direction. I was so scared. But guess what, we survived that night and here we are over a year later and still doing just fine. I never read a book or took a class. It just comes. You may have a moment where you want to lock yourself in a room and cry.. but ya know what, that's okay! Do it. No ones perfect and you are doing just fine, mama.

there's no schedule to life

Before I had Joey I believed everything had a schedule. If you were on time you were late. Being on time to me is being 10 minutes early. The day after we got home from the hospital we had Joey's newborn pictures scheduled. Iwas running on about six hours sleep total from the five days spent in the hospital and the night at home. I was irritable and of course rushing around. You have no idea how much time it takes to get an infant ready. We of course were late to the studio for pictures and I felt like my first job as a mom was a fail. The photographer has a child. She completely understood and was not angry or mad or even a big deal. It happens and has happened numerous times in this past year. If something doesn't go as planned, it's okay. 

don't give up your identity

Since Joey was a few weeks old we have been going places. His first outing was to Wegman's when he was a week old. Granite he was in his carrier covered up sleeping, I don't even think anyone knew he was in there. But we got him out and acclimated to the world. Now I don't suggest you bringing your newborn out for all the public to hold, but use your discretion! Our life is definitely different since Joey came along, but all in all, we include him in things we still want to do! He loves being around loud sounds such as music or a lot of people talking and I feel as though it's because we brought him around that at a young age. Our friends that have a son only a few months younger then Joey love getting together with us on a Friday evening for Happy Hour. And ya know what, the boys love it too! They get to see each other, be with us and around people and fun sounds. 

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

How to Save Your Mind Planning a Wedding

Even though we are coming up on our two year wedding anniversary, I love still giving tips I used that I found helpful. One of my biggest resources (besides Pinterest) was using Google Drive to stay organized! 
I started by creating a folder in my google drive and entitled it Wedding. This will help if you have a lot of other documents and what not in your drive!
In this folder there were a ton of documents, excel sheets, tabs etc. If there was any documentation that was about our wedding it was here! it was my place to save important documents such as contracts, proofs, and just necessary paperwork. I also had hard copies in a wedding binder, but that's for another day! 
For each vendor I created their own folder in which help specifics for them. For example the reception venue was entitled Hotel Bethlehem (our venue name) in this folder was the contract with stated pricing, rules & regulations and menus. I always kept copies of deposits and billing information just in case their were any issues with this after that final billing. 
Here are the sub-folders I had:

In these sub-folders I then broke down even more. I had documents with to do lists for each thing and then if something had contacts or documents I would put a folder together labeled. Here are some examples:

You can obviously tailor these to your own wedding, but these are some examples of what I used! I think I did a pretty good job of keeping everything organized and in one place. Hope this helps all my brides to be out there!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Weekend Happenings

This past weekend was busy, busy.
We started off Friday night attending a Craft Beer Show in downtown Bethlehem. Joey's bedtime didn't allow me to stay long, so I went home with him after about an hour of walking all around the tent and showing off. 

Saturday morning I got up bright and early to watch the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle. Did you watch it? What did you think? I think Duchess Megan looked absolutely beautiful. I was reading reviews all day online how she didn't look regal enough or like a princess. To those people, to each their own. This was her style and she fit her style and personality perfect.

Saturday afternoon we had a friend from colleges wedding. It was a chilly rainy day, but she looked beautiful and we still all had so much fun! Joey and Charger also had a fun sleepover with grandma that night!

The groom's family owns Crystal Springs the resort it was held at. My dress was rented from Rent the Runway

Sunday we celebrated Joe's grandparents 60th anniversary at the Spanish Tavern in Newark, NJ I love going to that place. The food is soo good and am always full, but not stuffed when we leave!

Sunday night we played catch up. Getting home around 7:30pm, I started on laundry, some cleaning and it was one sleepy boys bedtime. Another great weekend for the books!

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

My First Face Mask I've Tried

I'm usually very particular about what I put on my face. To be honest, not until recently did I start wearing foundation and concealer on my face everyday. So when I was approached about trying Neutrogena's face mask I was a little hesitant. Friends, I don't know what I was waiting for! It was so easy to put on, felt so refreshing, and made my skin feel great. 

the mask was a little big on my face though, but I made it work. The Neutrogena Radiance Boost mask (shown above) comes in two pieces- one for your forehead and under eyes and one for your lower mouth and chin area. I had to overlap the two pieces and it still hung low on my chin. 
The Neutrogena clay mask gave me a deep clean, which every once in a while is great to have. You would be surprised how much makeup you miss with just an ordinary face wash. I paired mine with the Neutrogena Hygrogel Mask once washed and my face never felt so soft. 

The products in this posts were powered by BrandBacker to be reviewed. However, all opinions are my own.
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Friday, May 18, 2018

Top Items to Keep at Your Desk at Work

If you work full time, then you prolly spend the better part of your day in your office/ at your job. I truly believe to make the best of your time while at work and that means by making it your own. Today I've rounded up the best things to keep at or around your desk to make you most productive!

1. Planner or Calendar
How many times do you have to schedule meetings and need to know not only your schedule but if you have kids their schedules, your spouses, and your work life too. Having a desk calendar, or your planner on your desk is clutch for this. I honestly don't know what I would do without my planner to help organize my life.

2. Chapstick
I actually have multiple chap sticks on my desk at a time. I can't even tell you how many times I reapply throughout the day. 

3. Personal Touches
On my desk I have a few pictures. One wedding photo of Joe and I, a newborn photo of Joey and can't forget about my first babe, Charger. I have two plants to help with the oxygen flow and some other personal decor throughout my office. I'm very lucky to have my own office that is pretty large!

4. Cardigan 
In my office, they like to blast the air conditioner anytime the temps reach a mere 70 degrees. I always have a basic cardigan on my desk chair or behind my door to throw on while working on a project in my office.  

5. File Organizer
I need a clean desk to get anything done. I have a similar one like this one on my desk. I like the wire one's but hate if the desk looks sloppy or the folders fall out or bend over.

6. Blue Light Blocking Glasses 
These have been a game changer for me. I started using them a few weeks ago, since I was getting headaches constantly at my desk. They were cheap so I bought a pair to keep at work, my home computer and night stand for when I'm scrolling social media before bed. 

7. Healthy Snacks
Raise your hand if you are a bored snacker! When I'm working on a project that just isn't that all exciting, I typically like to munch on something. I try to keep nuts, trail mix or something on the healthier side when these cravings take aim.

8. Reusable Water Bottle 
We have a water cooler in our office that I seldom use.. I have to remind myself to drink water through out the day! By keeping a reusable water bottle at my desk that keeps it cold definitely helps!
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