The Ashley Maria Blog
 photo headertext-1.png

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Back to School Essentials for College Students

Just like that you wake up one morning and it's been TEN years since I moved into my freshman dorm room. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT. It still seems weird that I have been out of school for 6 years considering I get carded at a casino (you have to be 18 to gamble mind you)! It doesn't help that I also am constantly around college students, being a coach at a college... it makes me feel young!
If I could go back in time what are some things I would change. Well for one, I wouldn't act like I knew it all and that my parents were actually RIGHT! But there are some things I would and wouldn't bring to college with me! 
Robe | In dorms there are constantly people walking around, both boys & girls. If you have the perfect body and don't care who see's you in a towel, then skip to the next essential! However, if you are like me or the rest of the universe of women, I would invest in a robe to roam the halls to get to the shower. Another big thing is have plenty of towels. Think one for your hair, your body and then I always took one with me when I brushed my teeth. I didn't want to use a paper towel to wipe my face, so that was an important one!

Comfortable Laundry Basket | Most dorms have their laundry located on the basement or bottom floor. If you are fortunate enough to get an elevator in your building then more power to you.. if not, this will be one of your best friends. I never liked one of those nap sack looking laundry bins, because I like to have my clothes nice an folded. Plus I didn't want my dirty laundry hanging up somewhere for everyone to see (literally & figuratively)

ID Holder | Your ID or student card will be your lifeline. You will need this to access your dorm, for you meals, and probably even to get into some academic buildings. If you find one where you are able to keep your key on it's a double win! 

Rain Boots | Here's a hint.. colleges don't close for rain, sleet or snow. Unless you get 30 inches like last winter and the school can't clean the lots fast enough! So, one of the best things I could have invested in.. A good pair of rain boots to wear in all weather. Nothing is worse then sitting through a three hour lab with soaking wet UGG's. 

So who's ready to go back to school? I wish I was returning! 
 photo signature.png

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Chicken Fajitas


    For the Chicken Fajitas

    • 1lb chicken breast sliced thinly
    • 2tbsp parsley 
    • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • 1/2 tsp hot sauce 
    • 1/2 tsp chili powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
    • Juice of half a lime
    For the Peppers and Onions
    • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
    • 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 of a yellow onion, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 tsp salt


    In a large bowl, mix all fajita ingredients except the chicken breast and lime juice. Once mixed, add in the chicken breast and cover completely with the mixture. Place in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to marinate. While that is marinating, place your peppers and onions, salt and EVOO into a skillet. Let them get a little brown and will start to soften up. By this time, your chicken should be good to go. Add your marinated chicken into your skillet. Cook until no longer pink. Remove form skillet and serve immediately. 

    I enjoyed mine on tortillas, but you can substitute lettuce wraps also. Add added shredded cheese and salsa!

 photo signature.png

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Our Wedding- The Little Ones

Kids at a wedding are pretty much the best part, especially when they are as cute as ours were or decide to throw a tantrum walking down the aisle!  Today I'm talking about the little ones in our wedding party!
We had two ring bearers. They were my god father's sons and also cousins of mine. They were so adorable and let's just say, they knew it too! 
For Joey & Luke's outfits I worked with their mom (who is one hot mama) to get them properly dressed! I wanted them to be cute as a button, yet match everyone else. 

Shorts | Crew Cuts 
Suspenders | Tuxesdos Online
Bow Tie | Tuxedos Online
Loafers | DSW
Hat | Unknown
Sign | DIY

Our flower girl, Anna; was one of my cousins daughters (yes, I have a VERY big extended family).  She was also the cutest flower I've ever seen- not to sound biased! 

 Dress | Pink Princess
Flower Crown | c/o Etsy
Flower Basket | DIY

We had two Junior's in our wedding party. Our Junior Bridesmaid was my God Daughter, Alexandra (also a cousin, of course!!)

Dress | Alfred Angelo
Head Band | c/o Etsy
Flowers | DIY 

Our Junior Groomsmen was my nephew, Nathan. 

Suit | c/o Men's Warhorse
Shoes | Unknown
Bow Tie | Tuxedos Online
Boutonniere | DIY

Check out the previous posts Ceremony & Reception Venue

 photo signature.png

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

DIY | Cake Stands

I originally came up with these cake stands for my Mom's 60th surprise party last April. But completely forgot I made them, let alone documented them; until cleaning out things to get ready for a yard sale! 

These were so easy to make and made the perfect decoration while still serving as a purpose on the dessert table! I think I will be making more of these for holiday's and to give as gifts with homemade goods!

They really are so super easy to make that you don't even have to have crafty bone in your body! 

Materials: (for one cake stand)

Plastic Plate or Tin Burner Cover for a Stove (either works great)
Gorilla Glue
Spray paint (if you chose to paint the stand)
Painters Tape (if you chose to paint the stand)


Remove all stickers from plate and candle holder. With a damp towel, wipe down bottom of plate and top candle holder and let dry completely. Apply glue according to bottle to the top of the candle holder. 

Place plate or burner cover directly in the middle of the candle holder and press firmly. Let sit for at least 24 hours. I used large 3 wick candles to hold the glue in place. 

Painting the Cake Stand:
When I purchased the glass candle holders at the dollar store, they wrapped them in paper so they wouldn't clank together. The paper was perfect to cover the plate from the spray paint! I used painters tape and glued all around the plate first, then took my paper and covered the larger areas of the plate I didn't want any paint to get on. For the stands below, I kept my plastic woven plate white and used white and baby pink spray paint for the stand part. 

 You can see in the bottom right of this picture the finished pink and white stand (and my mom's arm!)

This stand I used a tin burner cover for a stove, which I purchased at the Dollar Store. It was already white so I didn't even have to paint it!

Best part is each cake stand cost me about $2.00 each. I had spray paint, glue and painters tape around the house! Aren't they just so easy and cute to make!

 photo signature.png

Monday, August 8, 2016

That Time We Made Funnel Cakes

Welp, I survived my first funnel cake making experience! If you didn't read this post a couple weeks ago I'll give you the low down on how I got into this mess opportunity

Every year my hometown hosts a huge carnival/ Italian festival the last full week in July. The funnel cake stand is one of the huge hits, because unlike most fairs; the batter is homemade and crispier then others. The man I was asked to take over for, had been making these cakes for almost 20 years. He basically is a star and there are newspaper articles about him. So to say the least I was pretty nervous taking over his shoes! Luckily, he was so nice about everything, and even made the batter for me, considering I didn't know how I was going to make it all in my little 5qt Kitchen Aide Mixer!

I was dreading these couple of days and to be honest was so scared to fail at making them. But who knew Joe (or Giuseppe as all the old timers were calling him) was so good at making a funnel cake!!

I also couldn't have gotten through these 4 days without the help of my family and friends.

And it really wasn't that hard to make them.. 

Thank you again for all your support! Until next year!

 photo signature.png

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

A few years ago I posted this recipe for Buffalo Chicken Lettuce wraps. But after going to my favorite Thai restaurant I decided to take a crack at their recipe.  
1 lb Ground Chicken 
4 tsp Sweet Chili Sauce (I use Frank's)
3 tsp Garlic Sriracha Sauce
3 tsp Light Soy Sauce
2 tsp Vegetable Oil
1 head Lettuce
1 Boil in a Bag of Brown or White Rice


For the Sauce
Mix sweet chili garlic, sriracha, soy sauce, and 1 tsp of vegetable oil in small bowl

For the Wraps
Gently peel your 'bowls' of lettuce. Rinse and dry your lettuce. Boil your rice according to boxes instructions. While rice is boiling, brown your chicken with 1 tsp vegetable oil.  Remove your chicken and rice from heat. To make wraps place rice, chicken and as much sauce as you prefer! Enjoy!!

 photo signature.png

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Our Wedding- The Ceremony

Welcome to Part 2 of our wedding story! Today I'm going to talk about our ceremony! In case you didn't read Part 1 about the reception venue, you can check it out here
We got married two months ago tomorrow! Crazy as though it feels like just yesterday we got engaged, let alone married!

We got married at my Catholic church I grew up in. It was a beautiful day and it was absolutely perfect! I just love these pictures of the wedding party outside the church. The colors of the girls dresses against the church is just a perfect contrast!

The readers for the Mass were my godmother, Jill and Joe's godparents who are also his Aunt Libby & Uncle Anthony.

The gifts were presented by Joe's Uncle Danny and Cousin Peter.

I designed the programs which matched our invitations. 

Once all pictures were finished outside, we went back into the church and took pictures with our families!

The Stone's- My Family

The Melchionna's- Joe's Dad's Family

The Gerhauser's- Joe's Mom's Family

The kids in the Wedding Party 
(this might just be my FAVORITE picture)

Isn't our Church beautiful? 

All photos are by DeLorenzo Photography
 photo signature.png