The Ashley Maria Blog
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Friday, February 17, 2017

Nordstrom Winter Sale Picks

Who doesn't love a sale. Especially one that offers so many options for transitional pieces for Spring. Since I am coming to an end of my pregnancy, I thought I would treat myself with some pieces that can be worn both postpartum and easily into the Spring weather. Check out some of the looks I'm crushing on from the Nordstrom sale! 



Open Toe Bootie
Maxi Dress
L/S Tee
Scarf
Tee
Sandals

These open toe booties are the perfect transition to show off your newly pedicured toes! Raise your hand it your tired of wearing closed toe shoes!

I love the look of this maxi dress! I tried on a similar free people dress but like this one much better with the off the shoulder look. It's perfect to throw on and I have a feeling this spring that will be my signature look 'easy to just throw on'!

I can not say enough things about these long sleeve tee's. I have them in every color and wore them all throughout my pregnancy also. They are on also for around $11 now! How can you pass them up!

This scarves colors are perfect for a transitional piece. you can add it to a basic white tee and denim jacket or over a dress with boots. it's 50% off right now too.

The most comfortable tee's and right here. I again wore these pregnant.

Last but not least is these Jack Rodgers sandals! Every girl needs a pair in her closet. You can dress them down with shorts or up with a dress. The white eyelet are so classic and can be worn with everything. 

Do you have any favorite pieces from the sale? Did you purchase anything yet?

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Easist Way to Create a Gallery Wall

I've been wanting to dress up our stair way since we moved in a year and a half ago. But the only thing I ended up doing was printing three black and white photos from our engagement shoot and hanging them going up the stairs. BORING! I knew a gallery wall would be perfect in this spot, now just to get it done.  I wanna share a little secret with you all... I have a phobia of making a million wholes in the walls. I finally bit the bullet and decided to do it. We never the living room when we moved in, so there were already holes from the previous owners anyway. I knew I couldn't really mess it up! One of my favorite decorating bloggers Lauren from Bless'er House shared her secret to hanging the perfect gallery wall and guys, I can't keep it in either. It literally was so easy to do!
First thing first, decided if you want to use a color scheme for your photo's, frames, etc. I went with all black and white pictures in weathered grey, black matted and antiqued white frames to keep with the theme of my living room furniture. I most likely will be adding on some natural wood elements to give it some color pop as well, but I think I got a good start!

I will prolly end up changing the pictures a million times but picked some of my favorites from our wedding to add to our engagement ones. And how could this be our family gallery wall without our beloved Charger on the wall! 


I started by picking what frames I wanted to use on the wall. I recently purchased these frames  to use in the nursery, but after gathering all the decor for his room, decided they would be too big. However, one rooms loss is a gallery walls gain! I also purchased black frames with white matting from Ikea on our latest trip. The original three black frames with white matte shown below are from Target last fall. Other frames and objects are things I gathered that I had around the house AKA stole from my office!

 I used some 12x12 paper I had laying around, but you can use regular paper or wrapping paper and I measured all the frames including where the picture hangers were. 


I marked each 'frame' with what they were so that I could visualize what it would look like. When I got them just how I wanted I nailed the holes into the walls and removed the paper one by one as I placed the frame on the nails.


I added some finishing touches with the pearl M and ampersand. In case you missed the post yesterday, that middle frame is actually a Good Will find!


Since I created this wall, I have added two more photo's to the wall! Hopefully when the sun decides it wants to show it's face again, I can get some better pictures to share with you all!


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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

DIY | Goodwill Find Turned Shabby Chic Frame

Confession: I love browsing our local Goodwill Store! Lately, with organizing and getting ready for baby, I have been making more frequent trips to Goodwill to brings bags and bags and bags of clothing and household things to donate. When time allows though, I love pulling around to the front of the store and browsing what home items I may find. I like to think of a story for each piece I purchase, like where it came from, what the person was like who owned it previously, and what can I do with this piece now. 
On one of my latest trips I picked up this awesome little round frame for... wait for it... $.97!!! I knew I wanted to use it in my gallery wall one day and loved the little details around the sides. 

Supplies:
+ Frame from Goodwill Store
+ White paint (I used left over Valspar cabinet enamel paint because that's all I had!!) I suggest using a chalk paint or milk paint)
+ Paint brush 
+ 100 grit sand paper
+ Soap

It really wasn't a bad looking frame, but it just didn't fit the style of our home and the look I was incorporating in our gallery wall. 

First thing I did was give the frame a good cleaning. I am a huge germ-a-phob so I always clean all the home items thoroughly I find at the Good Will Store. You just never know what kind of home they come from and you don't want to bring that into yours.

 I popped out the glass and backing and got started on the transformation. Like I said before, one of the reasons I really liked this frame was because of the little details on it. Using my finger, I added a little hand soap to the details. This will help you to achieve the 'shabby' look when done painting.


 I applied two coats of white paint to the frame and some of the wood still showed through. I liked the look so I stopped at just two coats. Since I added the soap onto the details, and my frame wasn't real wood, I used a paper towel and was able to wipe some of the paint off the details.


 I then used my sand paper gently over the details to scrape some more paint off. I sanded some more around the frame to give it a more worn feeling. When I was happy with the final product, I decided not to put the glass or backing on the frame. I liked the way the wall showed through the frame.


 And come on.. isn't this just the cutest picture of Charger! This was taken right after I picked him up from the vet after his 'man parts' were removed. That cone was so big on his little body, but just look at that smile!!




 If you want to see an easy way to hang your gallery wall.. check back tomorrow for an easy gallery wall tutorial!

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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!

Ingredients:

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


Directions:

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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