The Ashley Maria Blog
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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Baby Boy Nursery | Part 1

Less then two months our little man 'should' be here! Let's hope he's not too late to make his debut. We have been in the process of transforming my once pink, girly, very feminine office into a vintage baseball inspired nursery. 

I shot these photo's a few nights ago just so show some progress. They are not the best quality lighting and still so much needs to be done.. but I couldn't wait to show you a sneak peek!

Step 1: Paint Room- We needed to get rid of my pink paint in the room. We purchased the paint from Lowe's and I had all intentions of painting it myself. My wonderful husband decided to surprise me and hire a painter aka our professional painter neighbor to cover the girly pink with the new greyish blue tone. 

Step 2: Paint Furniture- Lucky Joe's grandmother saved his childhood furniture that was in excellent condition so we saved some money there. The original was white but over the years had turned an off white/ yellowish color. There was also a red stripe on each drawer that wasn't really my style. The furniture was a veneer so I had to sand the pieces a little bit. Hopefully I get to a full tutorial soon! I still have to add the handles and pulls onto the dressers. 

Step 3: DECORATE! This is probably the favorite part of any mom to be! Sticking with the vintage baseball theme, I gathered this from local antique shops and Joe's mom's house! I can't wait to have everything in place and just right. I've tried to link everything below, but if you have any questions- send me a message!

Dresser & Changing Table: Vintage-Painted
Glider & Ottoman: Gift from Family Friend
Side Table: Vintage- Painted
Baseball Lamp- Hobby Lobby
Mit Clock- Hobby Lobby
Pitcher Statue- Hobby Lobby
Frames on Wall- Michael's
Storybook Quotes- DIY (coming soon)
Baseball Rug- Buy Buy Baby
Bedding- Buy Buy Baby
Curtains- Ikea
Red Wagon- Hobby Lobby (similar)
Books- Gifts
Chair & Slipcover- Pottery Barn
Football Plaques- Good Will Find
Stuff Basket- Home Goods
Shelf- Hobby Lobby
ABC Letters- Michael's
Baseball Mit- Joe's
Yankee's Jacket- Joe's
Baseball Bank- gift (I think Babies R Us)
Toy Chest- Ikea
Large Teddy Bear- Christmas Tree Shop
Stuffed Animals- Various
Trophies- Vintage
Initials- Michael's
Frame- Hobby Lobby
Pennant- Vintage

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

34 Weeks & Second Trimester Recap

size of the baby: cantaloupe

total weight gain: 25 lbs- I think I gained it all in my chest. I currently am wearing a 36D and they are tight! Pre-pregnancy was 34C

gender: Little Man!

movement: YES! This kid loves to move, especially when I get hungry! He has been kicking on my ribs a lot which makes it very uncomfortable.

sleep: Still very tired, but during the day I seem to have more energy. I have been having issues sleeping and trying to find a comfortable position.

clothing: I am wearing only maternity jeans and leggings now. For yoga pants and sweat pants I can roll them under the bump, but anything against it is very uncomfortable.

missing: Purchasing normal size clothing such as jeans and pants. Also missing Sushi! Even though I wasn't a huge eater before, when someone tells you not to have something, you want it even more!

craving: STILL..Mozzarella Sticks and meatballs for every meal! 

symptoms: Found out I have a low anemia so need to take extra iron pills for it. My glucose test results were perfect so no three hour test for me.. Thank goodness! I also got Charlie Horses in my legs a couple nights that were so painful. 

favorite moments: Seeing him kick for the first time and my belly move. Not going to lie, it kinda freaked me out a little, but was amazing at the same time too.

hardest moments: Being dehydrated from not drinking enough water. It was so scary because they wanted me to come into labor and delivery. After talking with the doctors they advised I just lay down and drink about 5 more glasses of water that night. It was very scary, because I thought 'this is all my fault, I should have taken care of my body' It was definitely a wake up call!

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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

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. 

+ 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!


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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