Wednesday, July 31, 2013

About OmmWriter

Photo: here

I know what your thinking right now, “Ashley, what are you doing up so early?! You’re usually up at 7, what is the meaning of this 6 AM post?” Well…they have me opening at work today and my newly bestowed position requires me to be in a bit earlier than everyone else in the store. So that’s my story…it’s work. Not because I have a strange urge to get up at 6:15 (7 is early enough in my book!)

I wrote this post yesterday so I could roll out of bed and hit publish before embarking on my 8 hour day. Today I want to write about…writing.

For the past year, as you know, I have been writing this blog almost everyday sans weekends, vacations and days that are just to unbearable. I find myself impressed with the fact that I have been able to keep up with it and am thrilled when I look back and see how the quality of my content has improved. Practice does make perfect. :) For the past month I have seen another boost in my writing.

When I write the blog I usually have music playing but I noticed that I was focusing so much on the lyrics and singing along and as a result my posts seemed just a little choppy and unorganized (in my opinion at least!) Then one day I was reading the blog Story of My Life which is currently one of my favorites and Jenni posted about a program which you can download onto your computer (for free!) called OmmWriter. I decided to download it and give it a go. The program opens up on your screen revealing a very serene, clean and non-distracting background. There is also very soft music playing and some shockingly calming typing sounds. The experience is better if you have your earbuds in blocking out the rest of the world completely, leaving yourself with just your thoughts and your work. I have definitely noticed an improvement in my writing from this since I can focus easier and honestly, I have been able to write posts quicker. I’m clocking in at about 10 minutes on this post…but this is longer than I usually go for the blog anyway. I just have a lot to say about this program. If you can, I definitely suggest downloading the program, especially if you are a serious writer who could use a calm writing environment.

<3 Ashley

What have you done to improve your writing? Check out OmmWriter here!

P.S. Today is the final day to enter the Wear It Loud giveaway with rue21! You have the chance to win a $250 shopping spree with me!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Book Club: Someday, Someday Maybe

Image: here

Aside from floating in the ocean waves on my vacation, I spent a lot of time camped on the sand or lounging poolside with my eyes glued to my Kindle. Vacation is always a great time to catch up on reading you may have let slip over the past few months. I had promised myself that I would start and finish "Someday, Someday Maybe" by Lauren Graham on vacation. I almost fulfilled that too--I actually finished it the night we got back home.

The story follows Franny Banks, an twenty-something aspiring actress in 1990s New York City. Franny's interest is in theater but all she can seem to nab is commercials. Suddenly, things begin to look up for Franny after a Showcase, which she totally thought she blew, when she manages to get an agent, a new romantic interest, and some new jobs. But as I'm sure we all know, the good times don't always last or they really aren't that good when you start to think about it. Franny is elated when her agency offers her a part in a movie, but becomes nervous and doubtful when she realizes that she has a nude scene.

I really did enjoy this novel; it was definitely a good one to take on vacation. I appreciated the character's struggles and weaknesses and could also relate to her inner monologue and way her mind worked. My mind can be that erratic and all over the place as well. The ending was a little different, and left kind of open for maybe another book. I really would like to know more about the characters after what happened in this novel. I would definitely recommend reading "Someday, Someday Maybe." Check it out here!

<3 Ashley

Have you read any good books lately?

P.S. I have just started another book (trying to read as much before school when I am made to read textbooks and other novels against my will) titled "Beautiful Ruins"by Jess Walter. So far so good! Expect another review after I finish it! :)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Shots From the Beach: That Face

Well as far as I am concerned, summer is pretty much over. My break from school has pretty much revolved around working and saving up for this coming school year. Last week was a lovely and welcomed break from “Did you find everything okay?” “Any other coupons?” and “Have a great day!” I had such a good time soaking up the sun on the beach and spending nights on the boardwalk. While I’m sure a few of you have seen just about enough vacation photos on Instagram, I have discovered the best ones on the family camera.

One thing I have noticed over this past year of blogging and seeing all of the photos that accompany posts, is that the blogger/subject in the image is usually very poised and busy selling whatever their wearing or doing to the reader. The photos are beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but once in awhile an injection of personality is very welcomed. So I pulled just a few photos from the vacation collection that display my very happy, excited, cheesy and kind-of-embarrassing-for-others personality!

That middle face is a good one to use if you really want your family to pretend they don't know you ;)

<3 Ashley

How have you been since I've been away?

P.S. Have you checked out the Wear It Loud giveaway that I have partnered with rue21 on? If you haven’t, by all means don’t wait any longer! You could win a $100 rue gift card or a $250 shopping spree with this girl! **two big thumbs pointing at me!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

She's Baaaack!

Just wanted to drop a small note and let you know that I am back from the most relaxing and enjoyable vacation. So my blog silence is over and am back to regular updates.

And for those readers of mine getting ready for back to school check out my giveaway with rue21! As a runner up you receive a $100 rue21 gift card and if you are a winner you get a $250 rue21 shopping spree with me!

Have a nice weekend!!
<3 Ashley

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Wear It Loud w/ rue21 + Contest

The other day I was sent a $50 gift card by rue21 and given the opportunity to go on a shopping spree. The goal of this trip was to pick out an outfit that allowed me to ‘wearing it loud.’ What exactly do I mean by ‘wear it loud?’ I don’t so much mean wearing bright colors and bold prints, but rather wearing YOU. Back to school outfits are always a big deal even if you say it’s not. How many of us have been up the night before with our roommates or friends via Skype comparing what’s in our closets and asking for opinions? Even in college I have found myself going through this routine; before the first day of classes my roommate and I were in our dorm holding outfits up in front of the mirror saying phrases like “Is this too much?” “What shoes go with this?” and “Is this too high school?”

The first day of school outfit is your first impression. You can show everyone your personality with just one outfit. That’s what ‘Wear It Loud’ means. Show off your personality loud and proud! In my turn about the store I came upon this black chiffon vest with leather details and blush skater dress that I thought would look great. I personally tend more towards lighter, pastel colors because they feel very lovely and ladylike to me, but I could not say no when I was in the dressing room and saw the vest over top of the dress; it gave it just a little bit of an edge that I like to think that I have but don’t really show off too often. If you have been following my blog and style posts for awhile you know that I am not one for tons of accessories and I rarely wear jewelry. I believe in making a statement with just a few things paired together. You’ll notice in my pictures here that my only accessories really are my sunglasses and just a few gold bracelets.

So, this is me…wearing it loud. Now it’s your turn; you have an opportunity to enter the Wear It Loud contest hosted by rue21. Just comment below answering the question ‘How do you wear it loud?’ also include your email so I can contact you if you are winner or a runner up. Runners up will receive a $100 rue21 gift card (do some back to school shopping!) and the winner will receive a $250 rue21 shopping spree with yours truly :D Follow the link here and make sure to read up on all of the contest rules and prize details. Can’t wait to read all of your responses!!

<3 Ashley

How do you wear it loud? Don’t forget to leave your email so I can contact you!! Rules ----> here

Monday, July 22, 2013

Packing, Unpacking, Repacking & Overpacking

Image: here

That title above is a very apt description of what my travel preparations have been as long as I have been packing my own suitcase. I am literally the worst; and no matter what I always forget something! Anyone else like this? Just me? I am also a HUGE procrastinator so the packing that I had to do before 6 AM Saturday morning did not actually get underway until about 8 PM Friday night (and I take forever…see title.)

So instead of throwing the contents of my closet into my half of the suitcase--I have to share with my brother--I sat down and calmly (read: semi-panicked) made a list of what I would need and planned my outfits. One full piece of stationary later I dove into it. Everything fit into my half perfectly. Here are just a few of the beach essentials that I included:

Maxi dresses: I wore one for travel and one sat in my suitcase. I love maxi dresses and always will. On the beach and boardwalk they are a beautiful thing.

Shorts: A no-brainer. I brought two pair since we have access to laundry and I have a dress and a skirt to make outfits out of as well. Shorts are very summer-y and laidback with a tank top, basic tee or fun graphic tee (read: Captain America t-shirt) or really anything!

Light sweaters: Windy nights are pretty much a constant at least while I am near a beach. I’m sure the winds stop once I leave. So to combat the slight chill of summer seaside nights I carry a light cardi or zip-up.

Don’t forget swimsuits: Can I just say…these are the last things I packed. What does that say about my focus and brain power? Don’t be like me and nearly forget these essentials!

Accessories: Sunglasses! Hats! Wraps! Rings! Necklaces! Bags! Go wild!

<3 Ashley

What are your beach essentials? Are you as bad at packing as I am?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Finally Taking a Vacation

Photo: here

It’s finally here! The day I have been pining for for the past month: the last day of work before we leave for vacation. This year a long trip feels very much well deserved.

I will be gone for all of next week so that means that the blog is definitely not going to get AS MUCH attention as it probably deserves. I do have a few posts planned and will be taking my computer with me only for the sake of a VERY special post that I have coming up on Wednesday (so don’t miss it!) But can honestly say that I will not be posting everyday. How can I with a beach in front of me?

However, you will by no means be losing contact with me; in this day and age I find it difficult to completely fall off the face of the Earth. I’m sure there will be Instagramming galore from me. If you haven’t yet you can follow my Instagram amor0713. Also, don’t forget that I have a new Twitter for the blog @ashley_atg. I just wanted to make sure I posted this before I left; there will still be a TGIF Pins post tomorrow though!

<3 Ashley

Have you been on vacation yet? Where did/will you go?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Just A Note

Hey everyone! Just wanted to drop by and point out something that I don't know if you have had the chance to notice. After the blog turn 1 last month I started doing little things here and there to improve it and how I function with it. I ended up creating a Twitter account that is specifically for this blog (previously I just used my personal account) So you can now click on the Twitter icon in the sidebar and follow me @ashley_atg if you would like blog updates via Twitter! I will in turn follow you back!

<3 Ashley

While we're talking Twitter, feel free to post your Twitter handle in the comments below!

I Know I'm A Little Late...

Photo: here

Remember in my post about Letters to Juliet when I told you that I am the worst at keeping up with pop culture and staying on top of new releases? Well I have finally gotten around to really listening to Taylor Swift’s album “Red.” [read: now I’ve listened to more than “We Are Never Getting Back Together”] Anyway, what usually happens with me and Taylor Swift is that I will listen to an album for awhile and get a little tired of some of the songs--the kind of whine-y ones. However, I can honestly say that I love each and every song on this album.

My favorites are “All Too Well” and “The Last Time” which is a duet with the singer of Snow Patrol, Gary Lightbody. Overall, I think that there is a more grown-up vibe on this album than on any of her others; but that’s just me. “Red” also feels less country to me and enters more into the realm of pop which doesn’t really bother me (hey! she can do whatever she wants!) I have been listening to it a lot on my way too and from work; I find it to be a good one to drive to. I am disappointed that I won’t be able to catch her on the “Red” tour this summer since I’ve heard very good things about it and I enjoy this album so much. I definitely give “Red” two very enthusiastic thumbs up! (Clueless reference…I honestly cannot stop myself!)

<3 Ashley

What are your thoughts on “Red?” Will you/have you seen Taylor’s tour this summer?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Style: My Favorite Summer Pieces

Dress || Skirt

A few weeks ago I took my first shopping trip in awhile--college has inspired a kind of thriftiness in me! Anyway I just wanted to pick out some things to take to the beach. I am very proud of all of my purchases especially my Captain America tee. But there are two pieces that I had been looking at for awhile and debated getting (and of course I did get them!) The one is a maxi dress by Margot + Sebastian and the other is a floral high-low skirt by Joe Benbasset. Both can be purchased at Kohl's. The skirt also comes in solid black and solid white but the floral one is the one that caught my eye. These two will definitely be coming to the beach with me!

<3 Ashley

What are your favorite pieces to wear this summer?

You can shop these pieces and other in my closet at Stylitics. Click here to access my page or click on the Stylitics widget in the sidebar.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up: Nineteen Candles

Good morning (or whatever time of day you are reading this) everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend full of fun and adventure or you at least got to put your feet up and relax. My birthday was on Saturday and I turned--the kind of pointless age--19. After work on Friday a couple of my friends took me to dinner and we had some great laughs and free dessert (for me at least!) On Saturday my family took me to lunch and then we started a weekend long Marvel movie marathon; we finished the marathon yesterday after my grandparents came by to deliver my birthday card. I had a lovely birthday weekend but it has come and gone and now it's back to work. Just five days and we'll be embarking on our--much deserved--beach vacation!

<3 Ashley

Did you do anything fun this weekend?

Friday, July 12, 2013


Well this is a late in the day kind of post (but not the latest I've gone!) I went through work today with one of the worst headaches I think I've ever had. But that quickly went away when I met up with a couple of my lovely friends for dinner--and got an Advil off one of them--to celebrate my birthday tomorrow. I definitely appreciated the free dessert I got but was a little bummed that they didn't sing to me! It was a very lovely and fun way to kick off the birthday weekend; and to close the week here are my favorite pins from the past week!







(All Images: here)

Have a nice weekend! 

<3 Ashley

P.S. can we talk about the new Pinterest look? Love it? Hate it? What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Summer Style

So I noticed that recently haven't done a lot of style posts--which I used to be committed to doing at least once a week. Anyway, since I seem to be supremely overdue for one I thought, "What better day than today?" My summer style is really nothing fancy or anything to be completely falling over...but I think I do alright ;) I get pretty simple and wear a lot of basics; it's not like fall/winter where I get creative with layering and scarves and such. While it may be basic, I always like to have an accessory to catch the eye. Currently I am loving my chiffon floral headwrap from Forever 21 (it's $3.80 so get on that!) I like it best with a white or off-white top and dark shorts or, as I am currently wearing it, my coral capris.

You can shop this look and other outfits and pieces in my closet on Stylitics. Check out my profile here or you can access it by clicking on the widget in the sidebar!

<3 Ashley

What does your summer style look like? What kind of accessories do you go for?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Summer Beauty Essentials

I've talked so much about summer-y accessories and maxi dresses but I haven't given much attention to beauty--namely skin care. I'm not much of a skin pro, but I do know what has worked for my skin and so today I will share the few products that I use during the summer. Basically what you see here...this is it. I don't use much else besides face wash (twice a day followed by moisturizer!) In the mornings before I put on any make-up--if any!--I apply primer and foundation. I keep a bottle of Evian Mineral Water spray in my bag in case I feel my face getting a little gross from the humidity. And don't forget the SPF! I've done well with the Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch and it has a nicer scent than most sunscreens.

<3 Ashley

What beauty products do you use during the summer?

Review: Revenge Wears Prada

Image: here

At the end of Lauren Weisberger's "Devil Wears Prada" we saw Andrea Sachs leave Runway and its tyrannical editor Miranda Priestly in Paris and begin a bit of her own freelance writing in hopes of being published in The New Yorker. "Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns" opens a decade later as Andy exchanges vows with her love Max (read: not Adrien Grenier or Simon Baker) Andy and Emily--remember Miranda's first assistant--have launched a wedding magazine The Plunge.

There is a lot going on in this story--wedding, business, baby, all sorts of relationships--but what I assumed to be the big conflict does not actually rear its head until well into the book. Elias-Clark, the publishing company that Runway operates under has interests in acquiring The Plunge which would doom Andy to working under Miranda again who is head publishing editor or something.

In my opinion, the book was not at all horrible; it was just a tad predictable. The character of Andy also annoyed me more as the book progressed, often coming of as short-sighted and a bit irrational. I thought that the first book was much better, but obviously I'm not going to tell you to read this book or not. I just had some difficulty thinking the same way as the story's protagonist.

<3 Ashley

Are you a fan of "Devil Wears Prada?" Have you read this sequel? What are your thoughts?

Friday, July 5, 2013


Oh so many different feelings this week. Relief at a short work week, happiness of the 4th of July, and frustration/hatred of technology and everything around it. More phone troubles for me! But my contract is up on the 19th and from the sound of family conversations and the voice in my head I will be taking another step toward adulthood and choosing my own carrier, plan and phone...yikes! But I think I have a plan set in motion after tons of research that I feel somewhat comfortable with. I will be researching further and finalizing my decision this weekend and will hopefully be going to the beach with a new phone! Speaking of weekends, it's another 3-day one for me followed by one of the shortest work weeks I have ever worked (2 days) so I am hoping to get a hair appointment in as well. Anyway, enough about me; it's Friday, so here are some of my favorite pins this week!









I hope you all have a great weekend!

<3 Ashley

Any fun plans for the weekend?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th!

Image: here

Happy Independence Day, folks! I hope you have fun plans made for your celebration today. I'm staying home with the family today and we're having a little cookout. If the rain holds off I would like to eat outside but these grey clouds do not bode well. And what is 4th of July without fireworks? While we won't personally be setting any off, I can be confident in saying at least two people around here will be setting them off.

Have fun celebrating America's birthday!

<3 Ashley

What do you have planned for the celebrations?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Recipe: Homemade Pasta

Photo and Recipe: here

If you know anything about me you know that love pretty much any pasta dish. Whenever I eat out I go straight to the pasta selections of the menu with the confidence that you can't screw it up (I was proven wrong last night by a pretty mediocre chicken parm!) I have also taken to whipping up a quick and easy pasta meal with lunch before work. After a discussion with my mother about food and health--these convos happen more often then you would think--I began researching homemade pasta recipes.

I found one on All Recipes that seemed very easy and I can say that for the most part it was. The only real tedious part was cutting the pasta since we don't own a machine to do it for us. This pasta was DELICIOUS! I highly recommend trying it, so here is the recipe:

- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (I added this since the mixture was originally pretty dry)

What to Do:
- Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the flour and add the egg, mix. Dough should be stiff. If needed add water. Dough will probably still be dry so add olive oil.

- Kneed dough on lightly floured surface for about 3-4 minutes. Roll to desired thinness then cut to desired width (I tried to cut fettuccine sized)

Then you can dress it up how you like. I added olive oil, garlic, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and parmesen cheese. Yum!

<3 Ashley

Are you going to give this a try? What's your favorite pasta dish?

Separate announcement: I was recently invited to create a profile and closet on the site Stylitics. The site compiles trends in the closets of its users to report what people are wearing. You can also shop the closets on the site (including Marilyn Monroe's!) You can click on the widget in my sidebar to check out my closet and explore the site!
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