I FOUND IT!!!

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I have a few trips coming up on the horizon, and I’m always worried about taking my wedding rings on vacay. I’m not a super sentimental person when it comes to material things, but my wedding ring? I’d prefer to keep that safe. Not to mention I’m a pretty fluid person, and like to change up my clothes, hair and vibe often! I love having variety in my life. I think it’s a newer thing that millennials have really perpetuated, to remove some of the more rigid traditions around wedding rings. It’s not uncommon for brides to have several that they change out depending on their mood or #OOTD. Plus a lot of millennials just don’t have the cash to spend thousands on wedding rings. So we’re opting for more cost effective options. I’ve looked at other options before, I have had countless cubic zirconium rings that have tarnished and lost their shine and were super cheap looking. (ew, no thank you!) It’s so hard to find a good diamond simulant, but OMG guys…I found it!!! One company that absolutely NAILS it. And the best news?? They are a fraction of the cost of real diamonds.

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This is my new GORGEOUS silver engagement ring from Tiger Gems. Isn’t she a beauty?? I literally spent forEVER looking on their website trying to choose one! I chose this amazing round cut solitaire ring (you can find my set here) that is simple and bold just the way I like my jewelry! Be sure to use code: TimAsh for a sweet discount when you treat yo’self!

Also be sure to check out the Tiger Gems YouTube Channel for some pretty amazing videos where people were seriously unable to tell which ring had real diamonds and which were Tiger Gems’ simulated ones!

Yes, they are that good!

These amazing pieces are perfect to take on vacation, to add to your wedding jewelry collection, and as a perfect option for those blingin’ on a budget. (You’re welcome!!)

Sparkle on, babe-

-Ash

Our Charleston Trip

Ash and her cousin, Calvin

Ash and her cousin, Calvin

For a few days in April, Ash and I got to visit Charleston together. Ashley was the “Best Ma’am,” for her cousin who was the groom. As such, one of Ashley’s responsibilities was to plan the bachelor party. Ashley asked if I could come out to Charleston with her the weekend before the wedding to keep her company and go to the bachelor party with her.

I knew Ashley would be more comfortable if I was able to be with her there. It gave me the opportunity to see some of her family that we both enjoy hanging out with. Plus, we always have fun when we are able to explore a new city together.  

The Friday we got there we were able to have dinner at a local restaurant called Fuel and then walked down on King’s Street to check out some spots for the bachelor party the following evening. We found ridiculously good ice cream at a place called Jeni’s. Interesting enough, when we came back to our local AJs we found that they sell Jeni’s ice cream!

Saturday morning I woke up early and found a local pastry and coffee shop called Wild Flour Pastry. Ever since Ashley and I’s first vacation, our honeymoon, we enjoy finding a local coffee shop where we can go and spend our mornings on vacation. Give me a coffee, a pastry, and my wife on an outdoor patio in the morning, and I am set. If that can happen, I consider the vacation a success.

At The Cocktail Club on King St.

At The Cocktail Club on King St.

After a little rough start to the bachelor party that evening, one guy pre-gamed too hard and passed out before we went to dinner, we had a fantastic time. We had appetizers at a bar with local music, had dinner at a nice Italian restaurant, ice cream again at Jeni’s, dancing at a nightclub, and finishing the night at a hip upstairs bar. Nightclub’s are not my scene, but I know that Ashley loves when I dance with her and I knew she was bummed that we were not going to be able to dance at the wedding (I had to fly home on Monday and the wedding was on Thursday). So I got outside of my comfort zone and danced with her and we had a lot of fun.

Enjoying sandwiches and coffee at Carmella’s on Bay St.

Enjoying sandwiches and coffee at Carmella’s on Bay St.

Sunday was Easter and we were able to spend the whole day together. We went to Wild Flour Pastry in the morning (again my favorite part) and got to stroll along King’s Street. We did a carriage tour around Charleston and explored some of the historic sites with her cousins and aunt and uncle.

Time on vacation with just Ashley and I is an enormous blessing. We usually end up talking about our hopes, dreams, and ideas that we have. Historically I have discounted my ideas as crazy and pushed them to the side. Ashley has been encouraging me lately to explore my ideas and not to instantly discount them. Ideas like starting a baby food jar recycling business or tinkering in customizing leather boots or working with Crossfit gyms to sell t-shirts internationally. Ashley has encouraged me to think of no idea as too big or too silly. The ability to share with her my ideas has required vulnerability, but her encouraging me and not discounting me, has made us closer.

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I encourage you to spend time on vacation doing the things you and your partner enjoy together, go outside of your comfort zone to do something you know your partner enjoys, and spend time dreaming together. In my experience, that is a good recipe for a great vacation.

-Tim


Capsulizing Your Travel Wardrobe

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I think I’ve done most of the traveling in our marriage, it’s just wound up that way. When I think back to how I used to travel and pack when I was first married, I just laugh. I still over-pack slightly, but gosh it’s nothing like how it used to be. Once I became a wardrobe stylist, I really began to embrace and love the idea of capsulizing wardrobes, especially when packing. Now when I travel, I rarely check bags if I can help it!

The basic philosophy for capsulizing your travel wardrobe, is so that you can double or even triple your outfit options without increasing the luggage. By packing thoughtfully, and being sure your pieces coordinate, it’s super easy to create a lot of looks with just a few key pieces. For such a short trip, each top should be able to be worn with any and all pants, skirts, etc.

Here’s how I get started:

1.) I map out my trip and what I’ll be doing.

So for this trip, most of my time will be spent cuddling or running around with my 2 year old nephew and holding my new little niece. My sister said she may want to sneak away for an evening with me while Daddy holds down the fort, so I’ll need to also pack something cute, but not fancy to wear to get out of the house. Also, at this point, I take weather into consideration. It is going to be highs in the mid-seventies and lows in the high 40’s, low 50’s. Cold by Arizona standards, so a jacket will be an absolute must. If it’s colder than that, I’ll just borrow a coat from my sister.

2.) Figure out the ratios

Because most of my time will be spent around the house, playing at the park, driving to doctor appointments etc., my travel wardrobe needs to reflect that. We generally tend to focus most of our packing attention and energy onto the events we are most excited about, and forget that those events don’t usually occupy our entire trip. You have to make sure you have enough options for the rest of your trip as well.

Total Pieces:

1 Button Up Shirt

3 T-shirts (normally, I’d pack two, but baby spit-up…)

1 pair of jeans

1 pair of yoga pants

1 dress

1 pair of pjs

Underwear for all the days

1 pair of comfy tennis shoes

1 pair of wedge heels

1 Jacket


3.) Capsulize

This is the fun part. I’ll be gone from Saturday to Tuesday, so excluding the first travel day, I have to make sure I’ve got outfits for 3 days.

Day 1: I like to travel comfy, yet chic, so for traveling there, I’ll be wearing a pair of black yoga pants leggings, a comfy button-up shirt, my “leather” jacket, and some cute wedge heels. I want to conserve space in my luggage since it will be all carry-on, so by wearing the bulkiest shoes, I’ll have those for when we go out, but I don’t need to pack them. Once I get there, it sounds like we will be going out into some desert area nearby so I can take some family photos of them, so I’ll simply change out of my shoes into some comfy tennis shoes that will be packed.

Day 2: Just a lazy day around the house, playing, and doing some cooking. I’ll re-wear the yoga pants and throw on a cute graphic t-shirt, suitable for lounging around the house. Because I’m running the risk of being spit-up on, I’m going to pack an extra t-shirt, just in case.

Day 3: Today, I’ll be taking my sister and the kids around town to a few doctor appointments, so I want to be a tiny step above yoga pants and a t-shirt, while still being comfortable enough to help her wrangle some kids! Jeans and that button-up from Day 1 would be super cute with this, paired with those comfy tennis shoes. And if we wind up going out that night, I can just change shoes to the wedge heels and instantly dress up the outfit. If I have extra room in my bag, maybe I’ll pack a maxi dress.

Day 4: Today I’ll be heading home, so again, comfy and chic, I’ll throw on a t-shirt and jeans and leather jacket with those wedge heels and get ready to jump into Tim’s arms, as no doubt, I’ll be a touch homesick and ready to be back in the swing of things with him.

Total packed pieces:

3 t-shirts

1 pair of jeans

1 dress

1 pair of pjs

Underwear

1 pair of comfy tennis shoes


My tip for maximizing packing space, is rolling your clothing into tight little logs you can stack and squeeze in there. I have loads more packing tips to share in a future blog, and guess what?? I’ll be traveling again in just a couple weeks to Charleston for my cousin’s wedding where I’ll be there a whole week! And guess what? Only carry-ons for me. In that blog, I’ll be sharing some of my extreme space saving tricks I’ve learned over the years of packing 4 kids’ worth of clothes into as little space as possible!


-Ash

When You're Gone...

When You’re Gone…


So for those of you who don’t know, I struggle with depression and anxiety.

I hate saying that, it feels like I line I’ve rehearsed so many times that it barely has any meaning anymore. Like when you fixate on a word, “Apple” and say it so many times you start to giggle at how silly the word sounds tumbling off your tongue as though suddenly it’s in a foreign language. But I say it a lot, because I want people to know how common it is, that they are not alone.

Anyway- this stuff affects way more than I would like to admit that it does. Like when Tim leaves town. I have this intense FOMO (fear of missing out) which stems from abandonment trauma. (Don’t you love Millennials? We are so adept at relating all of our issues back to our traumas.)

So when Tim has to leave town for work or just a few days away on a guys trip- I. Freak. Out.

Not externally of course, but my dependency issues rear their ugly head and I run smack into them, always a bit surprised to see them, but eh- who am I kidding?

I was pretty spoiled for awhile because after we got married, we were rarely apart. However, right after we got married, I got pregnant. *cue crazy lady hormones I distinctly remember Tim going out to play video games at his friend’s house and sobbing on the couch because he wasn’t there. This -ish runs deep. It’s serious. Seriously annoying. Of course then, I was a pregnant newlywed, so I had an excuse. Now,...I’m a woman in my early thirties in a solid, happy marriage, still confronting my abandonment issues. It’s the worst. So here’s a little rundown of how this usually goes. This is deeply embarrassing, but I’m sharing it because I’m sure I’m not the only one who deals with this crap.

Day 1- I’ve got a brave face on. I drop Tim off at the airport, or watch him fold his 6’6” frame into the back of a tiny Uber, and I’m okay. “I’ve got things to do, I’ve planned things to keep me busy and occupied while he’s gone. I’m gonna be okay.” The kids are upbeat and although bedtime is hard because they all miss him, we all survive. And I get about 4 hours of sleep.

Day 2- I become the “fun mom.” In order to distract myself from the impending implosion I can feel coming, I am running around town, spending more money than I should be on the kids, showering them with new things, new experiences...hell- maybe we will go take our own trip somewhere. Expedia reminds me my bank account has told me to stay home, so instead, I’m riding a caffeine and sugar high until we all crash at bedtime. Only now that the fun people have gone to sleep and it’s just me- I get anxiety. So I Netflix and Chill-the-heck-out on my phone and only get about 3 hours of sleep.

Day 3- Running on 7 hours of sleep in 48 hours is just not sustainable for me. I wish I was that woman. I think I am that woman, until suddenly on Day 3, I wake up and look in the mirror wondering who gave me 2 black eyes in my sleep. But no, that’s just the dark circles. *sigh On Day 3, the kids somehow communicated this message to each other, “It’s Time.” They fight, yell, whine, and complain all. Freaking. Day. And to be honest, I can’t blame them. With the bar set so high on our adventures of Day 2, they are not content to stay home while this creature that resembles a bedraggled version of their mother is trying not to get tears and self-loathing in her coffee. Then, it happens. Suddenly, I can’t take the whining, the arguing and their attitudes anymore. *cue implosion. I rant, I cry, I storm off to put myself in time-out. Meanwhile, my kids are looking at each other like, “Did we break her?” There is silence. I feel terrible. I scrap the pieces of myself off the floor, off the wall and off the bed, and shuffle out to them. I apologize and like the amazing humans they are- they forgive me. I usually end up buying them icecream for their trouble. Everyone goes to bed early that night, and I am still up trying to pass the time, thinking, “Only tonight and then one more night.” I get 5 hours of sleep.

Day 4- Today brings determination to do better. I’m working hard to stay positive even though the kids are just as exhausted that Dad’s not home yet. We don’t ever begrudge him the trips, but gosh how we miss him. I pick back up where I left off from Day 1 at getting things done, and clean up around the house a bit. I pay the kids to do the dishes. My smile is weak, but I’m still standing. Only one more sleep. I get about 5 hours because I’m emotionally and physically depleted.

Day 5- Coming home day, I’m racing around the house cleaning like a madwoman, so I can look like I had my -ish together the whole time. I move furniture, I buy a new rug for the kitchen, I light candles. This house looks amazing. Time crawls by that day, as I’m hitting refresh on the flight tracker watching his little plane icon travel home. I feel crazy. I know I am, but I don’t even care at this point. I’m just excited that Tim is coming home.


-Ash