August 2015

Easy Kitchen Remodel- Part One Before

Hello Friends!

As you know we are moving full speed ahead on the Master Bathroom Renovation. You can check in on the progress here, here and here. With all the construction going upstairs, we wanted to update the kitchen but keep the remodel cheap, fast and easy. Before we get into the plan take a look at what we are dealing with:

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Thats right folks, we have salmon pink walls, light oak cabinets and white appliances. For the most part the kitchen is in great shape. We have dark granite counter tops, stone backsplash, nice solid wood cabinets and the layout works fine. It is a huge space to work with.

The plan is to:

  • Paint the Walls
  • Stainless Appliances
  • Paint the Cabinets
  • Update the Hardware

First Brian, who is the master of a good deal, scoured the internet looking for new appliances. Boy did he do great! We found a family selling their dishwasher and microwave/oven combo that was practically brand new. What a deal. I highly suggest to look around before heading right to the big box stores for appliances. There are deals all over if you have patience and look hard enough. Just look at these babies!IMG_4312 IMG_4316They need a good cleaning, but hey, we saved thousands of dollars on this! We have our eye on a fridge at Lowes that is on sale, so stay tuned for it to come into our lives pretty soon.

I’ve been following Sarah from Thrifty Decor Chick for years. She is always coming up with clever solutions around her house. Last spring I remember reading her post about adding DIY soft close doors to her kitchen cabinets. I loved the idea and after finding the Soft Close dampers on Amazon it ends up being around $3.00 per door. Read Sarah’s entire post and video on how to add these to your own kitchen cabinets here! 

Next we need to decide on wall and cabinet paint colors. I know i’d like to tie into the stone colors int he backsplash so I am thinking a Grey/Beige for the walls and a deeper Grey tone for the cabinets. Off to Lowe’s we go!  Comment below and let me know what simple upgrades you’ve done in your kitchen!

Until Next Time,


Master Bathroom Renovation: Starting Tile

Wow! Have you ever had a week that felt like it would never end? Me neither.. and its only Thursday. First lets do a re-cap of what we already completed.Last week we finished the demo of the Master Bathroom. Brian re-did all of the plumbing behind the scenes (sorry we don’t have a photo!) Once the plumbing was updated, we jumped in with the drywall. We are using green board to avoid water problems in the future. IMG_6275
We added a prefabricated niche into the back wall. We then began to really frame out the new shower stall. As you remember we voted to do the half wall/half glass shower stall. It was important to make this area strong in case anyone lean into the half wall or bumped into the glass. We don’t want our shower wall to fall over! Brain and I braced the bottom and reinforced the frame into the wall. IMG_6287
Next we began to frame out the bench. Originally I was thinking the bench to go underneath the shower head, but after seeing the walls framed in it felt TIGHT. We opted to move the bench over to the tub side. This really made the shower stall feel bigger and I am happy Brian suggested to move it! We then cut and inserted the pre slopped shower pan

IMG_6282With all of the framing and drywall completed we started on the water proofing. We used a Schluter-KERDI waterproofing membrane. It is a orange durable, pliable sheet that covers all surfaces that will be tiled.

IMG_6887I know, by now you’re saying “Isn’t this post tiled ‘Starting Tile'”.. This shower was all about the prep work, and we are finally ready to tile. We decided to do an accent wall behind the shower head. I wanted a large rectangular shape that was about the same shape as our rainfall shower head.We did a smaller scale tile in the same color family for the shower floor. Using a smaller tile makes it easier to get the proper slop for water to drain

IMG_7039Next we started the remaining walls!


We used a stair-stack pattern on the shower walls and a grid pattern on the main bathroom floor. This was just to add a subtle detail to the space. We did a smaller scale tile in the same color family for the shower floor. Using a smaller tile makes it easier to get the proper slop for water to drain. It looks like a mess right now but I am already in love.

IMG_7185We let the tile sit and cure before adding the grout. IMG_7213The grout needs a GOOD cleaning before it will look completed. What a difference a week and a half can make! I am already getting all kind of ideas floating in my head of what else to do with the space! When we were planning the bathroom we just assumed we would paint the entire room but now I am thinking a trim detail might be the PERFECT touch. Stay tuned to see what we have up of sleeve!

Until Next Time,


DIY Car Emergency Kit

actuallyashley car kit coverOkay, okay… I was a Girl Scout, I admit it. With years of it being drilled into my head I have the natural instinct to “Always be prepared.” I’m not saying I am going to be featured on the next episode of Dooms Day Preppers but I am saying I don’t like to be caught off guard. When I was 16 years old in my very first car, my mother gave me my very first Emergency Car Kit. While my mom might have been preparing me for her apparent insight that I will someday be trapped inside my car in the apocalypse for seven weeks, I have since downsized my emergency kit to a few key items. I have separated my Car Kit into three main parts; Personal Hygiene Bags (one for me, one for Brian), First Aid Kit, and Extras.

The first part of my Car Emergency Kit is two Personal Hygiene Bags. The idea with this part of the kit is to have everything we would need if we needed to spend the night somewhere without notice. In the past this has been an unexpected hospital stay, spontaneous sleepover at a friends house, or having to stay so late at work I got a hotel room next door (true story). The items in our Hygiene bags make an unexpected overnight stay a little easier and is nice to have on hand. I started in the “travel” section of Target. You know, the one that has the racks of mini travel size bottles of almost anything. They have some pre-made toiletry kits in this isle. I happened to buy two of the “mens” kits to start. For some odd reason the mens kit was $2.00 less than the girls kit, so I went with two boy kits for the Car Kit. In addition to the pre-made kit, I added additional items that I’ve found myself needing. Here is what is in mine.

actuallyashley car kit4Personal Hygiene Bags:

  • Travel Size Tissues
  • Clorox Travel Wipes
  • Travel Size Disinfectant Spray
  • Travel Size Shave Cream & Razor
  • Travel Size Laundry Soap
  • Tooth Brush and Toothpaste
  • Comb/Brush
  • Body Soap/Bar of Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Plastic Baggie (to pack up wet stuff)

actuallyashley car kit5

The next part of my Emergency Kit is First Aid. Again, for ease I started with a pre-made first aid kit.  I then added additional supplies I find myself needing often. I added things like headache medicine and stomach ache medicine because that is what I am frequently reaching for.

actuallyashley car kit3
First Aid:

  • Pre-Made First Aid Kit
  • Tums
  • Ibuprofen
  • Benadryl (Pills and Cream)
  • Vaseline
  • Pepto Bismol
  • Neosporin
  • Antiseptic Spray
  • Hand Soap
  • Peroxide

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Lastly I added in a few extras. For this section I am more in the mind set of being stranded or having my car broken down. I try to add in items that might come in handy in a emergency situation.

actuallyashley car kit6Extras:

  • 2 Headlamp Style Flashlights (w/ extra batteries)
  • Battery Operated Radio/Clock (w/ extra batteries)
  • Reusable 20 Hour Glow Stick
  • Jumper-Cables (not pictured)
  • 3 Lighters
  • Binoculars
  • 2 Ponchos
  • 1 Small Pre-Made Tool Kit (not pictured)
  • Camp Knife
  • Small Tarp
  • Folding Shovel (not pictured)

actuallyashley car kit8actuallyashley car kit7I tuck all of the parts of my kit into a “shoe size” plastic tub. It is very small and easy to tuck under my back seat or throw into my trunk without taking up much space. Almost all of the items in my kit can be purchased at a store like Walmart or Target and estimate the entire cost to be around $150.00. I have added and removed items over the years as my needs change. I have been surprised with just how often I’ve turned for a band-aid or Tums from my Kit over the years.

What do you think, are you going to add a DIY Car Emergency Kit to your family vehicle? Leave a comment below to tell me what your must-haves are for your own kit! I’d love to hear what I am missing!

Until Next Time,


Professional Design: Victory Lakes Model

Hello There,

For a long time now, I’ve been working with builders to design model homes. You know, the sparkly, brand spanking new models that tell the amazing story of the life you might have if you spend the bucks to buy the house.. I love taking a blank homes and transforming them into fully designed spaces. Making up a fake family that lives there, deciding what sports the fake family’s kids play, deciding what activities the family is into. Its a fun game that I call my job! While working for Carlyn and Company I worked on a model for Miller and Smith called Victory Lakes Verde. This is a fun little town house located in a Virginia Suburb just outside of Washington DC. This three level home is perfect for a young family. For #TBT I wanted to let you take a peek at this project from last fall, take a look:

VICTORY-LAKES-ACTUALLY-ASHLEY Get a similar look: Drapery/Light/Wallpaper

One of my favorite rooms in this house is the Rec Room on the entry level. It is a really fun and funky space where a family could hang out and watch TV. We did a “Up-And-Over” wall treatment using gold grasscloth wall covering and some very thin trim for the edge. I just love the personality of this space!

victory-lakes-actually-ashley-9Get a similar look: Art/Chairs/Light

The dining room really set the tone for the main level of this home. We continued the oranges from downstairs, layering in light blues and crisp whites. We did custom striped drapery that really popped against the light toned walls (Sherwin Williams- Balanced Beige). The glass top table helps keep the space open and light.


Get a similar look: Barstools/Teal Tray/Pendants

In this open main floorpan, you move directly from the dining room into the kitchen. We did all white to keep the space light and airy. To anchor the island we did a fun block stripe treatment on the ceiling. The blue and orange accents really help to unify the kitchen space to the dining room next door.


Get a similar look: Pillows/Rug/Coffee Table

The kitchen opens up directly into the family room. This space features a beautiful fireplace with custom built-in cabinetry on either side that is painted white with mirror behind. We continued the same drapery over to this side of the house to again, help unify the space. We took a boring metal coffee table and had it painted the fun light blue!


Get a similar look: Drapery/Bedding/Nightstands

The master bedroom has a more neutral grey and white pallet with pops of the orange from downstairs. This fun printed bedding is one of my favorites, and I actually have it on my own bed! The orange greek key inspired throw pillows help keep the space feeling modern.


Get a similar look: Nightstand/Bedding/Art

Moving down the hall you find a really fun teenage girls room. We brought up the light blue from the main level and applied it to the walls. The crisp white in the bedding, headboard and art helps to balance the space. We stacked two of the nightstand tray tables and added glass for a bigger surface.


Get a similar look: Bedding/Drapery/Dresser

This little boys room was so fun to design! He is a Starwars fan to the max! I spray painted craft letters silver and glued them directly onto the mirrors to create such a fun detail. I found the Starwars bedding from Pottery Barn teen and the R2D2 throw pillows on Etsy! This was by far one of my favorite rooms to design!

Well, I hope you liked the view into my professional work. It is really fun to share some of the model homes I’ve worked on with you. What from these designs inspired you? Share in the comments below!

Feature: Rocks Rehabs 1

I wanted to share a fun project I have been working on that is a little bit outside of the box!

Rocks Rehabs buys and transforms real estate into beautiful homes. They truly care about the homes, neighborhoods and clients they work with and are not your everyday “house flipper”. That’s why I was so excited when I was asked to help with some kitchen and bathroom designs for them. All last spring I worked with Rocks Rehabs to design over a dozen kitchens and bathrooms for their upcoming projects. Now that the construction dust has settled, I am so excited to start to see the designs come to life!

The first home that is completed from our collaboration is a craftsman style home built in 1925. The house is charming and in a great part of Baltimore city for families. Take a look at the amazing transformation this house took in such a short amount of time!

Before:                                                                                                                       After:


Beautiful, right?!

Want to see more photos of this beautiful remodel? View the listing here or check out additional photos on Facebook. If you are in Maryland and interested in buying or selling a home, contact Joe from Rocks Rehabs and Keller Williams Gateway for the best customer service around.

What do you think of the kitchen and bathroom designs? Would you do anything differently? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

3130 Harview Avenue, Baltimore Maryland, 21234.

Until Next Time,


Getting My Fix: Stitch Fix Review 2

While this post is sponsored by Stitch Fix- As always, all of the comments and opinions in this post are my own.

ACTUALLY ASHLEY FIX 2If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed that Brian and I were at the beach all this week. Every year my parents rent a condo in Ocean City, Maryland. We had a condo in Ocean City when I was little, and I have extremely fond memories playing on the beaches there as a child. It is always fun to vacation with my family there and we look forward to a relaxing beach trip every year. Last week I was so happy with my first Stitch Fix delivery.  I was so excited when I got my second delivery right before we left for our trip because it was packed with perfect beach clothes. To get your own online personal stylist check out Stitch Fix now!

So here is what I got:

1: Papermoon Alona V-Neck Dress- Kept


As soon as I tried on this dress Brian said “Wow, that looks amazing on you”. I’ve never heard him more excited about a dress I was trying on before. This was a hands down keeper for me. It is perfect for a date night dinner, or add a jacket and pumps for a easy work outfit.

2: Dahlya Jupiter V-Neck Blouse- Kept


I love this simple navy and white print. The silky fabric was light which is perfect for the beach. I paired it with one of my favorite white shorts from New York and Company for a perfect nautical look.

3: Market & Spruce Ivy Crochet Back Tab-Sleeve Blouse- Kept



Wow. This top is perfect. I am a huge fan of three-quarter length sleeves because I feel like I can wear them almost year round. This cut is nice and flattering, and the open back is super cute for a casual blouse!

4: Kut From The Kloth Siena Cropped Pant- Kept


When packing for the beach, somehow.. some way.. I forgot these amazing pants. Shoot!

They are a nice summer length and can easily be dressed up or down. They would be great for the office in the summer with heels and a nice blouse. I will definatly get good use out of this closet staple!

5: Romolo Danver Chevron Fringe Pendant Necklace- Kept


Its funny because I was in TJ Maxx right before I got this Fix and almost bought a necklace just like this. I was hesitant to purchase the one because I was worried I wouldn’t wear it enough. Man was I wrong! In the week that I’ve had this necklace I have worn it four times! (Shown above with item 2 & 3 as well!) So happy Stitch Fix read my mind on this one. I paired this necklace with my Ann Taylor wrap dress, you can find a similar one here and here.

Yes my friends, I kept all five! That means an extra 25% off the price! Now I can not wait to see what my stylists is cooking up for next time. Keep in touch and stay tuned for the progress on the Master Bathroom Renovation and see the before photos here!

Until Next Time,


Master Bathroom Renovation: Demo Day!

After a really amazing family vacation, we came home to a decision! Last week we left it up to friends and family to help vote on which style shower should go into the new master bath! It was pretty tight but in the end- the half wall won!


This option gives us the most privacy, is less expensive and offers us some hidden storage options.

With our plan in tact and nice and refreshed from the beach, we started the demo of the old bathroom this week. I always fir get what a crazy mess demolition can be! As you know, we are living in the house while all the construction dust settles. We “moved out” of the master and into the guest room until this project can be completed. It is just too much to stay in that room with the dogs, dust, and debris.

We are going to keep the corner tub, toilet, and vanity but everything else had to go. With sledgehammer in hand we removed all of the tile in the existing shower and floor.

Click to enlarge

After clearing all of the stuff, we started with re-framing the shower for the half wall and bench. First we put up all new drywall (green board). Next we inserted some prefabricated “nooks” like you can get here. This saved us a ton of time and energy. We’ve done DIY versions of the nooks before, and let me tell you, the pre-made ones are worth their weight in gold. It can be a real pain in the neck to make sure everything is water proof.

When we were planning the design I was thinking the bench would be under the rainfall showerhead. After being in the space and seeing how tight that would be we changed it to be on the tub side. This made the shower feel so much larger. Brain did a TON of research on making the half wall in order for it to be strong enough to hold the glass and not move should someone lean on it. He added extra 2×4 on the floor and wall to secure it in place.


Click to enlarge

Well, thats where we are at! Chugging right along! Stop by in a few weeks to see the progress as we start to lay tile!

Until next time,



Top 5 Beauty Must-Haves

ActuallyAshley5BeautyMustHaves.jpg copyI get asked a lot of questions about which make-up brands I use. I feel like in my daily routine I am constantly trying new products and switching things up. While I am all about giving something new a try, there are a handful of products that I will always stand by. Here are my top 5 beauty must-haves:


1: Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral SPF45Why I love it: What is the golden rule- Always wear sunscreen… This product is so simple to add to the make-up routine that you already have. Simply brush on this translucent powder on top of your make-up for a UVA/UVB SPF 45 protection. This product is chemical and talc free! It will always be a staple for me!

Price: $30.00

Where to get it: In any Sephora store or online here.

2: Channel Correctur Perfection Concealer

Why I love it: I’ve tried a ton of concealers and find that most of them wont last me a full day at work. Channel’s Correctur Perfection pasted the test for 10+ hours of wear, which means it gets my recommendation.

Price: $42.00

Where to get it: Shop online here.

3: Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet + Foundation

Why I love it: This foundation can cover just about any thing. It creates an even and matted skin tone that creates that air brushed look. It is oil free, which helps to leave me non-greasy even on a long hot day. This foundation lasts and lasts.

Price: $38.00

Where to get it: Sephora stores or online here.

4: Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain

Why I Love it: Shown in 13 Marvelous Mauve, 04 Coral Crush and 08 Whipped Blush. I love the intense colors of these long wear lip stain. This stain is not like the rest, with a silky smooth feel that lasts from day to night. I haven’t found a lip stain that beats the Sephora Collection. If you love the bold red lip trend try color 01 Always Red!

Price: $14.00

Where to get it: Sephora Stores or online here.

5: Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15

Why I love it: Talk about butter-y soft lips! As a chapstick-girl, this lip treatment is life changing! It keeps my lips soft and smooth during cold winter months. Sugar Lip Treatments come in a bunch of tinted colors but my favorite is the Coral (shown). It gives just a hint of color but is not too over powering.

Price: $23.00

Where to get it: Get it online here.

BONUS: Miss Adoro Faux Eyelashes

Why I love it: I don’t wear faux lashes every day, but when I have a special occasion these are my go-to! They are super inexpensive compared to the ones you see in the drug-store (almost $6.oo/pair). These are made with 100% human hair and there are dozens of different styles to match ever eye. I like #307 for a long wing effect, #WSP whispy for the dramatic eye or #747L for a full effect.

Price: $1.99/pair

Where to get it: Get it online here.

Okay, so there are my top 5 beauty must-haves. Leave a comment below to let me know what beauty products you cannot live without!


Until Next Time,


Master Bathroom Renovation: An Introduction

Ugly master bathroom, meet the blog. Blog, meet ugly master bathroom.

When the house was purchased in 2009, little to nothing was done to it by the previous owners. Not even paint. Yup, white on white on white. It didn’t take us long after moving back into the house in 2015 to have the “itch” to start upgrading. We want to get on to renovating this house right away.

First thing on the list was the master bath. It features dated boring tile, gold shower and fixtures and horrible blue paint courtesy of Brian after we purchased the house…

(Click the photos to enlarge)

As you can see it is not cute. Before we even started this remodel we knew we wanted a few things:

  • Keep corner tub
  • Keep the existing vanity but need to fix it up
  • Create a bigger and better shower solution (bench and nooks, please!)
  • Keep this project as cheap as we can
  • We want to do as much as the projects as we can by ourselves. DIY all the way!

We started by removing the shower surround and glass in order to measure the space. Next we took a trip to Home Depot and Lowes to get an idea of what tiles we liked. We wanted to keep the tile neutral and “spa like”. One of the things I hate about the current bathroom the most is the accent tile that became dated so quickly. I want to avoid that happening again. After hours of wandering the isles of the hardware store, we decided on this

MBR SELECTIONSThe large tan squares will be on the walls and main floor, the small mosaic tan tiles will be the shower floor and the multi-colored mosaic tile will be our accent. Now that we have the tiles all picked out, we need to decided on a shower layout. I know I want a bench, and I know I want it to be open concept. We’ve never had a “doorless” shower before but I keep seeing them in magazines and online. I think they are pretty neat! Brain was a champ and drew up these two renderings to show our two options.

The first option is to have a half wall with a small piece of glass above:

What I love about option one is that it creates a little bit more privacy. We can also hide a “shower nook” in the half wall where we can hide all of our shampoos and soaps! This glass would also be much cheaper than option two.

The second option is to do all glass wall:MBR OPTION TWO

What I love about option two is the amount of light that the shower would get! It is spa like. It also allows a big impact right when you walk into the bathroom. 

What bathroom option would you pick? Help us decided by commenting below!

Until Next Time,



Getting My Fix: Stitch Fix Review 1

While this post is sponsored by Stitch Fix- As always, all of the comments and opinions in this post are my own.

Has everyone heard of Stitch Fix, because it is my new addiction? offers clothing and accessories that are hand picked by personal stylists, catered to your taste via an online questionnaire and your Pinterest boards. It is a perfect way to incorporate new items of clothing into your busy schedule, because they mail the items right to your front door. Ahh-maze-ing, right? Once the shipment arrives, try the items on, decided what you want to keep, go online and fill out what you liked or didn’t like about each item. Then simply mail back the items you don’t want to keep in the pre-paid package. You’re only charged for the items you keep!


What I personally love about Stitch Fix is just how easy it was. I simply went to their site and filled out my personal style quiz, which covered EVERYTHING you can think of, and linked my clothing board on Pinterest. A week later five items showed up on my doorstep!

My only rule was to only keep what I really really LOVED. If it was just a “like” it got sent back.

So here is what I got:

1: Collective Concepts Esten Button-Up Sleeveless Blouse- Returned


I was immediately attracted to the color! I just really love that rich coral for summertime. Unfortunately, it was simply too big on me so I had to send it back.

2: Skies are Blue Hancock Racerback Top- Returned


At first glance I thought I was going to love this one… but again, it was just too big. I had to send this one back.

3: 41Hawthorn Abrianna Longsleeve Knit Cardigan- Returned


I love to layer so I was excited to see a cardigan in my shipment. When I tried this one on it felt great, but was very long. It also seemed a bit pricey at almost $50 so back it went.

4: Kut From The Kloth Kate Distressed Boyfriend Jean- Kept


This particular item I had pinned on my Pinterest board and my stylist noticed it! I am so happy shesent it because I’ve been searching high and low for the perfect boyfriend jean. They fit pretty well so they are my first keeper! Love them!

5: Renee C Alondra Ruched Pencil Skirt- Returned


This skirt… if we were on Facebook it would say “its complicated” for our relationship status. If I was in the mall and saw this on a hanger, I’d keep on walking. I don’t think I would have tried it on in a million years. I was pleasantly surprised that it fit pretty well and was very comfortable. My instinct was to keep it, but after looking back at these photos I am happy I swayed the other way. Lets face it, I am a little heavy on the back end, and this skirt really showed that fact off. While it was cute and work appropriate I decided to return it.

Like my fix? Make sure to head over to to get yours! Leave a comment below and let me know what you think of this fix, and stay tuned for the next one!

Until Next Time,