November 2015

Holiday Gift Giving Guide: Hostess Gift Under $50

Wow! Can you believe it is already time for Holiday Gifts?! Last time I blinked it was June?

I always, always, ALWAYS bring a hostess gift with me to any Holiday function I am invited to. This seems to be a somewhat dying art.. I was taken aback by the shock on a friend’s face last weekend when I gave her a Hostess Gift when invited to a small FriendsGiving Dinner. She was so grateful for my small gift, and it made me feel great to give her a small token of my appreciation for hosting our gathering. I think we should bring Hostess Gifts back! Here is my list of favorite Hostess Gifts that are (mostly) under $50.00:

Holiday Hostess Gift Ideas


ONE:  Yankee Candle’s Cherries on Snow scented candle gift sent in a reusable plaid tote. $34.99

This gift is perfect for the Hostess that you might not know too well. It is neutral and simple, yet the presentation is adorable with the black and white plaid. Perfect for any Holiday Party!

TWO: Shanti Aromatherapy’s All Natural Vanilla Lavender Gift Set $28.00

This adorable gift set is great for the lover of all natural gifts. The set includes a body lotion, lip balm and body scrub that is seated with essential oils, not artificial fragrances.

THREE:  Pottery Barn’s Monogrammed Oval Soap Set $49.00

These beautiful soaps are perfect for displaying in a guest bathroom over the Holiday Season. This gift shows a more personal touch, as you must know the Hostess’ middle name!

FOUR: West Elm’s Makerskit Classic Cocktail Making Kit $36.00

Maybe I’m a bad example but nothing say Holiday Party like Booze.. I mean Family. Go get Aunt Suzzie buzzed by making her a classic Martini or Manhattan. Everyone will thank you later.

FIVE: Target with Surya’s Jingle All The Way Pillow $29.99

This festive pillow would make the perfect addition to any sofa this season. It also comes in six colors to match anyone’s decor!

SIX: EngraveMeThis’ Personalized Cutting Board $48.79

EngraveMeThis offers a ton of different sizes and monogram styles to fit any budget. Wouldn’t it be great to sign up to bring a fruit and cheese plate to the party, and serve it on this beautiful custom wood cutting board that becomes your hostess gift?!

SEVEN: William Sonoma’s Tartan and Chrome Photo Frame $55.00 (sorry!)

While this might be $5.00 over budget.. it is simply BEAUTIFUL. It is a simple, understated yet elegant gift. Make it personal by adding a family photo!

EIGHT: Pottery Barn’s Textured Linen Wine Bag $12.00

Just add a bottle of your favorite $5.00 wine and you’re all set! What makes this the perfect easy gift is that the gift is also the wrapping!

NINE:  ChickSpings’ Zara Tartan Plaid Infinity Scarf $25.00

Can you tell I like to personalize my gifts yet? I think taking that extra step to go personalized shows that you really  thought about the hostess while buying! This plaid infinity scarf is simply adorable for anyones winter wardrobe.

Need some more Holiday Ideas? Click back to my Ikea Holiday Preview for even more gift and decorating ideas.. They have amazing gift wrap to bundle up these Hostess Gifts!

Until Next Time,


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving my friends!

Wow, can you believe it is Thanksgiving! The older I get the more I think “time is flying by” but this year seems extra fast. Even with 2015’s speed, I have so very much to be thankful for this year. ThanksgivingFirst and foremost, I am so very thankful for Brain being such an amazing light in my life. Brian is constantly going above and beyond to make sure my happiness is first. His selflessness is like no other. I am so grateful for everything he does for me on a daily basis. I can not wait to call him my husband next year!

I am thankful for my puppies, Bella and Willow. They provide so much unconditional love and laughter in my life. We had a rough year with Bella’s health and I am so grateful to finally have a healthy and happy pup back. Bella had a complication with an infection which lead to glaucoma in her eye. After months of trying to combat the infection and glaucoma we opted to have her eye removed. We were told it was the only way to remove her pain from several different doctors. While it was a rough road, Bella (and her prosthetic eye) are happy, healthy and playful again.

I am grateful for my supportive family. My parent and brother are all such a great influence for me. I am so lucky to have such a great and loving relationship with them. I am also very thankful for Brian’s family. Both Brian and I are so grateful for everything they have helped us with over the last year. They are all truly amazing.

I am thankful for all of my amazing friends. While I have been more absent this year than in years past, I am ever so grateful to have them to lean on. They provide me with so much love and support that I am always so grateful for. I love that I have made so many new friends and kept so many dear friends in my life, and I am so thankful for each of them.

Lastly I am always grateful for the health and happiness of everyone around me. I am lucky to have an overwhelmingly healthy and happy crew over the last year, and I can only wish for many more.

Now, enough of the mushy stuff… Bring on the turkey and PIE 🙂

Until Next Time,


Thanksgiving Table Ideas

THANSKGIVING TABLE IDEASHere is my round-up of this years favorite Thanksgiving Tablescapes. Thanksgiving tables are so great because really anything goes. You can be simple, traditional, modern or whimsical and you’ll wow your guests. Here are my top favorite table designs for 2015:

Thanksgiving Tablescape


ONE: Courtney from A Thoughtful Place showed off her Bright & Bold Thanksgiving Table earlier this month. I love how she incorporated fresh fruit and bright pink for a non-traditional take on the holidays!

TWO: Apartment34 used elegant layers of natural woods, deep plum, and fresh magnolia garland for this mix and match table design. I really love the soft glow from the white candles scattered throughout!

THREE:  Pottery Barn’s design blog shows off a more traditional tables cape. The fresh pumpkins and the fresh greens create a beautiful base for the pops of mercury glass and gold.  (Written by Megan Bailey of Sweet Little Peanut for Building Blocks.)

 Thanksgiving Tablescape 2THREE // FOUR // FIVE

THREE: Ella Claire shares this adorable and simple table design. What I love is it makes your guests be interactive with their setting. Adding a freshly sharpened pencil to the utensils was so smart! Click the link to get the free “I am thankful for..” printable.

FOUR: Lindsay from The White Buffalo Styling Co. shows off a fun take on Thanksgiving by hosting it outside! Even if her post was from a few years ago, it stands the test of time looking just as fun today as it did in 2012!

FIVE: Colleen goes ultra whimsical with this fun design. She used craft paper and a sharpie to create this amazing tables cape for her “Friendsgiving” this year. Check out Lemon Thistle to see more photos!

Thanksgiving Tablescape 3


SIX: Sand and Sisal shares a beautiful take on thanksgiving with a White Pumpkin display. I love that she added some antler candle holders for more texture and shine!

SEVEN: Nyla Free Designs uses two of my favorite things, sunflowers and chalkboard to layer textures on this beautiful design. The natural woods, pop of orange from pumpkins and the slate chalkboard placeholders.. whats not to love!

EIGHT: Spolier, this is not actually from a Thanksgiving table! This is from Wedding Chick’s who show a simple clean table design accented with natural feathers. This comes from a wedding, but wouldn’t this be prefect for your holiday table too!


NINE: How fun is it to show off your Blue Willow China at Thanksgiving! Celebrate Everyday Life does it perfectly by adding the orange and white ribbon to each plate!

TEN:The Sweetest Occasion hosts another outdoor Friendsgiving with this rustic tablescape. The handwriting placemats are perfect paired with black & white square plates. Love!

ELEVEN: Kris from Driven by Decor tells you how to make homemade salt-dough name tags! Ahhh, they are so sweet!

(You might notice the banner promised 12 table settings.. and that my numbering is eleven… I gave you two number threes! Oops!)

Want to see even MORE fantastic Thanksgiving Table Designs? Head on over to my Pinterest Board now!Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 12.28.19 PM

Until Next Time,


Daybed Guest Room: The Plan

Hello Everyone!

I am so sorry for my unexpected week long break. I have to be honest, there was really no reason for it. I took a small weekend trip with Brian up to visit his family, but the real reason I didn’t post last week is I was simply busy with life. You know those weeks where your busy with absolutely nothing yet you still can’t find the time to do the things you love.. It was one of those!

Well, I am back-on-track and ready to start some winter projects. The air is crisp here in Virginia and we just had our fist frost of the season. It is making me get the design itch. I’ve landed on doing our smallest guest bedrooms for the next project. It could handle a full size bed, but the room is slight and I don’t want to over power it. After measuring it out I just think a daybed works best for this kind of room. I want to keep a all grey monotone look until I found these amazing bright green, black and white pillows on Etsy. They are actually outdoor pillows, which I kind of like that I can one  day use them in so many different spaces if I ever want to mix things up! So I am adding a “pop” of the bright bold green in this room. I’ve done a quick little design board to show you what I am thinking:Actually Ashley Daybed Guest Bedroom Plan

  1. The Daybed– I’ve already placed the order and it is one steal of a deal at under $110.00. It also comes in white!
  2. The Comforter- This is great because one side is a small grey/white chevron and the other is a larger black and white chevron. I’m not sure what side I’ll pick just yet!
  3. The Accent Pillows- These are it, my inspiration. I love the geometric shapes and the amazing color.
  4. The Accent Pillows- These are it, my inspiration. I love the geometric shapes and the amazing color.
  5. The Dresser- We actually already own this one, but I might try to jazz it up with trim or some hardware. Also available in different sizes and colors on the website.
  6. The Lamp- I love the organic shape that contrasts with the otherwise geometric room. I think it will be a subtle pop.
  7. The Curtains– Simple, neutral, grey, grommets, LOVE.

Paint: I am going to try to do a two-tone grey wall treatment with a horizontal stripe, so stay tuned!

Until Next Time,


Exciting News!

Actually Ashley Engaged

We’re engaged!

Brian and I are both very excited to announce that we are getting married! I knew early on that he was something special, like we were made for each other. My weaknesses are his strengths and his weaknesses are my strengths. We simply complement each other. I have never felt more safe, loved and cared for than when I am with him. I am truly grateful for every little thing he sacrifices to make me just a little bit happier. I’ve never been more connected to someone else. He is my best friend. I can’t wait to start the rest of my life with you, Brian.

Actually Ashley- Brian and Ashley Actually Ashley- Brian and Ashley Actually Ashley- Brian and Ashley Actually Ashley- Brian and Ashley Actually Ashley- Brian and Ashley

Until Next Time,