Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Old Endings + Exciting New Beginings

Hi Friends! I have been procrastinating on this post a little bit [ok, a month bit] because it is a tough one to write -- but here goes: I am saying goodbye to a {little} dash of ash. While I love my little space here on the blogosphere, I feel that my current blog no longer truly reflects who I am today. I started this blog when I was single, living in Ohio, and had a whole lot of extra time to browse the web for lovely inspirations. That feels like a lifetime ago. Everything just seems a little bit different these days. But, good different...

Since then, I have met and fallen in love with my soul mate, got engaged, started planning a wedding, and am currently packing up my life in Philadelphia to start my new life in NYC with my fiancé! At age 30, all of my dreams have come true -- dream fiancé, dream city, dream apartment [in the West Village] and dream new job! :)

My focus has shifted from finding wonderful things to share as inspiration on the internet to making wonderful things happen in our new life. It is very important to me to create a lovely life for Alejandro and I together in NYC. I want to spend the summer decorating our new apartment, planning a beautiful wedding, and most importantly discovering our new city together before our jobs kick in and life gets, well, crazy, again.

But at the end of the summer, I have plans [already in motion] to start a new blog documenting our new life together. It's going to be a little bit different than a {little} dash of ash, but I just couldn't walk away from the blogosphere completely. It's become apart of me. I just need a new space to create in. So... if you are interested in keeping up with myself, Alejandro, our wedding plans, our travels and the lovely city of New York -- please subscribe to receive a notification when my new blog goes live! :)


In the mean time, please keep up with me on {instagram}, {pinterest} & {tumblr}!

A BIG thank you to everyone who has followed me for the past 2 years! Your daily comments, emails and support has always meant so much to me! I hope you will follow me on the next journey of my life. xoxo.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Photo Apps You Need

I love apps. We all love apps. And a couple of months ago I posted about my favorite apps {here}, but since then, there are two more apps that I love. love. love. and that I think you need too! The first one is my new go-to photo app -- PicTapGo. This photo app was created by the amazing people behind Totally Rad! - a totally rad company that makes software for photographers, including the best actions for photoshop ever created (that's another story)! Anyway, I have been waiting for them to release an app for about a year now and my wishes were granted at the beginning of the month! So what makes this app different than the afterglow's and picfx's of the world? PicTapGo was designed with a photographer in mind. It adapts to your style, it learns your favorite photo effects and it allows you to create and save filter recipes. It's hands down the best photo app I've come across! Read more reviews {here}


The second app I'm loving right now is called Fast Camera. Sometimes something so awesome happens that you want to take a million photos at once just to get the perfect one. Or maybe you are obsessed with making animated gifs? If so, you are going to love Fast Camera. Simply fire up the app, adjust your settings as you see fit. You can include a countdown (perfect for when you want to set your phone up on a tripod and jump in the pic), limit the number of pictures it takes (it gets to 1000 pretty quickly!), specify the time between photos, and more. Once you’ve taken a series of shots, head to the review screen. Delete photos you don’t want, and select ones you want to keep. Export them to your camera roll, create a video or make an animated gif. Genius!


 I hope you enjoy!!! PS. Any new apps you are loving right now? xoxo.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Paris Recommendations

I have had quite a few emails asking for Paris recommendations or how I went about planning my trip, so I thought I would give a few tips and helpful links. Before our trip, I spent weeks browsing blogs, pinterest, and stalking friends for their recommendations so we could have the best itinerary ever! Here are some of the big recommendations -- stay tuned for a recap of our trip that will include restaurant, shopping & cafe favorites.

Paris Perfect - Since we were going to Paris for a week, I knew that I wanted to stay in an apartment to get that "true" Parisian feel. I checked out a few Paris apartment rental companies, but fell in love with Paris Perfect because of their beautifully decorated decor and their Eiffel tower views. You might remember when I booked my apartment {here}, but since then, we actually ended up in a different apartment. About a month before our trip, we found out that our super cute apartment was going to be under construction -- huge bummer! BUT, the owner of Paris Perfect had other plans for us and upgraded us to a beautiful one bedroom apartment at no additional cost. I love our apartment "Fleurie" so much and can't wait to stay there again! I would highly recommend renting an apartment for your holiday and I most definitely recommend Paris Perfect!

our apartment's family room
the cafe across the street from our apartment
Localers - is a tour company that allows you to experience France like a local Parisian. When I was researching things to do in Paris, they caught my eye because they don't have your typical "tours"; their tours include a portrait tour, a flea market tour, a fashion tour, a cinema tour, a day at the market with a chef, and the list continues! I chose the portrait tour so that Alejandro and I could get some good photos without worrying about handing our camera off to a stranger and trying to learn how to say "can you take our photo, please?" in French! :) After a little mishap with our scheduled tour and after finding out we recently got engaged, the founder of Localers, Romain, went out of his to make sure we got an amazing photo shoot! That's how we met Carin from Paris in Four Months! I would definitely recommend the portrait tour (ask for Carin), but I also can't wait to try another tour when we are back in Paris! 

photo by Carin Olsson
Paris in Four Months - I was extra excited to meet Carin in Paris because I had visited her blog many times while planning my trip. Not only does she have beautiful and inspiring photos of Paris on her blog, she often blogs about what she does [and eats] in Paris so you can get some great ideas! For example, everyone should add this, this, and this to their itinerary! Or you could follow her dream day and get the best of the best! Oh, and for all of my fashion blogger friend's - Carin took some amazing Paris Fashion Week photos!

photo by Carin Olsson
HiP Paris Blog - My friend Lindsey introduced me to this blog months before our trip and I'm positive I read the entire blog in one weekend -- I just couldn't stop! There are so many great ideas on what to do, what to see and even tips on  how to "fall in love with paris in one day" - which I think we did everything on the list! I actually fell in love with Paris in about ten minutes and I seriously can't wait to go back soon!! 

strolling saint-germain was one of my favorites
Hope this helps! Next week I'll give you a little more insight into our trip, but in the meantime, check out the fabulous resources above [or bookmark for future travel planning]! xoxo.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

We're Engaged!

Bonjour! Bonjour! I am back from Paris and I couldn't be more excited to share with all of you that Alejandro and I are engaged! :) I am the happiest [and luckiest] girl in the world! Oh, and on top of the engagement, Paris was the most wonderful trip of my life - hands down. I definitely plan on recapping our trip and posting some of the many photos we took in Paris, but today I wanted to share the good news and a few of my favorite photos.  PS. If you are new to my blog, you can check out how I met Alejandro {here}. I promise it is one of the best love stories ever! I still can't believe it led to an engagement!! So, so, so, so happy! :) 


When we showed up to our amazing, amazing apartment in Paris (more on that later), these beautiful flowers were waiting for us along with some champagne and our first of many boxes of macarons! 


We seriously ate macarons every single day! But, we waited until the last night to see if the rumor is true. AND... we can officially confirm that Pierre Hermé makes the best macarons EVER! Especially his crème brûlée macaron. Heaven.


This photo was taken while we were warming up at a cute cafe! This photo was also about 30 minutes before Alejandro proposed to me! My ring... is in his pocket... which is almost touching me... and I had no idea!! Sneaky boyfriend fiancé.


Photo by Carin Olsson
This is the bridge that we got engaged on - Pont Alexandre III! And... I am lucky enough to have a photo of him on his knee as he asked me (yes, he is that amazing)! We have decided to keep those photos for ourselves, our family, and close friends -- however, I am excited to share some celebratory engagement photos we had taken by the very lovely [and talented] Carin from {Paris in Four Months}!


The night of our engagement, Alejandro arranged for a private river cruise on the Seine which included champagne and macarons (of course)! All I remember about the cruise was smiling really big. It was the perfect ending to the perfect day!


Alejandro surprised me with a heart shape lock that he bought before the trip! The day after we got engaged, we headed over to the Pont des Arts to hang our lock and throw our keys in the river with a wish! I hope our wish comes true!!

Photos by Carin Olsson
And... we got to celebrate our engagement ALL week in the beautiful and amazing Paris! I couldn't have asked for a more perfect vacation or a more perfect fiancé! I love you, Alejandro!!

Photo by Carin Olsson
PS. If you want to see a few more photos from our fabulous trip to Paris - check out my {instagram}. Can't wait to share more from our trip with you soon! xoxo.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Paris

Just wanted to pop in and say hi! I know it's been a week or so, but life is a little crazy right now. Good crazy - of course! :) Oh, and I am off to Paris... so actually life is crazy exciting! It's been my dream to go to Paris for as long as I can remember and I can't wait to get there! Nothing sounds more amazing to me than to be in the land of cheese, wine and romance! Alejandro might have to drag me back home kicking and screaming... I already know I am going to fall in love. See you when I get back! PS. This is my 500th blog post! Thanks for continuing to read along! xoxo.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Fashion in the Snow

With this crazy [but amazing] month already halfway over, I finally got a chance to sit down and browse some of the NYFW photos from the beginning of the month! I am obsessed with street style photos [always have been], but my obsession has kind of grown lately, and the photos below are just a few of my favorites from Fashion Week. Not only do these women look so effortlessly chic, I can't get over how flawless they look in the snow [nemo was a great accessory]!

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"I Love Everything About You"

Happy almost Valentine's Day! Last night I made a mad dash for {Paper Source} before it closed to get some fun little Valentine's Day stuff [I am very excited for tomorrow morning]! But in case you forgot to pick up a card or pink and red hearts, I found this cute little printable that you can color and give to your valentine tomorrow! Hop on over to {Tried and True} to print off one for your sweetie.

{Tried and True}
{Tried and True}
If you need any other last minute DIY sources for Valentine's Day tomorrow, check out on my favorite source of inspiration {brit.co}. Brit was on the Today Show yesterday sharing how easy these little "I love you" gifts are! My favorite is the "Love of my LIFE" cereal box! xoxo.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Birthday Fun

Hi Everyone! Thank you so much for all of the birthday wishes and love you have given me over the past week! I think last week was seriously the best week of my life -- thank you [again] to everyone who had a part in making it so very special! I was spoiled for my birthday this year (you will be able to see that below in the photos)... but on top of all of the sweet treats and extra sparkly champagne, I got a few ahh-mazing presents as well. My parents gave me a {Lo & Sons OG bag}, this adorable {travel jewelry pouch}, and a cute {jane post raincoat}! Alejandro gave me a {Lululemon zip up hoodie} and these amazing {J.Crew pumps}! My sister gave me a {box of macarons} and a Zara giftcard which I paired with some other birthday money to buy 3 fun jackets for Paris {one}, {two} and {three} as well as some other cute clothes! Even Nordstrom sent me flowers for my birthday [seriously, best customer service EVER]!

alejandro made me these delicious funfetti cake pancakes!!
my mom bedazzled my favorite champagne!! amazing, huh?!
my birthday cake in vegas from my family! so pretty!
My trip to Vegas was perfect!! A huge thank you to my sister for planning everything!! I won money which is always fun... spent it ALL shopping a few hours later [also fun]! We dined at some fantastic restaurants, I drank a lot of champagne, and more importantly got to spend a weekend with my favorite people in the world! However, as we left sin city exhausted, poorer and feeling extremely old, Alejandro and I looked at each other and said, let's say goodbye to Vegas forever! So, I waved goodbye from the plane and thanked that crazy city for all of the fun memories over the past 9 years... my time there has expired! ;)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Birthday + Anniversary

It's my birthday so I am going to be short and sweet because I am off celebrating! I took off work the rest of the week... because who wants to work on their birthday? Not this girl! :) Oh, and it's also my blog's 2 year anniversary!! What a fun two years! Lot's to celebrate! See you next week! xoxo.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Never Say Never

Hello + Happy Tuesday! Tomorrow is my 30th birthday (eek), so I thought I would put together a fun little post of twenty things I never thought I would do by the end of my 20's! It was kind of fun to reflect on what life was like in 2003 when I turned 20. Just a few fun facts about life 10 years ago: Facebook did not exist (it launched in Feb 2004); I thought I was cool because I learned some [very simple] code on how to see who clicked on my AIM links; I was ecstatic the day I upgraded my Nokia cell phone for a StarTac flip phone; I still had an undeclared major and was contributing to IU's title of #1 Party School; Gas was only $1.20; I religiously watched Jessica Simpson's reality show, 'The Newly Weds'; Madonna kissed Brittany at the VMAs, Angelina kissed her brother and Brad was still kissing Jen!! Crazy!! Anyway, hope you enjoy my list below! I truly believe, you should never say never! 


Twenty things I never thought I would do by the end of my 20's:

1. {Move to Philadelphia}. Seriously, who does that? But... best decision of my life to leave Ohio when I did. If I had delayed moving by even a week, I probably would have never met {Alejandro}! Timing is everything. I am so happy I trusted my instincts on that move while everyone around me thought I was absolutely crazy for not going to NYC!

2. Love someone as ridiculously much as I love Alejandro! If you had met my boyfriends from the majority of my twenties, you would understand why I never thought true love was even possible! Oh, and I have to throw it out there... never imagined dating a guy named Alejandro! ;)

3. Admit that my mom [and dad] did, in fact, always know best. In my 30's, I will remind them of that more often. I think they would appreciate that!

4. Appreciate the little things. I'm the girl who would take a hand-written note over a gift any day! It's the little things that count and make every day a little more special.

5. Wear [short] shorts to work. Or flip-flops. Or cropped shirts. All the same, right? On the flip side to that, never imagined planning out my "post 30" wardrobe! Apparently cut off shorts are not acceptable after 30? Shoot... what am I going to wear this summer? ;)

6. Feel most comfortable in the least amount of makeup. This has also allowed me to cut down my "get ready" time by half! I used to own every color of mac eyeshadow ever made -- now all I wear is mascara and lip gloss and occasionally use {this}... the best stuff ever made in the world!

7. Be able to live without a tan. Or... lather up in SPF 30 every time I go in the sun. I spent every day of my early 20's tanning - I wouldn't dare walk into a tanning salon now. Wait, do those still exist? 

8. Turn into a decent cook. Still not often... but when I do, I have people who can vouch - "it's delish"! I think Alejandro would say I need to do this more often in my 30's! But, I'm spoiled with all of his yummy meals he makes me!

9. Love, love, love green juice! Actually just a year ago I looked at it and gagged in my mouth. Now, I try to drink it often!

10. Prefer flats to heels. If you saw my shoe collection in my early 20's... there was no such thing as a flat riding boot or the perfect sandal.  Just hundreds of heels taking over my closet. Not exaggerating about that hundred... it was absurd!

11. Participate in a Mud Run! Yup, {Warrior Dash 2011} - so fun!

12. Have fun without going out to the bars! Actually the thought of going to the bars makes me cringe - can't we just go to a cute tapas restaurant and eat yummy food and drink a bottle of wine instead?! Who am I kidding, I prefer a night in any Friday night! Yup, I'm old.

13. Go to bed before 10pm. In my early 20's... actually pretty much my entire life, I couldn't even attempt to go to bed before midnight. My mind wouldn't stop and I felt like there was always so much to do. Now, I love putting the day away and heading to bed around 9pm!

14. Appreciate a good bottle of wine and prefer red wine to white. In college I drank Franzia. In my mid-twenties, I thought a $6 bottle of Riesling was real wine. Enough said.

15. Forget everything I learned in high school! For real - I can't remember anything! Calculus? Don’t know. Physics? What’s that? Great Gatsby? Read it once, someone dies. How to cite sources? Ask the internet. Seriously, I dread the day I have to help my future children with basic homework... I forgot it all.

16. Turn my photography into a side business. I have loved taking photos from when I was very little and I would line up my dolls and stuffed animals for a photo shoot! In 2011, I started {Ashley Gale Photography} and focus on lifestyle portraits, specifically kiddos!

17. Be able to carry my life in my the palm of my hand! When I turned 20, I think I just got text on my phone! Maybe? Maybe it was later! Picture messaging came around age 25... and I finally got an iPhone when I turned 27! Good or bad, my phone has my life stored in it and I don't know how I lived without it!

18. Appreciate a budget! I didn't get on the savings bandwagon right out of college. Thinking back... did I really need that $150 shirt or that $400 bag or a new dress for every.single.occasion? No, not at all. Today I don't go a week without looking at my budget [some would say I am borderline psycho when it comes to my budget] ... and while I still love to shop and treat myself to the [more than] occasional splurge, I know what my short and long term saving goals are and am successfully sticking to my plan!

19. Have a blog with over 1,000 'official' followers and thousands of hits daily! Seriously, you guys are the best!! xxoo. 

20. Fully understand the meaning of "if you want to make God laugh - tell him your plans"! I used to plan every detail of my life, but nothing has ever worked out to plan (thank goodness too)! I have finally, finally learned to just let go and enjoy whatever my future throws my way... I think this is going to make my 30's even more fun than my 20's! )

And... if I had to give advice to my 22 year old self I would say: Travel to a different country once a year... you are at an age where nothing is holding you back! Spend less on the impulses; Buy more classic pieces. Let your sister borrow your clothes. Stay calm, worry less -- everything always works out how it is supposed to! It's ok to not have it all figured out! Patience truly is a virtue and good things come to those to wait (and to those who work really hard... so keep on kicking ass)! Always challenge the status quo! And... Keep on Smiling! :)

{image} - I thought this image was most appropriate because when I first saw it after NYFW, I thought "never"... now I kinda love the looks!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Love Notes

Now that it is officially February and 10 days away from Valentines Day... it's time to start searching for the perfect card! Last year I put together {30 Days of Love Notes} for Alejandro, but this year, I am going to buy him a little vday gift and with a single card and of course some {peanut butter hearts} - our favorite! Last year we avoided the restaurant crowds, ordered Chinese takeout and watched a sappy love movie... we've decided to make this our new tradition and I can't wait! :) Anyway, here are some of my favorite cards this year! xoxo.


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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Color: {Cool Cobalt}

I have been crushing on cobalt blue for awhile now, but {this image} reminded me that I am going to need to make it a bigger presence in my wardrobe this spring! I'm actually loving cobalt accessories the most, but SO excited that {J.Crew} made my absolute favorite {shorts} in this perfect hue this year! :) And these {suede pumps}... to die for! Also loving cobalt fingernails... {Essie Butler Please} is one of my favorite polishes from the winter collection! Here is some seriously dreamy blue inspiration:

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