Indie Fringe Cardigan Ruby Bleu Boutique: A review

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While my sister

was back to looking like Gwen Stefani

a week after giving birth

carrying a diaper bag and wearing biker boots.

It took me a looooong time

to get my clothing mojo back.

I am gonna be real honest here

I have born boys sweatpants from Walmart for the better part of 2 years…

So this week I am going to be sharing

with you my favorite picks

that got me out of my fashion rut

and into pants with an actual buckle.

Ruby Bleu Boutique

and this Friday a

GIVEAWAY

of a mystery piece

of your very own.

Could be this cardigan

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could be some socks

{just kidding I promise it won’t be socks}

But you better cross your fingers and kiss your elbow

that it’s the

Indie Fringe Cardigan

modeled by myself above

This cardigan has become

my go-to fall piece.

Pumpkin picking?

Wearing ma cardigan.

Church?

Wearing ma cardigan.

Looking cute around the house just because?

Wearing ma cardigan.

All time time.

I wash it on hand wash

and it comes out looking like brand spanking new.

Keeps it’s shape,

keeps it’s color,

doesn’t unravel or ball up or wrinkle.

I feel so chic running errands

and when you live in the boonies of Illinois

it’s pretty dang important to look chic

running into Walmart.

But seriously,

as my fashionista sister-in-law said,

this cardigan is everything.

Easily worth Ryan

thinking it was ok to have the guys over for football night

on our wedding anniversary.

His loss

was my indie fringe cardigan gain.

Thursday Night Football vs. 4th Wedding Anniversary

The fight went something like this upon hearing that we were watching Thursday night football

instead of celebrating our anniversary:

me:……….

Ryan: It’s Thursday night football what did you think we were going to do?

me:……………….

Ryan: You know about Thursday nights.

me:………………………………

Ryan: Would it make you feel better if you could spend some money?

me:………NO!…..yes.

Ryan: Fine.

me: fine.

Ryan: That offer expires at midnight so don’t fall asleep.

And the win goes to Ashley and the 4th Wedding Anniversary!!!

We won’t discuss numbers here

but let’s just say

he paid for it.

bwahahahahahaha

You can’t wear dinner over and over again like this cardigan.

Thank you Thursday night football!

May you inspire many more deals

in the months ahead.

Mama wants a brand new hand bag!!!

Aww man,

it’s sold out!

See guys you gotta get it fast

the good stuff sells out quick!

What is a homemaker???

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Earlier this week I posted a quote from a new blog I came across last week.

“You are a homemaker by definition. You are a homemaker if you are a woman. Whether or not you have kids. Whether or not you work outside the home. Whether or not you are married. You are a homemaker because God has designed your role to be a keeper of your home.”

Jamie Balmet

So I had already been mulling all this

SAHM vs Working Moms

stuff over in my brain

before yesterdays post.

I think we are all fighting trying to prove the same thing-

that no matter how we choose to live our life

one thing is still true

as a woman

we are innately

the keepers of the home.

I can imagine cave woman

sweeping the cave,

hanging a nice tiger hide on the wall,

maybe doing some cave art

to make it a little more cozy.

You know a cave man isn’t the one doing that stuff.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all started to identify as homemakers?

Instead of being a working mom,

or stay at home mom,

or stay at home wife,

or work from home wife,

we all are still homemakers.

Which is really our most important responsiblity

no matter how we go about it.

So

instead of being on one side

or the other

we all just start playing for the same team?

Team Homemaker!

Do you think we would see a difference in our families?

What about our communities?

What about our country and the future generations of women

we are role models for right now?

It could be amazing.

If we all started focusing on our home

instead of what is going on in someone else’s.

I have been thinking a lot about

what it means to keep a home.

To me

it means making this space,

our house,

a place of refuge for my family.

I want them to feel ultimate comfortbility.

Clean sheets,

warm food,

good smells,

snuggly blankets,

fun and laughing,

relaxing.

We really set the tone in our home don’t we?

You don’t have to be a SAHM to do any of this!

We all can set the tone in our home.

We all can make our homes special and tranquil places of peace.

Let’s all get on Team Homemaker

and start making our own homes

the change we wish to see in the world.

Because as homemakers we have that power.

Kind of exciting isn’t it?!

Here are some ways I like to make my home right now some are simple some take more work:

Pumpkin Scented Candle

All day, every day, I have spicy mulled cider, or pumpkin, or something fallish scenting the air.  Greeting whomever might wander to our door. Instantly give the house a cozy vibe and setting the mood.

Organized

For me an organized home means an organized mind.  I cannot relax if my house is cluttered.  If my toilet needs cleaned I can sleep just fine but clutter makes me crazy. There is also research showing how beneficial it is for children to see their house, aka their world, put into order at the end of the day.  It shows them that even though life gets messy, we clean it up, put it back in order.  Lessons for the world.  Children learn these simple life lessons through every day actions.  Putting up clutter or a “ten minute tidy” as my dad use to call them are important to me.

Animals

There is always something to snuggle or play with you at our house.  I cannot tell you how many times we have had a sibling come over feeling terrible and one of our kitties jumps in their lap and snuggles in.  Instant mood lifter.  Again science shows that petting an animal for just 10 minutes brings down your heart rate and stress levels.  We love animals!

Expectations

I think sometimes as women, we defeat ourselves before we even get out of bed in the morning with our OWN expectations.  I don’t know about you but I could never meet my expectations for the day.  So I stopped having them.  Sure, I have important things that need to get done, but at the end of the day that’s what they are- just things.  People are the most important thing to me.  So if at the end of the day my people are happy I call that a good day.  Regardless of if I made dinner or got all the laundry done or met every responsibility and obligation that I was expected to do.  I let myself off the hook.  I let it go.  I try harder tomorrow. You know what? I get a lot more done that way.

Pace of Day

I think we have to own the fact that we set the pace of our day.  If life feels too busy and hectic there are always ways to cut back.  So you have to take ownership that you are letting life be that crazy and hectic. I set a pace of day that I can handle.  One that makes my words kind, one that makes me walk slowly in the parking lot so that Charlie can keep up without me pulling her, one that gives me times to stop and pray and be thankful.  I choose this pace.  It isn’t easy and I am sure there are a lot of people who think I should do more but thankfully I don’t answer to them at the end of the day so it’s not my job to make anyone but God happy with how I spend my time. I keep a pace that makes me able to be the peace keeper of my home.

Kindness

Do you feel like your family needs more kindness?  Are you modeling it?  Modeling kindness is the best way to get it in return.  I am making a real effort to model genuine kindness to Charlie.  It is amazing what a toddler will teach your about yourself.  Putting others ahead of yourself isn’t easy, especially if you are a mom and you always seem to come last.  But I dare you to go home and pour out love to your family and see where it gets you.  Do something you don’t want to do that you know will make someone in your house happy.  See what happens in your home as you watch the kindness spread.

That’s all I got today folks.

I gotta say

peace out

and paint some walls.

Go!

Be kind!

Be bold in your home!

Be homemakers!

Dear All Moms Shut The Eff Up…

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Now mother,

before you get all upset at my choice of title

for this post

I am referring to this little gem

Dear Stay At Home Moms Shut The Efff Up

that I found a link someone shared on Facebook this week.

This is something I am really,

really,

really,

really,

REALLY,

REEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAALLLLY,

sick of hearing.

The article basically says

that because stay at home moms are doing

what every other mom wishes she could,

(which isn’t true there are lots of moms who do not wish to stay home)

that we should shut up and never complain.

Well,

let me tell you something,

LET SHE WHO HAS NEVER COMPLAINED ABOUT HER JOB, UNIFORM, OR BOSS THROW THE FIRST STONE.

Why do working moms feel like they have the right to judge a stay at home mom?

Why does a stay at home mom feel like she can judge a working mom?

Why does a work from home mother feel the need to put down a mom who is a full time homemaker only?

This is the war on woman

and we are fighting against ourselves.

It’s not a about contraceptives,

it’s not about making the same amount of money as men,

it’s about how we treat each other.

I think there is an epidemic of

I want what she has.

I want a bigger house,

I want granite countertops,

I want a cleaner home,

I want to be crafty,

I want to cook,

I want more time to myself,

I want to stay home,

I want a great career,

I need more help,

ect, ect,ect,

Do you know what the only difference between you

and the woman who has what you want?

She didn’t settle for less she settled for more.

There is a little Megyn Kelly thrown at cha.

Settle for more.

Not less.

If you want to stay home

quit getting mad at stay at home moms

who don’t meet your expectations of gratefulness.

Get to working on how you can make it happen.

You

not her.

Focus on YOU.

Your choices.

Your decisions.

Your lifestyle.

Because if you really want something

you can make it happen.

Not right away

you may have to work for it for years.

And if you don’t want to do something

then own it.

There is nothing wrong with providing for your family.

There is nothing wrong leaving your child in the care of someone you trust

to do work that makes you a happy, fulfilled person.

Because that is what it is really about.

Our kids don’t need stay at home moms

or working mothers,

or work from home moms,

they need moms who are happy and thriving.

We are never going to thrive

throwing stones at each other.

Never.

And the men are going to continue to make more

and progress further in their careers

because we are too busy bickering

and being envious,

instead of doing something to change our circumstances.

It’s easier to sit still and complain about someone else

then it is to be grateful for what you have and work for more.

So no,

I won’t shut the efff up.

I am a full time homemaker.

I stay home sometimes all week

never leaving the house except to go to walmart,

looking a mess,

cleaning,

counting to 10 over and over again,

teaching that blue is not purple,

folding laundry,

getting bodily fluids on a great outfit

which is why we end up in yoga pants

and sweats

and then complain about it.

Because we would love to wear something cute

but when you are home all day,

vacuuming and playing pirates,

you would love to look like Heidi Klum while doing it

but lets be real

it’s just not practical.

But sometimes it wears on you.

Sometimes you get in a rut.

Sometimes it’s a hard job even though its what you love doing.

So does that mean that you have to just keep your mouth shut and never complain?

That’s just not realistic.

Stay at home moms,

work from home moms,

working outside the home moms,

we all face problems,

we all have terrible days,

we all think there are times when we could do better.

Let’s quit holding each other to different standards

let’s quit thinking about ourselves

when someone else says they had a bad day.

Let’s start encouraging each other.

If you are a working mom and

a stay at home mom friend is having a hard time.

Give her encouragement.

Tell her that sometimes getting out helps you and that is why you work.

Maybe she needs to get out for a mani/pedi

or a lunch with the girls,

or start a little side business to be happy.

Let’s help each other

not tell each other to shut up.

We are suppose to motherly,

full of compassion,

and we are treating each other terribly.

I have a cousin who works.

She doesn’t work because she has to.

She works because she wants to.

She has never treated me different because I stay at home.

In fact she does the opposite.

When she needed a babysitter

and we were low on money

she asked me to watch the kids when her daycare was on vacation.

I make her son’s preschool class treats sometimes because I am crafty and love stuff like that

and she loves it and pays me!

And it’s something fun for me!

And she loves the stuff I make

she isn’t all

“I wish I was crafty”

she enjoys the fact that I am and the time I saved her.

I have the her kids stay the night for movie night

so she and her husband can get out

and sleep in.

We both complain together about how hard kids are,

how they make you worry,

how much you love them and want the world to treat them good,

how husband can be annoying and say stupid things (sorry guys}

our work differences has never been a topic of discussion

or cause for awkwardness.

I mostly attribute this to the fact that we both own our choices.

My choice to stay home doesn’t make her feel guilty

and her choice to work doesn’t make me feel like less of an important person in the world or less intelligent.

We work together to help each other be better moms.

It’s a great relationship of give and take.

So I ask-

Why are we fighting each other so much????

Why are we so adamant to prove our way is the only way

instead of accepting there are many ways to do one thing?

We are never all going to be the same,

there will always be someone with something you don’t,

doing something you can’t.

Let’s not focus on that.

Let’s focus on what we can do.

We can do things to improve our life.

We can work towards things we want.

And the first step is to quit thinking about what everyone else has or is doing

and get to work

on what you want done in life.

So yeah,

don’t shut the effff up,

get to work.

Expect more from yourself

not someone else

and quit judging the mom to your left and to your right.

It has to stop.

Coming soon to a blog near you…

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So I think we all know my new obsession

clothing wise

is my friends awesome online shop

Ruby Bleu Boutique

and I am excited to share with you guys

that next Friday I will be posting

a look at all my purchases

and a review

on the black ponte leggings

and

AND

AND!!!!

you will get a chance to enter

to win your own pair of black ponte leggings

sure to make you the chicest mommy

in any neighborhood.

Stay tuned to learn how to enter to win!!!!!

Have a great weekend my lovelies!

Oh did I mention that there is always free shipping?

And sales?

Yeah.

tell your husbands

sorry I’m not sorry.

There are gonna be some good looking’ mamas out there!

………………………………..

Cardigan // Ruby Bleu Boutique NA Sold Out!

Cami // Long Seemless Cami in Nude Ruby Bleu Boutique

Jeggins // Forever21

Boots // LUG 35HI Ruby Bleu Boutique

An Avocado Green Stove and Gratitude…

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I was recently talking to another mom

who is doing at home daycare

and she was asking me how we managed

to have me stay home with out needing to do it anymore.

The answer I told her-

prayer.

Now,

I feel like I didn’t explain it the best.

When I say just prayer

it sounds like I was just like

Dear God,

Make me a stay at home mom.

In Jesus name,

Amen

It was a much,

much,

MUCH different kind of prayer.

It was like a clinging to the cloak of Jesus prayer

trying to just get a piece of his robe prayer

it was desperate

and pleading

and willing to be

any way it needed to be

because that was what felt RIGHT for me.

It was specific

and sacrificing.

And my prayer partners

aka

my mommy

and my grandma

both knew my heart

and were praying for me too.

Specific,

I keep using that word.

For months I just had an ache in my heart

and really no words to pray

just pleading to change our circumstances

or help in accepting them.

Then slowly over the months a prayer started to form:

God-

I am so thankful for our house.

It fees like home and it is cozy.

It is easy to clean

and so close to many things to do.

I love taking Charlie for walks here.

I love that we fell in love here.

I love my kitchen

and spending time in here.

I love relaxing with Ryan on Sunday afternoons on the couch.

But I really need for this house to sell.

I really need more space

not for show but for function.

I do not care what it looks like,

it can have an avocado green stove

and shag carpet.

Please let it ease my husbands financial stress.

Let it allow me to stay home and really be a homemaker instead of

babysitting,

cleaning,

making pet rocks,

reselling vintage items,

photography.

Allow me to focus on the one thing I feel you have designed me to do

or take that desire away and replace it with what I should be doing,

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

Over and over and over and over and over and over and over

all day long

every day.

I put verses all over my fridge

and I focused on gratitude for where I was

and where I wanted to be.

It’s a fine balance

To be grateful but want more.

I want just enough.

And you know what I have a year later?

An avocado green stove, a master bedroom with shag carpet,

and all the space I could ever ask for

and I get to wake up everyday and be a homemaker full time.

I don’t say this to brag

or make you feel bad

but to encourage you.

To say to you,

if you want to stay at home full time

you can no matter what financial obstacles you face that

prayer can make it happen.

If it is the right path for you family.

Your heart will tell you the answer to that.

God does answer prayers

and I think he has a sense of humor about it too.

Don’t matter Abba

I love my green stove!

And maybe I wouldn’t have a year ago

but this past year of practicing gratitude

through the hardest of times,

has made this time in our life that much sweeter

and we appreciate it that much more.

Now the shag carpet….

You’re welcome….

Jamie-Fraser-banner

Sooo yummy.

I made this picture my background image on our laptop.

Hehehe

Ryan asked me if I had changed it to a fall theme,

I said yes.

That’s not a lie

it looks pretty fallish to me.

But can I just ask you-

what is it about a rugged man

in a kilt?

Or is that just me?

Bravehart

and now Outlander.

Be still my heart.

mmmm mmm mmm

I watched the Outlander series on stars

and instantly was in love.

Historical science fiction about my homeland Scotland?!?

Yes please!

Now that it’s on a mid season break

I have been filling my Saturday nights with

soft celtic music

and reading the books that inspired the show.

Because I am not waiting to see what happens

till APRIL!!!

All I need now is a cozy plaid blanket

to really set the mood

of Jamie wrapping me up

and riding away on his horse

on the moors of Scotland.

Just in my mind.

Don’t worry

Ryan is stuck with me

since I can’t time travel back to the eighteenth century

like Claire can.

SO.NOT.FAIR.

So catch up on the show at STARZ 

or read the book with me.

They are both fantastic!

See,

you’re welcome!

So we can all discuss how Jamie is in fact the perfect specimen of a man.

And how all husband should try to be just like him.

Kilt and all.

Still just me?!

A Lone Otter…

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Me and my brother

were once watching Animal Planet.

Don’t ask us why.

We don’t know.

We randomly

end up watching things like

Tommy

at 3 am.

We were young,

we were wild,

we watched a lot of tv at home.

But anyways,

back to the Animal Planet.

We were watching a group of otters

and a crocodile that was about to eat them,

when all of a sudden,

the otters just turn on the croc

and start annoying the crap out of him,

they annoy him so much

that the crocodile,

THE CROCODILE,

retreats back into the water.

I watched in amazement

and then turned to my brother

“I’m an otter”

I say.

“I can use my powers of annoyance to get anyone away”

and my brother replied-

“Yeah but they were in a group,

you hate being around people.”

I sat for a moment thinking.

“You are right”

I tell him.

“I am a lone otter.”

Sometimes I think,

I could easily be a hermit.

It’s not that I hate going out.

My husband will tell you

I have an undying love

for Target and Gap.

But I just like being home.

It’s my safe place.

Maybe it is because

of the OCD or anxiety.

Maybe I am just anti-social.

I really don’t know.

What I do know is that up until this point

it’s made me feel guilty.

And I am just gonna own it.

Hello,

my name is Ashley

and I am a hermit.

I love it.

I love being alone.

I love quiet.

I love isolation.

I also love having family over.

I love cooking for people.

I love having people stay the night.

I love to hostess any event.

So it’s not an aversion to people all together.

I guess it is just that I am happy with a very small circle of people.

Maybe because it is less people to please

and worry about.

Did I say the wrong thing?

Did they take that the right way?

Am I being too loud?

Am I too opinionated- yes!

I constantly worry,

when not around my usual people.

And I just don’t like it.

It’s not for me.

If I had my way

I would just home school Charlie

and she would turn out to be one of those weirdo kids

who you know didn’t get enough interaction with other kids as a child.

So I have to be careful with my hermit ways.

Unfortunately,

not having a car for the past 8 months,

doing at home daycare,

and just being a stay at home mom in general,

have just kind of perpetuated my hermit ways.

So this fall I am making a bucket list,

putting on my big girl boots,

and making an effort to get out of my comfort zone

and my house,

and go places.

This will be a season of adventures.

I am making a fall bucket list today.

What are you doing?