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Dress: Nicole Miller via Rent the Runway| Earrings: Nicole Miller (Nicole does it again!)| Shoes: Vince Camuto |Clutch: Marc Jacobs (no longer avail, but linked similar affordable options here and here)Lip Stain: Revlon 

I’ve had a few experiences with Rent the Runway, some great, and some… well, not so much. But I won’t belabor the past, today I’m talking about my recent experience renting a black tie gown for a gala I was lucky enough to attend for a work function.

I’ll admit, this is the first time I have ever rented a black tie gown or gone to a black tie occasion – all of the weddings and galas I’ve attended in the past were more cocktail attire. However, when I had about 2 weeks notice for this gala, I was worried because I didn’t exactly want to pay for a black tie gown, but I also was worried if I rented something, I wouldn’t find anything that fit me properly considering I’m only 5’0. That’s when I learned that Rent the Runway (RTR) actually sells petite gowns! While they don’t have as many of them, and you have to really search for them online (there’s not really a filter that includes petite, tall, etc., or at least one I could find), they do have them there!

Considering I only had two weeks to go, I knew I needed to make a decision quickly, which honestly wasn’t very hard to do considering A) there aren’t a ton of petite options and B) many dresses were already spoken for since ya know, #weddingseason.

I chose a classic off-the-shoulder Nicole Miller rouched black gown that had me feeling very Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and when I saw that I could get earrings for another $5, I scooped them right up!

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I decided that instead of shipping to my house (it’s Chicago – people steal packages) or work, I’d go to the RTR store-front. I figured this would allow me to try on the dress with my shoes and make sure it fit me, and I guess I just thought that if it didn’t, they would find something for me — not sure if that’s entirely true, haha but one can hope. If you do know this, leave me a comment below cause I’m super curious now! Also, I figured then I wouldn’t have to carry two dresses home. Honestly, having gone to the store, I’d say the only actual plus side of picking up in store if you order online is that they’ll steam your dress for you – but then you still have to get it home. I’d stick to ordering online, that is unless you want to try on dresses in store, then by all means, go crazy!

Luckily, my original size fit me almost perfectly, although I could’ve gone a size smaller. Side bar – I thought it was kinda strange how the stylist who worked there said I should go a size smaller, then asked what my backup size which was two bigger than the one he previously suggested and then said maybe that one would fit me better… umm what? I will say, I could’ve used another inch or two on my heels, but it honestly wasn’t that noticeable and I actually kind of enjoyed holding up my dress – made me feel a little more black tie official – I know, I’m weird! The dress hugged me in all the right places and the ruching was placed expertly -that Nicole Miller really knows what she’s doing! 😉

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As far as styling, I used this opportunity to practice on my own hair since we’re all doing our own this upcoming weekend for my friend’s wedding and swiped on my cheapy lip stain (it’s literally like $6 and I constantly find myself going back to it, even with all of my fancy lip products!). I have to say, the hair actually turned out pretty good and I hope I can recreate it next week. I must have been so proud of the job I did that I almost forgot to put on the earrings, but once I did, I really feel like it brought it up another level. I topped it off with my Marc Jacobs gold clutch that I got a few years back.

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All in all, I’d say it was a pretty good experience and RTR redeemed my first experience with them back in the day, and I’d definitely consider using them again if I had a black tie affair.

Have you ever used RTR before? What was your experience like?

 


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When one of your friends asks you if you want to use some of her airline points and stay in their room for two days in Miami, you don’t say no, you just don’t. My friends Sara and Michelle had planned to go to Miami for a girls trip for awhile, but with all of the PTO we’ve been taking for weddings & wedding activities, I didn’t think I’d be able to go due to having zero PTO (is it July yet??). BUT, a week before Sara said I should just come for the weekend last minute. Needing a relaxing vacation, we took a look at the flights, saw I could go Friday night-Monday, booked and never looked back! The last time I had been to Miami was when I was about 15, so I was definitely overdue for a visit. So here it is, my two (and a half) day guide to Miami.

Where to Fly Into

Since we were staying on Miami Beach, we had about two options of where to fly into since both airports are about 40 minutes away from the beach. I flew into Ft. Lauderdale -Hollywood International Airport and randomly (and luckily!) saw a friend/former co-worker of mine on the plane with her boyfriend! When we landed, we decided to all Uber together since they’re hotel was about five minutes away from ours. It gave us a chance to catch up on some gossip (which her bf loved ;)) and saved us all a few bucks! If flying into Miami, I highly recommend taking an Uber or Lyft since they’re available there and can save you some cash money – considering the drinks in Miami are $$$.

Where to Stay

So, I can’t really speak for any of the hotels aside from where we stayed, but I’d give ours about a 3/5. We stayed at The Confidante Miami, which was actually quite beautiful.

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The pros: It had the whole art deco/Miami vice sort of a feeling, multiple bars, two separate pool areas – one for adults only and one for kids, free exercise classes and a gym, ocean views, beach access with lounge chairs and umbrellas, a restaurant with a breakfast buffet that had the best, crispiest all you can eat bacon. The morning yoga class was pretty amazing. It was raining the Sunday I was there, so they moved yoga from the beach to a covered outdoor area at the hotel. The instructor was really great and spent a lot of time trying to teach the beginners about really complex things that most who pratice don’t know about and that I only do from teacher training, such as the different types of breath, using bandhas, and lots of Sanskrit words. As a teacher trainee, I appreciated seeing the way he integrated these more complex yoga terms and ways of practicing into a beginner class. He also helped me kick up into forearm stand which was super fun! 🙂

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The cons: It rained for an entire day. OK, I get that’s not the hotel’s fault, but they didn’t even have a hot tub or any rainy day activities to partake in. Also, the room walls are so thin, I could hear a man in the room next to us snoring which woke me up at 4 am one night, as well as their baby crying. Then on the second night, room service knocked on our door repeatedly at 3 am to deliver a crib that we obviously didn’t order. I will say that they offered us free breakfast in their restaurant, but lost sleep can’t be replaced in my mind.

What to Do

The Beach

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If you’re lucky enough to have good weather, I highly suggest sitting on the beach basically all day. Bring a good book, a good friend and grab a couple cocktails (or 5) and just prepare to lounge for the day. They have a cabana boy that sets up your chair and towel, and then servers that bring around drinks. What more could you want? Being from the Gulf Coast, I always forget what beaches on the east coast are like – the waves are bigger, the sand is rougher and darker – but all in all, a beach is kind of like pizza – I’ve never met one I won’t partake in ;).

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We also did a nice walk on the beach on the last night, but it was more on the strip vs. being on the beach, and I MUCH prefer the sand to the sidewalk, but when we were there, there wasn’t much a sand shelf to walk on like I’m used to on the west coast and we had to settle for either the sidewalk or the boardwalk.

If you get stuck with crappy weather like we did on Sunday, I suggest you wander back to the mainland and hit up some of Miami’s neighborhoods such as…

Wynwood Art District

Being a blogger, I’ve seen tons of posts and photos of the Wynwood Walls, but the photos don’t do it justice. First of all, the neighborhood itself is so adorable with a bunch of fun boutiques, galleries, bars and restaurants. Lots of the storefronts near the Walls have really cool designs on them as well, providing a super hip and eclectic feel. Once you step into the actual open-air art installation area, you’re surrounded by a variety of giant walls painted in graffiti/street-style art and gardens. IMG_2061FullSizeRender (1)IMG_1994

At the end of the walls is an indoor gallery that has paintings, photos and sculptures that are just as bright and lively as the painted walls. Honestly, I could not get enough of all of the bright colors both in Wynwood, and in Miami in general! It’s definitely rubbed off on me since then and I have been wearing bright colors just to try and liven up the moody weather we’ve been having in Chicago. I would definitely say Wynwood was a highlight of our trip – so much so that we went twice!

What to Eat

ALL OF THE CUBAN FOOD. I’m not even joking. One of my main reasons for going to Miami was to eat the Cuban food! We don’t have much of it in Chicago, so I’m always missing it and have it every chance I get when I go home to Florida. I’d say the Cuban food was probably the food highlight, as well as guac anywhere because avocados are life. Here’s a list of some of the best restaurants we went to (IMO) and tasty dishes we had:

Puerto Sagua – Cuban sandwich and plantains – need I say more?

Wynwood Kitchen & Bar – This cute restaurant has outdoor seating so you can see the walls while you eat. Get the guac and ropa vieja empanadas – you won’t be sorry.

Wynwood Diner – Contrary to the name, this isn’t really a diner, but more of a cocktail lounge with food. I had my first ever frose here, and I’m already hooked! Also, if it’s nice out and not pouring rain like when we were there, they have a nice looking patio.

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Bird & Bone at The Confidante – I’m not typically into hotel restaurants, but I really liked their avocado toast (minus the sprouts), the homemade breads, muffins and croissants, and the unlimited crispy bacon. Having their buffet felt like being at an all inclusive resort while I munched on pineapple and bacon near the pool.

What to Skip

The clubs. Any and all of them. Granted, I’m old now, and I won’t get into it, but after I flew in, my friends were ready for a night on the town, and let’s just say all I wanted to do was be home eating pizza instead of the loud club with $17 vodka sodas. To protect the innocent, I won’t get into it, but Miami definitely won that battle by a landslide.

The other thing I’d skip (and this may just be me since I’m not into flashy and loud) is the strip on Ocean Drive. It was basically filled with loud music, drunk people, sugary expensive drinks, a menu with Pitbull on it, and lots of loud cars cruising back and forth trying to be seen. Totally not my scene, and I would def recommend checking out other neighborhoods instead that I didn’t get to like Little Havana.

And there you have it – my 2.5 days in Miami! Anything I missed? Anything else you want to know? Leave me a comment!

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PS- Thanks to Sara and Michelle for sharing all of their photos with me since I lost most of mine. Also, I’m super glad we learned how to properly say things like Art Basel!

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Dress: Velvet Heart Clothing via Macys (on sale!) | Leather Jacket: Topshop via Nordstrom (on sale!) | OTK BootsKaitlyn Pan via Amazon (again, ON SALE!)

Happy Friday, party people! I’m currently en route to Miami on a very impromptu trip with some of my fave laid back girlies and figured it’d be a great time to share my fave spring outfit with ya’ll that a) happens to be on MAJOR sale, and b) was one of the outfits utilized in my very first photoshoot!

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I love this dress/tunic because it’s pretty versatile – you can wear it in the summer or as a coverup with sandals, but when it’s colder is actually my fave time to wear this with OTK boots for warmth (and cause they’re gorgeous) and with a leather jacket top top it off. Let’s also be honest, for petites like me, this is more of a dress, but if you’re a few inches taller or more, it may be a tunic. BUT, I could see it being super cute with white distressed denim.

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As for these boots, I absolutely fell in love, but unfortunately, don’t get much of an opportunity to wear them since we don’t go out anywhere too often where I would wear a heel! These are a great dupe of the more expensive versions; the only downside is that unless you have SUPER skinny legs, you can’t really wear them with jeans. Or maybe I just have thick legs… If you are looking for a pair of OTK boots that are afforable to wear with dresses, I would def recommend these!

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This Topshop faux leather jacket quickly became one of my faves after I purchased it at Nordstrom with a good friend over a year ago. She convinced me to buy it (haha) and I wear it probably more often than my real leather one from Florence! Probably because it’s black… I really should’ve bought a black one when I was in Florence, but I digresss… I’ll be back one day. Since this is faux, it tends to be a little warmer than real leather since it doesn’t breathe as well. It also runs small, so make sure you size up!

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Anyhow, I’m almost to Miami and can’t wait for two full days of R&R, salty hair, sandy toes and boozy drinks! Hope everyone has a great weekend – let me know what you’re up to in the comments below!

xx

Ash


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Sweater: Sanctuary (on sale!)| Jeans: Zara | Necklace: Madewell (on sale!) | Booties: Carlos by Carlos Santana (on sale!) | Bag: Kate Spade (similar) | Watch: Cluse Bracelets: Kate Spade, Beadniks Rings: Bauble Bar, Mind’s Eye Design

Happy Friday! So I don’t know if you guys are tired of seeing this sweater yet, but as long as the weather is chilly and rainy, I’ll be wearing it on repeat crossing my fingers that warmer days are around the corner (not to mention it’s on sale!). Luckily for me, I’ll be headed to D.C. next week for an entire week for one of my bestie’s bachelorette parties and tacking on some work days in there. I get to see some D.C. teammates, spend extra time with my bestie and save on flights, win-win-win! At least D.C. got the memo on the fact that it’s spring and I get to bust out some of my spring wear. Hopefully when I get back, it’ll be warmer in Chi, too!

Since I keep featuring this sweater and it was one of the looks on my very first photoshoot, I figured I should share what it was like to shoot around Chicago for those of you who haven’t done it before. And for those of you who have, you can laugh along with my newbie mishaps!

So, if you’re in Chicago, you may remember that we had unseasonably warm weather at the end of February – the second year in a row my bday was warm! So, Sam of @gracefullysam and I met up on a late Saturday afternoon at the beautiful Restoration Hardware and headed up to the roof. Side note – I had brunch there with my sister the weekend before for her bday, and aside from the hour long wait, it was well worth it. Just grab a mimosa or coffee and sit on one of there plush couches on their like 4 levels of gorgeous rooms.

For some reason, not many people were up on the roof and for a while, it was basically like our little secret. I felt super nerdy and awkward for probably like the first 1.5 hours of our shoot. Sam kept telling me I needed to smile! But after awhile, I sgot over the random people staring at me and started to loosen up and enjoy myself. After the roof, we shot throughout the building in different rooms and then took off for the streets of the Gold Coast shooting in front of beautiful homes, walls, stairs, churches, and basically anything that looked beautiful during the golden hour. One thing I will say that was difficult, whether we were at RH or just on the sidewalks of the city, there’s a lot of stop and go letting people walk by or people who are staring at you – like one family who stared at me for a good couple of minutes while we shot in front of this amazing church! At least we found something to get me giggling!

After we finished up at the church, we began looking for somewhere that I could change into my second outfit as the sun was starting to set and we were losing all the good light. Here’s where the unglamorous part of the photoshoot happens – (and fashion bloggers, please let me know I’m not alone in this – ha!) we couldn’t find anywhere, I mean anywhere, for me to change. We walked and walked and even tried going into the lobby of an apartment which was locked (in hindsight, I probably should’ve just changed at RH!). Finally, we came across a Starbucks and I bolted into the bathroom. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a HUGE germaphobe. I had to figure out how to change quickly so we wouldn’t lose the light while trying not to touch things in the bathroom or let me feet touch the floor because I’m honestly that OCD about public bathrooms. While it may sound like it wouldn’t be that difficult, my first outfit consisted of skin-tight over-the-knee boots (more on that in another post) which I normally sit down to get off! I’ll spare you the details, but I was finally able to get them off, change really quick and come out to a line of 3 people waiting for me to come out. Oops!

We scurried off to the park near Old Town as fast as we could since we were losing light, and we were able to get the following shots.

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While I may be longing for warmer weather, I have enjoyed wearing this sweater the past couple of months. I scored it on sale from an adorable local boutique Mulberry and Me, and it is so soft, cozy and warm. Honestly, sometimes I get almost TOO warm when I wear it! I paired it with my fave disressed jeans (they’re actually crops for normal people, but fit petites perfectly). And while I know everyone and their mom has this necklace from Madwell (me and two other girls were all wearing it in a meeting the other day at work), I still love it. Another favorite piece I’m wearing is a bracelet D picked up for me as a surprise. He always picks out things I otherwise wouldn’t, and the fact that he goes out of his way to make (yes, he’s made me a necklace before) or pick out something just for me makes me love it even more than the things I pick out for myself.

How are you guys holding up with this not quite winter, but still not yet spring kind of weather?


Hope everyone had a restful weekend! It was rainy here in Chi, and aside from possible food poisoning, we had a pretty low key, relaxing weekend. We made spaghetti and homemade meatballs/sauce last night, and I’m 99% sure the sausage was not cooked all the way through. Oh, well.. by mid-afternoon, we were back to normal and I got to spend the afternoon with my fave 5-year-old little lady and get mani/pedi!

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I thought I’d use this time to talk a bit more about yoga teacher training (YTT), what it entails, and why I’m not a certified instructor (yet).

Ever since I embarked on this adventure, I realized there’s a lot of misconceptions (some of which I spoke to here), but today, I wanted to talk about the misconceptions around what is involved in 200 hour certified Yoga Teacher Training, and also address the biggest questions I get daily – “Where are you teaching?” Or “Why aren’t you teaching yet?” Or my all-time favorite, whenever someone who knows me says to someone else “Ashley’s a yoga teacher!” And I have to say, “wellll, not quite.”

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This picture is actually from my very first day of YTT!

First of all, I’ll say this was my experience at my studio, and obviously may be different than others. I think many people (me included at first) didn’t realize how much of a commitment becoming a yoga teacher is. 200 hours means just that – 200 hours! You actually have to get 200 hours whether through lecture, study, practice teaching, etc., but this takes time! This isn’t some quick weekend class you go through and BOOM – you’re a teacher. Nope, it doesn’t work that way.

For me, this meant going to the studio twice a week from August through January on Sundays (11am-5pm) and Wednesdays after work (5:45-9:30pm) and one Saturday per month. Studio trainings could vary from lectures on anatomy, meditation, sequencing (among MANY other topics) from our amazing instructors to independent study (reading one of our many assigned readings from our like 5-6 books, working on projects), taking classes and practicing teaching.

On top of all that, once the last day hit on Jan. 15, I didn’t automatically become a certified instructor. I still have SO many items to check off of my list, including:

  • Taking 9 different types of classes and journaling about them
  • Observing 8 different types of classes and journaling about them
  • Defining and explaining what the yoga sutras mean to me, as well as about 823742387 terms (a few of my YTT friends and I still need to “come to terms”)
  • Teaching our instructors and fellow classmates a 45 minute class on the last day of training
  • Creating a sequence for a type of injury/ailment or something related to anatomy
  • Teaching 4 community classes, one of which has to be at the studio (1 down, 3 to go!)

Eek! I’m stressed out just reading all of the above, and I’m sure I probably missed something. But as you can see, with a full-time job, a live-in boyfriend, adorable niece and nephew 30 minutes away, blogging, etc., it can be difficult to make time to do things like coming to terms. Luckily, I have some good yoga friends I made in YTT and we get together every so often to force each other to work on things over a bottle of wine. Also, I was lucky enough to get a yoga/work trade at my studio where I’ll work 2.5 hours/week at my studio in exchange for free yoga. I figure, if I’m at the studio for a few hours with the schedule staring me in face, it will motivate me to at least sign up for observations and get my community class on the schedule!

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And while I still haven’t figured out quite yet what I’m going to do once I finally become certified,  I’m excited to see what unfolds along the way! Like I said at the end of YTT, I never thought becoming a yoga teacher was something I would ever do in a million years! And while I may not be where I’m “supposed” to be in life, I’m where I want to be – and that’s all that matters!

Do you have any questions about becoming a yoga teacher? Let me know and I’d be happy to answer!

xx

Ash

PS – Stay tuned for my next yoga post where I’ll share what it was like to teach my first community class!


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I am a firm believer that leggings are pants, too, and if you try to fight me on that, I will likely argue you to the death. I once had a job where, and mind you, this is in recent years, where the company policy prohibited leggings. I remember when I told my sister after telling her I accepted the job, the first thing she said was, “What are you going to wear? That’s most of your wardrobe.”  Granted, the woman in charge of HR at this place also told me to wear a suit my first day and when I showed up, no one else was in a suit. But I digress.. I learned how to somewhat work within that culture, and eventually found my way back to a workplace where the culture was a little more lax.

As you can tell, I love leggings, whether for yoga, lounging, running errands or a night out, as long as you coordinate appropriately, you can find a way to work them into your outfit. One of my best friend’s recently asked for me to share my favorite leggings with her since she needed some new ones, so I figured it would be a good post in case anyone else is looking for their new perfect leggings! Again, this is another place where I feel quality over quantity is important. How many of us have had leggings with a zillion holes in them? My hand is raised! This is why I decided to get a few quality leggings… Below are my top 3, and yes, they’re in order:

3. Zella – Live In Slim Fit Leggings

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When I was at one of my many Nordstrom trips, I took a stroll by the active wear department and started browsing the leggings. I had just purchased another pair of BBP leggings for around $20-$30 when the girl in the active department asked if I had ever tried Zella. I said I wasn’t looking for workout leggings, but more so everyday ones. This is when she told me something I should’ve realized a long time ago – leggings are leggings. It doesn’t matter that they’re “active wear.” As long as they’re not the super shiny type and just plain black, how would you know the difference? This girl was wise beyond her years, haha. OK, I’m obviously exaggerating, but why was I spending $20 here and there for thin leggings with holes, when I could just use my nice yoga ones for other purposes. I purchased the Zella ones, and I’ve loved them since. The only complaints I have is that they are a bit too low in the rise for me, and are a bit long on my short legs, so they scrunch up at the bottom. I now see they have high rise, and I would definitely like to give them a try.

2. Girlfriend Collective Leggings 

While I had to wait several weeks for these to come in the mail, they were definitely worth it! They are amazingly soft, and super high rise, which I love. I also love the fact that I only had to pay for the shipping since they were just getting off the ground, and that they make all of their leggings from recycled plastic water bottles! Win-win. The only complaints I have on these leggings is that they definitely look more “active” with the seams and are, again, a bit long on me.

1. Lululemon Naked Align Pant II

 

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*Align Crop pictured 

I’ve been eyeing these pants for what feels like a year now when I walked into Lulu and the sales girl asked me if I wanted to know what it felt like to be hugged by butter… she literally said that. But I’m not gonna lie, I did want to know. Fast forward to my upcoming birthday, and my present from D. I never told him I wanted these pants, but the sales girls at Lulu worked their magic and he ended up with the right size in the right pants! I honestly thought they’d be too small since he got one smaller than I normally get, but my god, I refuse to take these off. They are SO soft – literally like hugging butter – HA! They also are perfect in the rise (higher than normal) and the 7/8 length which is meant to be like an ankle length on most girls, is the perfect full length for my little legs. I love my Lulu Align Crops, but they’re not quite high enough in the rise and not as long as I’d like them to be. For instance, in the winter, when I put short boots on, there’s still a gap in between where my boots and leggings meet. I see the Naked leggings getting a lot of use over the next few months – another birthday win!

What are your favorite leggings??


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I still remember being a freshman my first semester in college walking with a fake Northface backpack to class and some frat dude asking me wear the campfire was… Then and there, I swore off backpacks.

I mean, as a tiny commuter, I often would complain about people swinging their backpacks about, not really having any sort of awareness about what was going on behind them while I was basically being assaulted in the face by fabrics and zippers .  But after I saw the beautiful leather backpacks at Madewell about a year ago, I knew I had to have one. I just wasn’t ready for the close to $200 price tag.

I tried to duplicate and get a quality leather version when I was in Florence, but it ended up being too small for my work laptop. I tried a few times, but since I couldn’t fully close it, I ended up carrying the bag in front of me and defeating the purpose of the backpack all together. I gave up and decided I’d wait for a sale at Madewell. I waited and waited, and then I missed the sale! I then started looking at lower cost versions and figured I would compromise, but I couldn’t find anything that made me as happy. Yes, I know we’re still talking about a backpack.

I continued carrying heavy giant bags. As someone who works from home often, lugging the laptop back and forth, it started to wear on my body. I noticed it even more recently in YTT when I would try binds on the right side – my right shoulder does not allow me to go as deep into a bind as my left side does. I realized that this is likely because I’m constantly carrying a heavy bag on my right shoulder.

Sticking to my new motto for 2017, quality over quantity, I decided I needed a backpack to help open up my shoulder and I wasn’t going to skimp. When Madewell sent me an early birthday coupon, I made the plunge and let me just say, I am not sorry. This is one of the best purchases I have ever made! I’ve brought it to work daily, and even on a recent blog shoot to carry my ensembles in. If you’re thinking about getting one, don’t think, just do! Especially right now since it’s no longer backordered! Trust me – the shoulder you favor will thank me. 🙂

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** I know it seems like this is sponsored, but I promise you, it’s not. I really do like it that much, haha.


Chicago has been seeing some spring-like weather the past few days, and I have to say, I’m not mad about it. I’ll take a little rain and humidity over freezing temps any day. I guess you can take the girl out of Florida, but can’t take the Florida out of the girl… so cliche, I know, but it’s true.

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I guess I’m a basic b, but Hunters are a must for me on my commute when I’m puddle jumping, and this petite toggle trench has been one of my top finds from a Macy’s sale a couple years ago.

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Rain Boots: Hunter // Trench Coat: sold out, but linked a couple cute options here and here // Striped Sweater: similar here // Rings: Bauble Bar and AD HOC Chicago, but linked similar here) // Gold Locket: Kate Spade // Scarf: Zara // Leggings: Girlfriend Collective 

 


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Happy Watch Wednesday! That’s a thing, right?

I’ve been obsessed with my new watch since I got it last week. I’m having so much fun layering up all my different bracelets with it to create a fun little arm party. I took a hiatus from watches for awhile, mostly because my last watch was all scratched up and the battery stopped working like a year ago. But as I started practice teaching some yoga classes, I quickly realized the need for one in order to keep your classes on schedule.

Before I ordered this pretty CLUSE gray/rose gold watch, I was debating between this and the Fitbit Charge 2. After talking to a ton of people who swear by their Fitbit, I realized that all the reasons they loved it didn’t really apply to me. Like, I really don’t need another piece of technology to obsess over, especially in terms of fitness/food tracking.

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I opted for the pretty watch over the tech watch (I’m a sucker for anything rose gold) and am glad I did! The only thing I wish it had was a second hand – that could be so handy when teaching classes! Any other yoga teachers have tips on keeping time? I’m pretty sure it just takes practice, but any and all tips are welcome!

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In addition to the two watches I was choosing between, I also wanted to share a couple of other affordable watches I’m digging in case you’re in the market for a new timepiece.

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1. CLUSE// 2. Fitbit // 3. Olivia Burton // 4. MVMT

Also featured: Kate Spade gold bracelet // Kate Spade silver bracelet // Bauble Bar Crystal Mason ring // David Yurman silver bracelet // miscellaneous bracelets & rings from J.Crew and local Chicago boutiques Ad Hoc, Study Hall and Hudson & North

Check out Nordstrom for some other good watch deals!

xo,

Ashley


I can’t believe that it’s been just over a week since my yoga teacher training graduation at Yoga For All Beings! When I first signed up last summer, January felt SO far away, and I didn’t have a ton of expectations about what I’d be getting out of the experience. I was honestly just hoping to deepen my own practice and replicate the awesome feelings I felt every time I stepped onto the mat. Teaching would just be the cherry on top of the sundae.

All throughout my training, I’ve received TONS of questions from friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances about my intentions for my certification. So, I thought I would address these questions and then share some exciting news.

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1. “So, you’re probably like, really good at yoga now?”

I assume this question is about the physical practice of yoga, asana, so I will address that.*  Sorry to burst your bubble, but I’m not “really good” at yoga. I can’t do super cool inversions if that’s what you’re after. BUT, I am way more flexible than I was a year ago, my balance has improved tremendously, and I can even (sometimes) hold crow pose for a few seconds!

*Side note: yoga is about SO much more than the physical practice!

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2. “You can do handstands, right?”

Kind of a continuation of the first question, but no, I can’t do handstands in the sense that you’re thinking of. I can, however, do a restorative handstand which a fellow yogi taught me, which is super amazing. If you ever want to try it, let me know and I’m happy to walk you through! I also have started to kick myself into a handstand at the wall. Small steps to big steps.

3. “Are you going to teach yoga part-time at a gym?”

I don’t know. I really don’t. Maybe. For now, I’m going to continue practicing on my own, practice teaching friends, and see where it takes me. It’s very possible. I mean, if you would’ve asked me 2 years ago if I would ever consider a training like this, I would’ve had a completely different answer. Moral of the story, don’t rule anything out.

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4. “I can’t do yoga, I’m not flexible, and it’s too slow paced for me.”

This is probably one of the most common misconceptions to yoga. All I can say to this one is that you don’t need to be flexible to practice yoga, you practice yoga to become flexible. It’s not going to happen overnight, but if you give it time, your body will adapt. My pain has lessened tremendously since I started to practice regularly and it definitely has to do with the continued stretching and the strengthening of the core. And for those of you who think yoga is too slow paced for you, you probably need to it the most. 🙂 It’s good to slow down once in awhile and be in the present moment.

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5. “That’s cool you’re doing yoga – I should do more stretching.”

So, this may just be a personal pet peeve of mine, but yoga is about SO MUCH more than stretching, or getting into a really cool pose. This is definitely another post for another time, but yoga also includes meditation, breath work, study, and yes, chanting. Again, another post for another time, but just know that there’s a whole world of yoga beyond a hot power vinyasa class.

6. Which brings me to – “So… do you chant?”

Yes and no. I don’t include it in my own personal practice. However, if one of my teachers happens to invite the class to chat along with them, I always do. There’s something beautiful and powerful that happens when a class comes together and you hear the sounds and feel the vibrations. That said, to each their own! No one will ever force you to chant if it doesn’t feel right to you.

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So there you have it – answers to my top asked questions regarding teacher training. If you have any other questions or are thinking of enrolling in a teacher training yourself, I’d be happy to help!

And now for the exciting news – I’m teaching my very first community class on Feb. 19 at 1 p.m. at Yoga For All Beings!  While I’ve already taught my fellow teacher trainees and instructors during our last week (as well as a few friends for practice), this will be my very first public class. I’d love for you to join!

See you on the mat!

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xo,

Ashley