• fashion,  lifestyle,  outfits

    Back to School Shopping At Woodfield Mall Shopping Center

    It’s that time of the year! I remember as a kid, it was one of my favorite time of the year. This year, I will have three kids in school! I’ll have a preschooler, a kindergartner, and a first grader. To be honest, I’m very sad they’re all going back to school. As much as they drive me mental daily, I love having the freedom to take them anywhere to explore.

    We were able to take care of all their back to school shopping needs in one trip! So not kidding! From fall clothes (because it’ll be cold in just a few short Midwest weeks!) to shoes, we got it all covered. That’s the best part about Woodfield Mall. There are so many kids friendly stores to choose from. Have you shopped at Woodfield Mall lately? I got to check out their new food court. It’s about time! It’s been long overdue. It’s nice and bright with a nice selections of good eats. Are you planning on going to Woodfield Mall for your back to school shopping? What are your favorite stores?

    Check out some of our favorite finds from last week’s shopping trip!

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    Just because the kids are shopping for back to school doesn’t mean this momma can’t! I couldn’t help it! After all, I’ll be doing three drops off at two different schools and three different time pick ups!

    All these great finds were from H&M, Nordstrom, Zara, and Colombia Sportswear. Will you be doing your back to school shopping at Woodfield Mall this year?

  • fashion,  lifestyle,  Travel

    Lady in Red: Desert Fashion Photography

    Lauren Ashley Photography arizona

    What are you most looking forward to this spring? Me – sunshine, warm weather (or just warmer, because, Chicago) and DRESSES! Like this gorgeous dress that I may have stolen from my glamazon girlfriend’s closet (hi, Tiff!) for a desert shoot at Salt River in Coon Bluff, Arizona. She’s like 4” taller and the dress is way too long for me, but look how it moves! Like a dream. Speaking of dreams, I’m already daydreaming about Spring Break with the kids, and have booked tickets back to Florida to visit the grandparents! After having visited Florida once already in December, my friends are starting to joke that I’m becoming a snow bird! 😉

    You know the Instagram vs. reality jokes? I love how this desert shoot turned out. Everything looks so peaceful and idyllic, right? But let me clue you in on a little behind the scenes. There were three of us – me, Lauren A. (my photographer), and Lauren U. (Lauren A’s bestie who I was also going to shoot). Because of the multiple outfits between the three of us, and because we were shooting at sunset and running out of light FAST, I said F*ck it – and ended up shooting both Laurens in my bra and underwear between wardrobe changes. Lauren A. swore someone from all the way on the ground beneath us whistled. Check out Part 1 of my desert shoot here!

    Tell me in the comments – what fun travel plans do you have upcoming, and more importantly, do they include warm weather?

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  • fashion,  lifestyle,  Travel

    Hiking in Style: Desert Fashion Photography at Coon Bluff, Arizona

    bliss tulle Juliet skirt

    Do it for the ‘gram. As in, hike up a mountain in a tulle skirt all for a desert fashion photo shoot. Come on, you know you’ve always wanted to live on the wild side. Recently took a 2,380 mileage run from Chicago to Arizona just to maintain Elite status with United Airlines, and spent a whirlwind 36 hours in the desert with one of my best friends, Tiffany. She knows all the best locations to shoot in Arizona, and Salt River at Coon Bluff here is no exception. (Also lucky for me, Tiff insisted I take her boots because I was planning on doing the hike in my flip-flops.) That desert sunshine, wide open views, are just what I needed (and am craving right now) to escape the bitter, white winter at home. I chose outfits that were flowy in fabric and saturated in color, like my favorite Bliss Tulle blue skirt. I wanted to emphasize them against the simple beauty of the desert background, using the natural wind to create movement in the flowing fabrics. Hope you enjoy my first desert photo shoot – stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon!

    Also, did you see my YouTube video of our Spicy Noodle Challenge? I mean, what else ya gonna do with your girlfriend when you’re only in town for one full day?

    Photography by: Lauren Ashley

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  • fashion,  holiday

    Sharing the Gift of Timeless Love with Michael Hill Jewelers

    This post is sponsored by Michael Hill Jewelers. All opinions are mine alone.

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    Last month I partnered with Michael Hill Jewelers to showcase my journey of love and a how a beautiful pair of halo stud earrings from Michael Hill represents just that. ‘Tis the season, and I’m partnering once again with Michael Hill Jewelers to help spread the joy of meaningful giving to our loved ones.

    My mom and I have a complicated relationship. I wish I could say she is like those warm and fuzzy tv moms like Mandy Moore’s character on This is Us, or Family Ties’ beloved Elyse Keaton. But my mother, well, she’s more like the Vietnamese version of Ray Barone’s mom, and drives me mental. Ya feel me? I was (am) always the black sheep in the family, fiercely independent and frequently admonished for rebelling. I try my best to remember that my mom grew up in a different culture, and that her harsh persona and extreme nagging are par for the course for her generation and upbringing. We recently finished watching the The Vietnam War documentary film by Ken Burns. It gave me a renewed sense of pride and love for my parents for their sacrifices to bring me and my brother to America when fleeing the Fall of Saigon in the 1970s. (You can read more on the blog about my family’s perseverance to seek freedom.)

    This Christmas, I decided to choose a timeless piece of jewelry to give my mom – to honor the unconditional sacrifices a mother makes for her children, time and time again. Jewelry is a luxury for my mom, so she never shops for it herself (not even costume jewelry), even though we all know moms deserve something pretty now and then.

    With this in mind, I headed over to Michael Hill Jewelers at Oakbrook Center, in search of the perfect piece that would serve as an expression of my eternal gratitude. Michael Hill Jewelers is one of the few jewelry retailers to have an in-house team of master craftsmen, so this makes any gift from here even more meaningful! After studying the dazzling displays, I finally chose this vintage style pendant with luxe cubic zirconia in sterling silver that fits the bill. It has a classic design of a 10-point flower encircling the center cubic zirconia to ensure she will sparkle at every angle – perfect for those special occasions.

    For her everyday style, I chose a modern sterling silver stud earring set featuring a circle design. It’s a simple piece my mom can wear every day without pomp or circumstance, but still looks put together. I can’t wait to see the look on my mom’s face when she opens her gifts on Christmas morning. In what ways do you gift love back to others? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!

    jewelry ideas under $100

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    michael hill necklace