Neighborhood stroll...

Neighborhood stroll…

Over the weekend as I was walking to the post office to send my mother a letter (yes, we do that sometimes lol) I found myself staring up at the buildings around me-not only in slight disbelief that I am living this life, but also in slight disgust. There’s a substantial part of my being who despises paying rent, utilities and other money-pits that are offering me zero return or incentives. Reluctantly, sometimes I include college tuition/loans in this category as well. And that’s when I got to thinking…
Americans have got the game messed up.
When you look at other cultures in the world, African, Middle Eastern and Asian included, many require their young adults to continue living with them well into their adult years. They desire their youngest contributing members of the community to work, earn decent livings and save their money for many of life’s milestones that have yet to come. These will include marriage, children, and the eventual responsibility of the family’s elderly.
In addition they also encourage their children to work hard and find a vocation. By the time many of these kids are enrolled in somebody’s college, if they ultimately wind up attending college, they have a great idea of what they need to get out of it so that minimal time is wasted.
Here in America, the culture tells you to enjoy high school, then immediately enroll in some form of overpriced higher education that is supposed to eventually support the rest of your life-long endeavors, hopes and dreams. There’s a great chance that you will enroll in a program that you probably haven’t given the most thought to because who’s able to make those sort of life-long decisions when you’re just a kid yourself? Upon graduation your parents are kicking you out of the door, cutting off your insurance and wishing you good luck.
But what if American culture coddled their young adults a bit more? Allowed them to take a break after high school to really consider what working life is like? Would they not make better choices when it came time to picking a school, major and other activities? What if the young adults could hold off paying rent a little longer? Were encouraged to pay a light or cable bill, keep gas in their cars and be given enough time to adequately figure out the employment and relationship thing out? Because ultimately, in another 40 years or so it’s going to be these same parents relying on those kids to make sure they’re comfortable in their old age.
I guess I’ll continue to stew over this later this evening as I’m leaving a job/career I didn’t go to college for and consequently don’t see myself at long-term and to an apartment who’s rent is more than the average mortgage payment in my hometown.

Happy Veteran’s Day!


Each eleven November

We all should remember

Every service member

Who left a glowing ember

-Quentin Ehlinger

Robert L. Yancey, a US veteran better known as the best Papa in the world to his grandkids (as pictured) myself, Kenny, Ty, and Shelby.

Robert L. Yancey, a US Korean War veteran, better known as the best Papa in the world to his grandkids (as pictured) myself, Kenny, Ty, and Shelby.

It’s a Photo Shoot!

cafe henriLast weekend I was finally able to link up with a couple girlfriends that I haven’t seen in weeks.  We met for brunch at a French café, Café Henri, that was simply amazing and afterwards found ourselves roaming the calm streets of West Village.

Sunita and Christina are both fashion bloggers who take their industry very seriously.  When I suggested that we take a picture or two, I had NO IDEA that I was signing up for a photo shoot.   The next thing I know, they each whipped out their powerful Nikon cameras, found absolutely beautiful backdrops and began snapping away.



“Raise your sleeve a bit so we can see your gorgeous wrist accessories.  Yup, amazing!”


“Right there Ashley, in front of that door!  Yes!  It goes perfect with your outfit!”


“Look natural!  The pictures don’t work when you’re trying to hard.  Beautiful!”


Then after reviewing several photos, they exclaimed, “Yes, here it is!  This is the shot.  This is it!

blog-the shot

Out of all of those pictures however, this one is my favorite.

blog-all three of us


It’s the Little Things…

little things“Ashley honey, I’ve never known you to have issues with acne,” my mother told me while looking intently at my face during a recent trip home.  “So what’s been going on with you up there?  Have you been taking care of yourself?” she gently prodded.

I hung my head.  The truth is I had not been.  My normally smooth, nearly flawless complexion had been marked with several acne scars with a few surface bumps scattered throughout my cheeks for good measure.  My cheap(er) concealer did a decent job of covering the imperfections, but it obviously wasn’t enough.  While I’d been doing a pretty good job of hiding behind my makeup and busy schedule, my mother saw right through the smoke and mirrors that nobody else does.  I was embarrassed.

“Well,” I hesitated.  “It’s hard Mom.  I’ve just gotten so busy and haven’t been eating like I should…”

“It’s okay baby.  It’ll get better,” she said reassuringly, sensing that I had gotten uncomfortable.  Wanting to avoid any conflict, she gently steered the conversation to more pleasant things but of course her words stuck with me.  Once back in NYC I found myself forking over my hard-earned cash for the expensive skin care products that never fail.

But isn’t that the thing with parents?  They have a way of honing in on those little things that seem to go unnoticed by everyone.  The next thing you know, you’re making all of these changes sparked by one seemingly minor comment.

Since visiting home while, I’ve worked on clearing up my complexion issues I’ve really gone overboard when it comes to cooking, cleaning and organizing.  I’ve lightweight overhauled my life.  My mother’s home was in impeccable condition and I was embarrassed when I walked into my own apartment and realized she would not approve.  While I’ve never been a messy person, there was no denying that my overflowing laundry basket should have been washed at least a week or two earlier, that my trash needed to go out, that my floors could use a good mop,  that my fridge could use more green veggies and less condiments…the list can go on for days.

Overall sometimes we need those reality checks.  We get so caught up in being busy that we forget to take care of those little things that when combined affect major change.  Since doing those little things, overall I feel more settled, more organized and more at peace.  It’s easier to be productive, to focus and to stay on task.  And when you have a busy schedule, these are the things that will make or break you.  Some days you eat the bear and other days the bear eats you.  Lately, I’ve been eating a lot of bears.

Thanks Mom.

Halloween 2013

I’ve always loved Halloween.  As a creative personality, I get immense joy from seeing how others put together their costumes and make their garb work for them.  I love the tradition of scary stories, crisp fall weather and fun Halloween parties.

As my father says, “You love it cause you like pretending to be something that you’re not!”

He may have a point, because this year you couldn’t tell me I was not THEE vampire of Brooklyn at a house party I attended.

vampire in brooklyn

One of my good friends, Maya, has recently explored costume makeup and I think she may have found her calling.

blog-my vampire makeup

While she did a fabulous job on my vampire makeup, check out her own look below.

blog-mayas makeup

Wow!  I told her, “You look like a cast member of Law & Order: SVU.”

“What’s Love Got To Do With It?” Everything.

You had to have been living under a rock if you didn’t see a few of these memes late summer/early fall…


I feel SO conflicted finding the humor in this…I’ve laughed at this more times than I’m comfortable admitting.

Because really, it’s not a laughing matter.  This really happened to somebody.  It happens to people.


If this were a movie character, a made-up role created for entertainment, I might be able to laugh easier but even then…abusive relationships aren’t funny.  Unfortunately, this relationship really happened.

I don’t need to say much else.  Come on y’all, we gotta do better.

Movin’ On Up!

This past summer I found myself not fitting in my clothes the way I used too, namely my bottoms.  Everything was fitting tighter and I noticed a few additional stretch marks yet I wasn’t gaining any weight.  I couldn’t understand why suddenly I was splitting my size 2 jeans and shorts, especially since I’d been paying a lot of attention to how and what I was eating and had consequently become a healthier, more conscious person.  I was incredibly confused and it didn’t help that the guy I was seeing didn’t always make me feel the most secure about it.

stack of jeansWhen it was time to switch my summer clothes out for my winter ones, I finally had to face the problem when NONE of my blue jeans fit anymore.  I couldn’t get them over my thighs and knew not to force it because as experience had taught me several times this summer, I would surely split them.  After shedding a tear or two over it and reviewing a few possible work-out routines always abandoning them before I began because I don’t like to sweat, I decided to try out a larger size just to see what would happen.

While size 4’s were a slight struggle to get on as I had to shimmy a bit to get them up over my thighs, size 6’s glided on effortlessly!  There was no stomach fat or other things jiggling over the edge of my waistband and the slim figure I have grown accustomed to over the past several years suddenly revealed itself again.

Is this that troublesome “woman weight” I’d been hearing about since high school?  Are these wider hips, thicker thighs and bigger bum my womanly curves that have finally come to introduce me to womanhood?

Suddenly I had my “aha” moment!

While I had been dreading buying bigger sizes, I now find myself welcoming it.  I’m incredibly relieved to finally have an answer.  Life had been such a mystery for a second, not understanding or knowing why I suddenly, almost overnight, couldn’t fit into my clothes.

While many may say “a 2 or a 6 is still small and nothing to worry about,” and I would agree, it is still an adjustment, a dramatic one in fact for someone such as myself, but I’m welcoming the change.   I’ve never switched sizes that dramatically before (with the exception of shoe sizes in 5th/6th grade) and it’s nice being able to rock things like leggings more confidently these days haha.  Either way, I’m now in desperate need of jeans and dress pants (as I have to replace ALL of the ones I used to own) and am taking any/all tips as it relates to this search.

Feels good to be back in my happy space!