Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Cozy Outfit Perfect For Christmas Lounging

Cardigan | Shirt | Jeans | Booties (similar)

Anyone else love just lounging on Christmas? Don't get me wrong, I love to dress up! I rocked my plaid mini skirt and heels for J's work Christmas party. But as soon as we got home I was in sweats and one of his shirts. So of course when it comes to opening presents and eating with family, I think we can all agree that most people want to be comfortable. But you also want to look somewhat presentable because we all know that plenty of pictures get taken. Which is why this outfit is perfect! Wearing a comfy pair of jeans keeps you from looking like a college students, but the cardigan keeps your warm and cozy and perfectly comfortable! Scroll down for some more options!

A quick note about these jeans (and no this isn't sponsored): I found them at Old Navy. A year ago I would have told you I hate ON jeans because they just never look good on me. But something must have changed either with me or their styles because these are my favorite jeans! They have plenty of stretch but don't get baggy and stretched out. Plus, they're so affordable! One in every shade? Yes please!!

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Monday, December 18, 2017

The Lord Is Good Y'all


Hello! First of all, Christmas is one week away!! And honestly I won't be done with wrapping until Sunday. The struggle of trying to hide packages from your fiance! I think we're just about done buying presents for people too.

So now for the exciting news: I HAVE A JOB!! Yes y'all after four months of not using my degree and struggling to trust the Lord, I have a real job. I'll be an analytical technologist at Dow only about 25 minutes from where we live. It's also like 7 minutes down the road from where J works. Before you ask though, no we will not carpool to work. I love the man but he leaves at the very last minute for work and it stresses me out.

If you've been following along for a while, you'll know that I recently received my PhD in chemistry (I officially graduated on Friday!!). I started applying for jobs way back in January/February. I had two interviews in April, one in New Jersey and one north of Chicago. Unfortunately those didn't lead to offers...or fortunately because then I didn't have to choose between a job and J. Over the summer I had a few companies reach out via e-mail and then a few phone interviews. But again those didn't lead to any offers. Keep in mind I was applying for so many jobs! Literally anything I was qualified for in the Cincy/Dayton/Columbus/Indianapolis areas. There were weeks I'd apply for 10+ jobs!

Through all of this, I was frustrated. Frustrated that I spent 4 years of my life stressed to the max. Grad school is not easy! It was hard and it isn't something to go into lightly. I was angry that the Lord would bring me through all that trouble and hardship just to end up with nothing. I had nothing to show for my degree. Here I am, Dr. Ashley Richardson, and I'm a substitute at a preschool.

Of course I had people around me pointing out the good things to come out of grad school:
1. I'm getting married. J is better than any man I've ever met or imagined. I couldn't have picked a better husband-to-be!
2. I made great friends. Seriously, two of my bridesmaids are girls I never would have met if it weren't for grad school.
3. I actually got to rest. These last four years have been the longest and hardest of my life. I needed a break, whether I realized it or not.

So all in all, the Lord was working. Being married is something I've wanted with all of my heart. I cherish my close friendships. And I really needed a break. Like bad. It was so nice to not use my degree for a while. Being with preschoolers for a couple months has been a blast! They reminded me that life can't be taken too seriously. Just roll with it. Improvise! And I realized that I'm pretty well prepared for kids because I handled being puked on like a champ! No joke, one of my kiddos threw up all over me. And I didn't vomit right after. I sat her down, waited until she got it all out (we were outside), and then calmly walked her in with a smile on my face and cleaned us both up. 

All of this to say, regardless of what you're going through, wait on the Lord's timing. I know, it's so easy for me to say that when I'm now on the other side of the crappy time. But do it. Wait on Him. Because His plan is far greater than anything. If I had gotten a job immediately out of grad school, I would be so burnt out. I would probably resent my degree. It would have strained all of my relationships, especially mine with J. And that's not something I'm willing to do. 

My friend, know that I know your struggle. I get it. It sucks. While I only waited less than a year for a job to come up, I've waited over 10 years to find my future husband (seriously I was okay with finding him when I was in high school). There are going to be days when you think the Lord doesn't hear you. When you think He's punishing you. But friend keep going. Keep trusting that He will provide one day. Whether it's next week or next decade, God's timing will always be perfect.

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Monday, December 11, 2017

My Favorite Blanket Scarf + Engagement Pictures!

Sweater | Scarf | Jeans | Booties (similar)

I'm all for blanket scarves in the winter. I'll wear the crap out of them outside but as soon as I walk inside, the scarf comes off. I just get too hot to function. But that still doesn't stop me from wearing them! Especially when I pair them with a thinner sweater (thinner = breathable = I don't have a heat stroke!).

Fun fact about this outfit: I wore this to an impromptu photo shoot at a Christmas tree farm with Jake. We needed a photo for our Christmas card and since my mom (who happens to be a former photographer) was with us, we stopped by to take a couple shots. I ended up LOVING them so much I lumped them in with our actual engagement pictures. I'm so thankful to have a family full of photographers because my uncle, who owns his own photography business in Indy, came to Ohio one evening to take our actual ones!

I had posted all of them on Facebook but realized I'm not friends with a lot of you. That or my friends are really good at never talking about this blog with me! Haha. Anyway, enjoy!!

He gave me exactly what I wanted!
This made our Christmas card!

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Monday, December 4, 2017

Ugly Christmas Sweater

He's pretty cute, right?
Ashley: Sweater, Wal-Mart in stores | Jeans | Booties, similar | Lipstick (color: Ruby Woo)
Jake: Sweater, Wal-Mart in stores | Jeans | Shoes

Happy December! Who doesn't love a good ugly Christmas sweater? You're likely to be invited to a party during the holiday season where the theme is something "ugly." Of course my first stop would normally be Goodwill because oh my goodness they have some real gems! But the closest Goodwill is a bit of a drive, so Jake and I were picking up some thank you cards at Wal-Mart and saw these beauties! Plus, they were just under $20!

They had quite the selection too! There's one with a llama, a hunter, a drunk snowman, a reindeer with a pocket for your drink, and a few others. Being a cat mom, I went for the one with the kittens on it. Jake opted for the dinosaur sweater. Keep in mind these are men's sizes. I still went with an XL so it would have a baggier fit. If that's what you want, go one or two sizes up from what you normally wear in women's sizes.

Do you love ugly Christmas sweaters? I do! My favorite one is one I found at a thrift store. It says "Merry Christmas" in Polish! Jake and I have debated wearing these sweaters to all the Christmas functions we have this year. Stay tuned to see if we actually do!

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

My Favorite Drugstore Makeup Products

I may no longer be a graduate student, but I still live on a budget (#nojobproblems). Which means I still love me some good drugstore makeup finds! I was actually looking at my makeup bag a few days ago and noticed that nearly everything I use is from the drugstore. So here you have it: all of my favorite drugstore makeup products!

I finally broke down and purchased this foundation once I realized my previous foundation was a shade too dark for the fall/winter. And OH MY GOSH this stuff is the best if you have oily skin! I know I raved about the L'Oreal Pro-Matte Foundation, but y'all. This Milani foundation is even better. I hardly see any oily spots on my face at the end of the day. And I work with preschoolers so I'm constantly moving! I use a damp sponge to apply it if I don't want any much coverage, but I'll use a dry sponge if I want lots of coverage. Plus, it doesn't sink into my pores (as long as I use a primer). *praise hands* The shade range is okay, but they're definitely still lacking on the darker shades. For the winter, my skin gets really light so I'm actually using the shade Light!

I think I'm on my third palette? Seriously that's how much I love it! If you like the idea of contouring but you're also lazy like me, this palette will be your best friend! There's two options: light/medium and dark/deep. Not surprising I use the light/medium. There's four shades within the palette. The top left is a shimmery light color that's perfect as a highlighter. The top right is a matte light shade that does wonders for setting my concealer under my eyes. The bottom left is by far my favorite shade! It's a warm bronze that gives the perfect summer glow. The bottom right is a cooler brown shade that I tend to use when I do a more glam look. I also use the bottom two shades on my eyes if I'm even lazier than usual! Plus as $6 it's a steal!

Yet another product I think I've purchased three or four times? I've talked about this mascara before but for good reason! One side of the brush grabs all the product possible so you can apply plenty of mascara. Then you just rotate the wand a little and run the brushes through your lashes to distribute the product. Perfect for adding volume AND length! This mascara is the reason people ask if I'm wearing false lashes. Nope! Just really great mascara!

Okay so I just recently switched over to a true liquid liner. I mean when it only costs $2, I wouldn't have felt bad if either I hated it or I couldn't get the hang of it. But y'all. Liquid liner has changed my life! It seriously applies in half the time of other eyeliners! I wipe a good bit of the product off in the bottle before applying it, but it's so potent you don't need much to begin with! I was also afraid that because it's a liquid that it would run, but thankfully it stays put so well all day (again it survives a day with preschoolers). It's actually nice to not have eyeliner running down into the outer corners of my eyes!

This is another product for my lazy gals! I never could get into using a brow pencil because it takes so darn long! The wand on this brow mascara is MUCH smaller than the wand for normal mascara. So you really just brush it over your brows and BAM fuller lashes in 15 seconds. It also tames wild brows so they stay put all day long. As far as I know it isn't waterproof, but it stays really well all day! The tint also isn't super strong so no worries of messing up and it looking awful!


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Monday, November 27, 2017

The Coziest Cardigan

Cardigan, similar | Top | Jeans | Shoes, similar
I got this cardigan from Old Navy last year. I never blogged about it, but it's one I wear all the time when it's cold! I love wearing a long sleeve tee under it because when it's in the 40s and 50s I can wear it without a coat. If there's one thing I got from my mom, it's that I don't like wearing a coat because I'm always too warm. So if there's an outfit I can wear that's warm enough to not need a jacket, I'm down!

Unfortunately I'm a year too late with Old Navy, BUT I did find some similar cardigans that I've linked below. Plus, with it being the Christmas season now, you're likely to find some great sales on these!

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A Wooden Watch For Your Man

<img src="IMG_4726.jpg" alt="JORD Conway Walnut and Jet Black Watch" title="Conway Walnut and Jet Black"/>
<img src="IMG_4729.jpg" alt="JORD Conway Walnut and Jet Black Watch" title="Conway Walnut and Jet Black"/>
<img src="IMG_4734.jpg" alt="JORD Conway Walnut and Jet Black Watch" title="Conway Walnut and Jet Black"/>
<img src="IMG_4739.jpg" alt="JORD Conway Walnut and Jet Black Watch" title="Conway Walnut and Jet Black"/>          <img src="IMG_4741.jpg" alt="JORD Conway Walnut and Jet Black Watch" title="Conway Walnut and Jet Black"/>
<img src="IMG_4743.jpg" alt="JORD Conway Walnut and Jet Black Watch" title="Conway Walnut and Jet Black"/>          <img src="IMG_4744.jpg" alt="JORD Conway Walnut and Jet Black Watch" title="Conway Walnut and Jet Black"/>
<img src="IMG_4751.jpg" alt="JORD Conway Walnut and Jet Black Watch" title="Conway Walnut and Jet Black"/>

I'll be honest: Somehow I have avoided dating anyone during the holidays so I haven't had to buy a Christmas gift for a boyfriend since my freshman year of college! But now that I've got Jake to buy for this year, I've been wracking my brain trying to come up with ideas. To make it even harder on me, he doesn't like giving out wish lists. So when JORD reached out about trying one of their wooden watches, I knew this was honestly a perfect gift for Jake. Obviously it isn't Christmas, but his birthday is at the end of November so I treated it like an early birthday present!

This wooden watch is perfect for Jake! He enjoys the outdoors, hunting, and sells/works on chainsaws so "wood" is a theme in his life. But this watch is also very classic looking so he can wear it to nice events, like weddings (seriously watch for this watch to be on his wrist next fall!). He loves the darker color of this watch. I think it looks so sharp on him and I kind of regret not having him wear it during our engagement photo session!

Here's a little bit more info about JORD: they sell these unique men's watches that are perfect for gifting your guy! The wooden aspect adds a fun surprise to the traditional watch. Bonus: you can have the watch engraved which makes it perfect for birthdays, Christmas, or anniversaries! The specific watch Jake has is from the Conway series. Specifically, he has the Walnut and Jet Black watch. It's also a chronograph watch, which adds even more functionality.

Of course I wouldn't give you all of this great information without having a great deal to accompany it! Are you ready for it? Here it is: JORD is offering 25% off your watch! Bonus: this coupon is good until December 19th. So if you're a last minute shopper, no worries! But if you want to get a head start on your shopping, this coupon is live NOW!

Watch Gift Ideas

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Life Update Vol. 1

Hello! I'm pretty sure I've done a life update before, but I'm starting to number them by volume with this one! I wanted to take some time to update y'all on some stuff going on in my life. There's some happy news and some frustrating news. But I always like to start with the good news first, so here we go!

The happy news: I'm engaged!! Jake surprised me Saturday. Well, when I say surprised I mean I didn't know what the ring looked like until he popped the question. I was a little suspicious starting a couple days before, and I really hoped that he would propose that weekend because we were with my parents as well as his. I included a few pictures from the proposal at the bottom of the post!

Super briefly, here's the story: We went to Metamora, Indiana to their Canal Days Festival. Jake, myself, and his parents met up with my parents, and we spent the day walking around all the shops and eating ice cream. I had initially thought it would have been a great idea to propose the night before so we could celebrate with them all day Saturday, but that wasn't his plan. I was a little disappointed when my parents said they needed to head back home, but little did I know what Jake had planned. We stopped at a park in Richmond, Indiana on our way home and he drove us around until we got to the rose garden in the park. He convinced me to go walk around it and take some cute pictures. But as soon as we got to the entrance, I saw our friend Brandon playing his guitar under the gazebo. That's when I knew what was happening. We stood under the gazebo, Jake said some sweet words that I actually forget because I was slightly in shock, he got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him. After our celebration, he asked if I wanted to tell my mom immediately. He spun me around, and I saw my parents and his parents walking toward us cheering! That was so sweet! We celebrated with dinner that evening and even got a jump start on planning!

We're full steam ahead on planning at this point! I haven't decided how much I'll share about everything on here. If you think it's something you'd be interested in, let me know! But I'm also not jumping at the bit to share every detail of our wedding planning either. 

Now the frustrating news: I still don't have a job. This whole process has really tested me. I mean, I spent 8 years in school only to end up with no job? That's not cool. I'm either overqualified because I have a PhD and they only want someone with a bachelor's, or I'm underqualified because I lack job experience. I'm trying to be patient and wait on God's timing, but not having an income is getting more and more difficult. I recently became a licensed substitute teacher and I have my first subbing job tomorrow at a local elementary school. I'm trying to be thankful for what little income this will bring me, but I'm getting to the point where I'll likely hit up local retail stores for open positions just to have something closer to full time.

I try to tell myself that this free time should be welcomed because I've been able to easily edit my dissertation, and now I have lots of time to meet with venues for our wedding. But money has always been the one area of my life that stresses me out the most. Thinking about not having enough money to pay bills will literally bring me to tears. So I'm trying to see this situation as the Lord calling me to trust him to provide. I'm definitely not perfect at it, but I'm getting there!

Other than that, my life is pretty much the same. I'm becoming more involved in my new church with Jake, making new friends in the area, and settling into a great routine. Some days it's hard realizing I'm committing to living 3 hours from my family, but Jake's family has been so wonderful at including me! Also as promised, here are a few of my favorite pictures from Saturday (and yes, I absolutely love my ring!):


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Monday, October 9, 2017

Fall Trend: Tied Details


One trend that was big last year was tie-up sweatshirts. And it's a trend that's still around this fall! I've rounded up a few options below. They're great to pair with skinny jeans and sneakers for a casual look. Or add heeled booties and some fun earrings for a fancier look. Tied details are all over on tops. They can be on the bottom, like what I'm wearing, on the sleeves, or up the side. The tied detail gives these tops a fun surprise!

A super quick life update: I got engaged this weekend! Jake proposed under a gazebo in the middle of a rose garden in Richmond, IN complete with our friend Brandon serenading us and Logan taking secret then not-so-secret pictures. Plus, our parents were watching from behind a bush and surprised me after I said yes! We celebrated with dinner together and got a big jumpstart on wedding planning!

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