Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas + A Festive Giveaway

Dress ℅ Shoes | Necklace & Bracelet designed by Jessie Dugan - currently sold exclusively at Miles David & Define Living

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah! 

In my family we've always celebrated on Christmas Eve, and then spend Christmas Day going to as many movies as we possibly can. I know everyone's family has different traditions, but one tradition that is always the same is presents...lots of presents! 

This lace little black dress from Shabby Apple made it easy to make my list and check it twice. The mock neck collar adds the perfect winter touch, and the sheer sleeves and hem give it a subtle appeal. Check out some of their other great, vintage inspired pieces below.

I've teamed up with Shabby Apple to give one lucky winner a sweet holiday treat - a dress of your choice! To enter, simply head to Instagram, follow me and Shabby Apple, and tag a friend that would love a chance to win, too! Winner will be chosen a week from today, on December 30th! Good luck!

I hope you all have a happy, healthy, and wonderful holiday weekend with family and friends! Enjoy the last few days of 2016! xoxo

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Deck the Halls with a Festive Tablescape

Centerpiece | Santa wine glass | Cookie plate (similar style) | Bottle topper | Napkin rings (similar style) | Santa & Mrs. Claus candles | Stir sticks (similar style) | Candle holder | Napkins | Placemat (similar style)  

It's that time of year. If you're hosting friends and family for Christmas, you are going to want to be the perfect hostess. From how to create the perfect tablescape, to making them feel at home, I've got you covered.

1. Create and atmosphere that's inviting. Whether it's moving around furniture to make it more conducive to entertaining, or making extra counter space in the guest bathroom, be sure to do your prep work before your guests arrive. There's nothing worse than having them arrive and being unprepared. If this happens, they'll end up feeling like they're imposing on your time and your space. Also, remember you are sharing your house, so even if it's people you know really well, or are just getting acquainted with, nothing is off limits (i.e., if there's something you don't want them to touch, see, or sit on, put it away beforehand). 

2. Make them feel at home. Think of the necessities that people need when staying somewhere. I often like to think about what amenities hotels provide when I'm preparing for a guest. Men are a little easier than women, as they don't require as much, but I'd rather have too much to offer my guests than too little. For example, I'm a bathrobe junkie, so I love having a bathrobe on hand when a guest comes into town. Toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and plenty of towels are must-have's too. Having a spare blow dryer is always great and extra blankets (for the bed and to cozy up with).  When in doubt, consider what you wish you had when you're at someone else's home. Even if you think you provided them with everything under the sun, make sure to check-in and see if there's anything else they need. At the end of the day, respect their privacy. I don't think anyone loves staying at other people's houses, so whether they want to do an activity alone, or decide to sleep in until 11am, be respectful. 

3. Do your homework. Do your guests have food allergies, is there something they do not eat, is there something they love to eat that you want to have on hand...all these are great things to know when hosting. Depending on the degree of closeness, you probably already know the answer to these questions. However, if your guests are newer friends or new to the family, there's nothing wrong with tactfully writing an email or having a simple phone call with them ahead of time. You can start by telling them how thrilled you are they are coming, and then go into what you're preparing for dinner, or what restaurants you're planning to dine at. This will make it easy to see whether or not there's things they like or don't like. Don't be embarrassed to ask either, but at the end of the day if you feel uncomfortable, make your significant other do the asking. That's what they're there for anyways, right!? haha. 

4. Create the perfect setting. Decorating the dining room table for an intimate dinner or for holidays with the family, is definitely one of my favorite things. I love decorating with the colors of the season and the holiday in mind. Whether it's silver and blue for Hanukkah or green and red for Christmas, it brings out the holiday cheer. The simple red, white and green color scheme is not only perfect for Christmas, but through the winter season as well. The Santa & Mrs. Clause candlesticks, polka dot placemats, and snowman napkin rings (similar style here), will make all your guest's nostalgic and reminiscent of the past. My favorite addition to my holiday collection this year were these Santa wine glasses. They're just too much fun. All the holiday decor that is pictured is currently up to 40% off. Shop it here

What are some of your hostessing tips? I would love to hear them. Also, if you have any questions on last minute tips for the holidays, don't hesitate to ask! 


Now…it’s time for a fabulous giveaway! I’ve teamed up with an amazing group of bloggers to give YOU a chance to win: a $500 Lululemon Gift Card, just in time for the first of the year!
Simply enter below by completing the rafflecopter. You’ll receive one entry per completion. This giveaway is open internationally and runs until 12/28. Winner will be announced here. Good Luck!
$500 Lululemon Gift Card a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 19, 2016

Very Merry Gifts That Give Back

Dress (under $40 and comes in three colors)  | Shoes | Clutch | Earrings 

I cannot believe that Christmas is this week! During the holidays I am always reminded of how much I have, and it always gives me that additional push to give back. Whether that is to a cause near to my heart, or to someone less fortunate, or just helping a friend in need, the Christmas spirit truly is about spreading joy and love. 

So during this time of gift giving, consider donating to a charity that you know your gift recipient is involved with, or passionate about. You can make the donation in their name/honor.  You can look for activities in your city that give back too. Whether that's donating time to serve a meal at a local soup kitchen, or sing carols to men and women at an old folks home - it'll be more rewarding then any gift you could receive. 

There are also some great gifts you can buy where proceeds support various charities and causes. I've rounded up a few below!

Photos by LA Photography

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Start to Finish at Uptown Diamond

3D Printers for the beginning stages of printing

Lazer machine for sizing

Setting stones in championship rings

"Be like a diamond; precious and rare, not like a stone that is found everywhere," Ritu Ghatourey. This quote epitomizes what you'll find at Uptown Diamond.  From their unique custom pieces, to their in house process, and under the radar location, Uptown Diamond is truly one-of-a-kind.

Uptown Diamond makes all your jewelry dreams come true. With projects ranging from $1,000 to so many 0's you'll gasp, there is nothing they cannot do. Whether that is creating the engagement ring of your dreams, your husband's wedding band, or repurposeing some of your grandmother's cherished jewels, they give every project (and client) 100%.

Even better, everything is done on location - from start to finish. I talked briefly about their "hands on" process in this post last month. From the moment you walk in, you are able to customize your piece to your exact specifications. You don't have to settle for something you "kind of like", like other jewelry stores. Instead, you get jewelry that's as unique as you. 

Once you have shared your vision for your piece, it is ready to be designed and created! You will get to see, and be a part of every step of the process. Unlike other jewelers that send their pieces out to a third party to be manufactured and created, Uptown Diamond has all the state of the art equipment in their showroom.

3D Printer image

Palladium process

Tools for setting 

2016 Texas A&M Baseball SEC Championship Ring

Some of this equipment includes two 3D printers that create an accurate rendering of what your piece will look like. Once that's complete you can tweak whatever doesn't suit your fancy. Want it bigger, need it smaller, or want the stone or placement to be different? Done. 

From there, a wax casting is made of your piece to truly make it come to life. These wax castings are incredibly delicate, and give you an accurate portrayal of what the piece will look like (see the wax castings of the rings below). 

Another picture of setting stones in championship rings

They also have expert craftsmen on hand at all times. The designer's expertise includes diamond setting, designing, wax casting, and finishing expert, which is my favorite because that's what gives it that sparkle and shine. 

I got the chance to see them setting the diamonds in some championship rings while I was there - the patience and skill set blew my mind (not to talk about the size and grandeur of those rings!!!). 

Wax molds of rings 

Repair desk 

There's no better gift then jewelry. Whether it's to say I love you, a cherished memory, or a gift to yourself, jewelry undoubtedly is one of our most precious possessions. Jewelry is also the gift that keeps giving, since often times it is passed down from generation to generation. 

With Christmas and Valentine's Day just around the corner, look no further then Uptown Diamond. 
Uptown Diamond is an unparalleled force to be reckoned with in the diamond industry. They've done it all - championship rings, bedazzled drumsticks, engagement rings and more. Let them help you turn your dreams into a reality and schedule your appointment now.

This post is sponsored by Uptown Diamond. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands and companies we love at Ashley Nicole Style.

Photos by LA Photography


Now…it’s time for a fabulous giveaway! I’ve teamed up with an amazing group of bloggers to give YOU a chance to win: a $500 Lululemon Gift Card, just in time for the first of the year!
Simply enter below by completing the rafflecopter. You’ll receive one entry per completion. This giveaway is open internationally and runs until 12/28. Winner will be announced here. Good Luck!
$500 Lululemon Gift Card a Rafflecopter giveaway

design + development by kiki and co. creative