Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Black & Blue + Talking About Breast Cancer Awareness


Jacket (wearing size S) | Tee | Jeans (wearing size 25) | Booties (old, similar style here & here) | Handbag ℅ | Bracelets ℅ | Earrings ℅ Sunglasses 

Happy Halloween, friends! Did you do anything festive to celebrate? Our weekend was spent cheering on the Houston Astros in the World Series. Can we talk about Sunday nights game - I seriously stayed up anxiously watching until 1am! Needless to say I was exhausted yesterday, but it was so worth it. If you know me, you know I'm not a huge baseball fan, but it is hard to not get excited and involved, especially after the heartache our city endured from Harvey. I am so hopeful that we win tonight and can bring that trophy home to Houston. Fingers crossed!  

Although October is officially coming to an end, I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about something the month is known for, which is Breast Cancer Awareness. Cancer is a disease that has affected my family greatly, and I always think it's important to make your health your #1 priority. 

If you follow me on Instagram, you may may have caught my stories last week when I talked about how I had just seen my OBGYN for my yearly physical. While I was there, she asked if I would like to be tested for the BRCA gene. I actually hadn't heard anything about BRCA testing until a few years ago when Angelina Jolie publicized it. For those of you that don't know, the BRCA gene test is a blood test that you can take which helps you know your chances of getting breast cancer and ovarian cancer.  

I was surprised by was how easy it was (just some blood drawing), and that most insurances cover most, if not all of the cost. The results take about six weeks for you to get back, but I recently saw that there are some third party companies that also offer the testing, and you can simply do it in your own home and then send it out. 

I debated posting about it because it is something that is personal, private, and I didn't want to seem preachy. I also may be a little too sensitive sometimes, and wonder how personal you all want me to get, or if you just want to see picture perfect fashion! haha! Kidding aside, I was shocked and touched by how many people messaged me and thanked me for bringing up BRCA testing on my Instagram. Many of them mentioned that they had been touched by cancer, or that their mom or sister had found a lump, and how great they thought it was that I was open and sharing about it. 

 I am definitely not an expert (and don't claim to be), but I wanted to share with you what my experience was like, in hopes to open the door for you into further research and discussion. Knowledge is power.  

Designer Elaine Turner is donating 20% of the proceeds from my pink beaded jade bracelets to benefit the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Their mission is to provide help and inspire hope to those affected by breast cancer through early detection, education, and support services. Through partner and donor support, NBCF provides free mammograms across the country.

Photos by LA Photography

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Traveling with the New Vera Bradley Weekender Bags

Grand Weekender Bag ℅ | Compact Weekender Bag ℅ | Blazer | Sweater | Jeans - best jeans ever under $100 (wearing size 2) | OTN Boots (similar, less expensive style) | Necklace | Earrings | Watch (similar style) | Sunglasses (similar style here)

Hi everyone! I hope you're having an amazing week. 

I recently partnered with Vera Bradley to talk travel, and share why I love their iconic Weekender Bag. Check out their post about it here, and read my interview below! 

I've been an avid traveler since a young age (I've been to six of the seven continents), and now that I am a blogger and fashion stylist full-time, traveling is also part of my job. When traveling, it's always important to plan, prioritize, stay organized, and of course, look stylish.  

One way to do this is to strategically pick the bags you travel with on your trips. Whether that's your carry-on or suitcase, everything needs to serve a purpose. The Weekender Bags fit all this criteria and then some. Plus, it now comes in three different sizes, all uniquely guaranteed to take you to any destination your wanderlust heart desires. 

Over the last two months I was in L.A. for a birthday celebration, New York City for Fashion Week, Chicago for a conference, Wisconsin to visit family, and did a few road trips here in Texas. Next, I am off to Nashville for Halloween, and I will be taking my Compact and Grand Weekender with me. I love always having bags in different sizes, because they each serve their own purpose. The smaller of the two is my personal item, while the larger bag gets stored in the overhead. This makes packing a breeze because I can easily separate what I need on the airplane, from what I’ll need when I get there.

The Compact Weekender has great versatility. It has a detachable strap so you can wear it as a cross body, which is ideal for when you’re running through the airport and need to be hands-free. But once you reach your destination, you can carry it by the top handles, and have the perfect purse. It also has space for all my essentials. The inside of the bag has mesh compartments, which makes it easy for me to store my headphones, jewelry, makeup, and snacks. That way, the middle is left free for my wallet, book, and any other larger items. There are two exterior pockets which I use for the things I constantly am getting in and out of my bag, like my phone and boarding pass. Did I mention there’s a charger pocket too? This is great for anyone who’s on the go.

I use the Grand Weekender as my carry-on. Traveling with a carry-on not only ensures that nothing will get lost, but it's convenient and speeds up travel time. I try to travel with only a carry-on 99% of the time. If you take the time to plan out each outfit, have staple pieces you can build off of with accessories, and use packing cubes, it isn’t as hard as it sounds. Plus, if you layer on the plane with your larger pieces (i.e. boots, jackets, etc.) you’ll save space in your bag. This bag is ideal for weekend or week long getaways, as you really are able to fit so much inside of it. It also has a trolley sleeve that you can easily slide over the handle of your suitcase/wheelie for convenience – I love that. Most importantly, the simple silhouette is lightweight, which is a definite must when you travel.

Where is your next trip taking you, and how do you like to pack when you travel? 


Thank you to Vera Bradley for sponsoring this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Ashley Nicole Style possible. 

Photos by LA Photography

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Our Weekend in College Station

I love my home as much as the next person, but sometimes I just crave a change of scenery. That's one thing I love about Houston actually - you can hop on a plane and in two hours be in Mexico with a margarita in hand. When I need a break, instead of leaving town, I leave the state! Ha! That being said, I've now been in Houston nearly four years, and definitely am wanting to explore more of the state I call home. 

Earlier this month, Adam and I were going back-and-forth about where we could go for the weekend that was fairly close by, and wouldn't require a lengthy car ride. After bouncing ideas off one another, we both looked at one another and said, "What about College Station?" Since Adam went to Texas A&M, I've wanted to see where he went to school and what these "Aggies" are all about. Seriously, living in Texas is like a constant competition of what in-state school did you go to. Let me tell you, they all come out of woodwork for the football games, no matter how old they are. I also own more A&M clothes then I ever owned of CU Boulder clothes (where I went to college). I guess that's what happens when you're in Texas, so we'll just say I'm an honorary Aggie.

 Whenever I go anywhere I love to soak up everything the place has to offer, and really enjoy it like a local. I also like to travel in style (obviously), and love a good hotel. When I mentioned to a few friends that we were going up to CS, they said that we definitely needed to stay at the Cavalry Court. Luckily, we were able to get a reservation, and by the time we arrived on Friday, we got to have dinner and enjoy some live music at their restaurant, the Canteen.

From the moment we got there, there was so much to love, and no stone was left unturned. The rooms at the retro, military style inspired hotel were so cozy and I loved the barn door that separated the bathroom from the bedroom. The antique Stag refrigerator (so cute) came fully stocked with tons of drinks and snacks. Perfect for a fun football weekend. Our patio also had a great view of the hotel's pool, which I knew we'd have to have a dip in while we were there!

On Saturday, we got up early and enjoyed the complimentary breakfast the hotel offers, which was perfect fuel for the day. After we finished, Adam took me on a guided walking tour of the campus! We saw his old dorm, classrooms, and walked to Kyle Field, where we were heading later for the football game. We got to see all the tailgates being set up, and stopped by the Memorial Student Center, where I picked up my new Aggie swag. What do you think of my shirt and hat?!

Once the tour was done, we were famished so we headed to the Northgate District, which is full of lots of fun bars and restaurants. We checked out some of Adam's old favorite haunts, like the Dixie Chicken, Dry Bean Saloon and the Corner Bar & Grill. Once we finished, we walked back to the hotel, and enjoyed some downtime by the pool. After some fun in the sun, we got ready and headed to the football game. Adam had scored us (ha get it?!) some great Club Level tickets. The seats were perfect and I totally indulged in the game-day food way too much - I mean who can resist a hot dog covered in mac and cheese and coleslaw?

After the Aggies beat South Carolina, we walked back to the hotel. After all was said and done, we had walked over ten miles!!!! We ended the night with a night cap at the Cavalry Courts neighboring, newly opened hotel, The George. They have a fun whisky bar called, 1791, with lots of great innovative cocktails.

On Sunday, we headed back to Houston with full stomachs and happy hearts! No joke, we ate so many yummy goodies that extra gym time was a must - but it was so worth it! It was great to see a new part of Texas, and experience part of Adam's past (cheesy, but true). It was a perfect weekend and I can't wait to go back. We'll definitely be staying at the Cavalry Court again, too - a College Station must!

This post is in partnership with Cavalry Court. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Ashley Nicole Style possible. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

My 10 Favorite Shirt Dresses for Fall

Dress (wearing size 2) | Heels | Purse (similar style here & here) | Cuff ℅ | Bracelet ℅ | Earrings ℅ | Sunglasses 

Hey everyone! Sorry for being silent last this week!

You may recognize this dress from the post I did recently showing you my updated office. Although it already got some airtime, I wanted to do a post showcasing it because I love it so much! Seriously, I got it about a month ago and have worn it at least 10 times.

What I love about this dress is it's a great transitional piece. It still has a wonderful, spring/summer floral print, but the darker colors (and cute polka dot accent), make it perfect for fall. I plan to wear this all season long, and will be pairing it with opaque tights and booties.

Shirt dresses are also a great way to stay comfortable all day long. They can be dressed up or down, and the material that they're made out of  is usually pretty breathable. I've rounded up my top ten shirt dresses below, and they're all under $100!

Photos by LA Photography

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Fashion & Philanthropy - Why Giving Back is Important to Me

This entire look is all under $100! 

October is definitely my favorite month of the year, and always has been since as long as I can remember. What I love most about it is the weather starts to cool off, and the leaves begin to change color. Plus, who doesn't love the sound of leaves crunching under their feet? I used to love racking the leaves and jumping in them, but now I can't really get away with that. 

October also has my favorite holiday ever - Halloween! The candy and costumes have always been fun, but in the last several years, Halloween has become an important holiday to me personally and philanthropically. 

Philanthropy has been a big part of my life since I was a child. Both of my parents, as well as the schools I attended, bestowed in me the importance of giving back. From volunteering, to monetary donations, or just donating regularly to Goodwill, I know every little bit counts.  I love this quote by Melinda Gates, "Philanthropy is not about the money. It's about using whatever resources you have at your fingertips and applying them to improving the world." 

As I've gotten older, I have discovered charities/non-profits on my own that I have become passionate about dedicating my time to. I really encourage everyone, if you don't already, to take the time to do this - it will be more rewarding than you know. Getting the opportunity to add a glimmer of light to someone who is suffering, make a donation towards the advancement of care, or simply put food in someone's belly, is incredibly rewarding.

Okay, so you're wondering what does all this have to do with why I love October and Halloween? Because, the organization that I have become heavily involved with that is near and dear to my heart is the Arthritis Foundation. You've probably heard me mention them quite often on the blog. 

I became involved with the AF while I lived in San Francisco, and shortly thereafter, I was diagnosed with arthritis (you can read about my journey here). When I found out we would be moving to Houston, I quickly got in touch with/involved with the organization here. Little did I know that the annual charity gala hosted by the Arthritis Foundation in Houston (as well as other cities), was a Halloween party called the Bone Bash! I was on cloud 9! Hence, my increased love affair with October.

This year, I am co-chairing the event with two of my fellow board members, and I couldn't be more excited. Countless hours have gone into meticulously fine tuning and planning every detail, and I can't wait to see all of our hard work come to fruition. The gala continues to grow every year, and especially in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, I am so excited that the event has nearly sold out. Houstonians love their city and are great at giving back, so there is no better place to be to continue enriching my philanthropic journey. 

The event this year will take place on Saturday, October 21st, and if you're interested, you can get all the details here. The theme is "Havana Nights," and lets just say I may have gone a bit overboard on my costume. I can't wait for you guys to see it  - did I mention it's coming from Germany?!?! 

You can also check out my post-event recap from last year here

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Roses are Red, Checks are Blue

Dress ℅ | Mules - only $29 ℅ | Bag (similar style - only $43!) | Hat | Necklace (no longer available; similar style) | Earrings (no longer available; similar style) | Sunglasses

If you're wondering why this outfit seems a bit 'unseasonable,' that's because it is. I shot this look the week before Harvey hit Houston at the end of August. New York Fashion Week came and went, and I still had some summer greats to share with you. I tried to pick it back up, and recognized that "seasons" aren't a part of the Houston vocabulary (because it's always so hot,) so I was excited to share this easy sheath dress with you. 

When I woke up yesterday (Monday), the day got off with a difficult start due to the news of the tragedy that happened in Las Vegas. My thoughts and prayers are with the people, and families that are affected by this senseless act of violence. I feel a bit insensitive to take this opportunity to share an outfit post, so instead what I will share with you is something I read today, "You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty" - Mahatma Gandhi. Continue to pray for everyone. 

I know this blog is read for fashion advice and tips, so I have linked all my outfit details below, and everything is under $100. If you have any sizing questions, please let me know. 

Photos by LA Photography


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