Friday, July 26, 2019

Blue & White Stripe Bell Sleeve Dress

Dress | Shoes | Hat | Purse (similar style here) | Sunglasses | Necklace - on sale! EarringsGold Bangle | Pearl Cuff 

How is it already Friday?! After being gone for nearly a month, I got back to Houston on Monday, and have been going non-stop. Even though I was still working while I was visiting my family in Wisconsin, I came home with more on my plate than I anticipated. From countless packages (literally our entryway was strewn with them), to trying to get organized and back into the swing of things, this week seriously flew by. With {a lot} more travel on the horizon, I am trying to balance everything...and keep my head on straight.

Happily the weekend is here, and nothing has me more excited than this blue and white stripe bell sleeve dress from Jude Connally. It just screams refined comfort, doesn't it? The stripe dress also comes in a maxi style and a sleeveless version, which are perfect for summer. 

I know I've mentioned it before, but since I stumbled upon their store in Charleston in March, I have been addicted. Their pieces are on-trend, and great for someone on the go. Their signature material, Jude Cloth (which is what this dress is made out of),  is easy to wash, doesn't wrinkle, and has the perfect amount of give while still being fitted and flattering. The compliments you'll receive are endless. The price point is also great, and their pieces run TTS (I wear an XS in their clothing for reference). 

Whatever you're up to this weekend, I hope you have a great time! 

This post was brought to you by Jude Connally. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Ashley Nicole Style possible.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

My #NSALE Purchases

Hi, friends! I hope you're having a great weekend! If you follow me on Instagram, by now you've seen my favorite items from the Nordstrom sale and what I purchased. I wanted to be sure to compile everything on the blog, so that way it's all in one place, and easy to navigate.

I purchased some of these items, and others are on my wish list. I'm still back home with my family in Wisconsin, but when I get back to Houston this week, I will be sure to do a try on session for you. I'm really excited to see how some of these pieces fit, and to get my hands on my cozy Barefoot Dreams blanket, and light one of the Nest candles I ordered.

These are my top 40 things to shop from the Nordstrom sale. Click on any of the links above to be taken directly to the product, or hover over the collage below! If you've purchased any of them, I'd love to hear your feedback. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

A Look at Our Updated Living Room with High Fashion Home

I'm always looking for fun ways to spruce up our home. Whether that's completely doing out with the old and in with the new, or just switching up the color scheme, it's always fun to see a space totally transformed. Even subtle changes like decorative pillows or rugs can make a huge difference! 

Since we moved into our house three years ago, I've been on the hunt for the perfect piece of art to accent our living room. Our living room is very open and spacious, so I knew whatever I got had to be on the larger side so that it "fit" the room. I also wanted it to compliment our red brick accent wall, and bring in lots of color. 

I searched high and low for the right piece, and finally came across these three gorgeous framed canvases from High Fashion Home. High Fashion Home is one of the premier home and decor stores in Houston. Their multi-level store in Midtown is so inspiring, with such unique pieces. From furniture to chandeliers, art, and more, they have everything you can think of under one roof. Anytime I visit, I never leave empty handed! 

Prior to spotting these paintings on their website, I purchased these bold multi-color abstract face pillows from their store. They definitely are a statement maker! The canvases, titled 'Hypnotist I, II, III', work seamlessly with them, and look perfect in our living room. The three paintings look fantastic together, but would look equally good by themselves in a smaller space. All their art can be customized to make it uniquely yours! Plus, they're made in Los Angeles, and who doesn't love something made in the USA!

Whether you're in Houston, or across the country, High Fashion Home will exceed your interior decorating needs! If you're looking for something you won't find anywhere else, or the perfect hostess gift (vases, candles, etc.), be sure to check them out.  

This post was brought to you by High Fashion Home. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Ashley Nicole Style possible.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

It's Almost Here - the 2019 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Happy Thursday, friends! The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale officially starts tomorrow, Friday July 12th, at 12:30pm EST! The biggest trends I saw for fall in the catalog were chunky knits, basics, and animal print. Seriously, I was in heaven with all the python and leopard print pieces I saw.

 Each year, I cover the #nsale, but never end up ordering much besides the same things, year after year. I order essentials, like blankets, bras, candles, bath towels and jeans! I find that these items give you the most bang for you buck during the sale. Also, they're staple pieces/items that you'll use and wear year after year, versus trendy items. Be sure to check out the end of this post for my 'must have's.' 

Here's all you need to know about the biggest sale of the year:

What is it? 
The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is the best sale of the year. Unlike other sales, this sale includes all new arrivals, instead of discounts on last season's trends. You'll see top brands like Stuart WeitzmanTory BurchBurberryMovadoRag & BoneNikeDiptyqueBarefoot Dreams, and so many more, at discounts you won't find anywhere else. Added bonus, there's no promo code needed - all prices are as marked. 

Key Dates
The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale early access is July 12-18th. Early access is reserved for Nordstrom Card holders, only. Trust me, it is worth signing up for this credit card or retail/store card (that's what I have), as things sell out quick. You can still sign up here, to get early access. The sale will open to the public July 19th, and run through August 4th. On August 5th, all the prices will go up, so be sure to plan accordingly. 

Who's it for?
Everyone! There are tons of sale items for women, men, children, home and of course, beauty! Shop the Women's catalog here, so you can create your shopping list ahead of time. Tip: be sure to check out the catalog ASAP and add any items you're eyeing into your cart now. The sale can be shopped online, or in-store. I highly suggest shopping online, as not all stores will carry every item, and they may sell out more quickly. However, if you do choose to go that route, I suggest securing the item online ahead of time, before you head to the store, or getting in touch with your Nordstrom Stylist (if you have one).

Plan Ahead
As I just mentioned, the catalogs are available online, so definitely flip threw it now. The catalog is only a glimpse into all the deals this sale has to offer. Next, I suggest creating a strategy to help you figure out what you need, and making a budget. It's always tricky when things go on sale, and it is easy to click 'Purchase' and then having buyers remorse in the future. Sticking to your 'must have's' will help you avoid this. If you still get trigger happy, remember, Nordstrom offers free shipping and free returns, always!  They also offer online pickup, onsite alterations, and even personal stylists (free of charge) at your fingertips.

Have any other questions about the sale? Let me know! 

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Book Review - Volume Two

Hi there, friends! My second book review is finally here, and just in time for the holiday weekend! My first book review post had such a positive response, that I couldn't wait to do another. To be honest, it was actually my most read blog post...ever! 

This time I'm featuring five of my most recent reads, and including one I read back in 2015 (thanks Amazon for keeping track of my purchases). I'm sharing 'an oldie but goodie' because it's one of the best books I've ever read. Seriously, anyone I've recommended it to has fallen in love with it, as well. 

Like last time, I am going to share the synopsis of the book from the author, as well as my rating (1 through 5), and comments. I try not to reveal too much, in case you want to read it yourself! If you've read any of these books, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a T├Ątowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.

A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov's experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.

Rating: 5/5. An incredibly powerful love story and grim look at the evils of WW2. The book, which is based on a true story, read like a magical movie that you did not want to end. The way the author detailed all the harrowing events was incredibly poignant. Once I finished the book, I was left with such a powerful impression that I researched Lale's life, and did further research. 

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. 

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . . 

Rating: 1/5. I read this book in Cabo, and let's just say, had I not been sitting on the beach with nothing else to do, it would have gotten tossed out right away. I found the main character to be incredibly irritating, and didn't like the storyline at all. I feel like it gets 'rave' reviews because it's part of Reese Witherspoon's book club. Don't waste your time.

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations―a search for the truth that threatens to consume him....

Rating: 4/5. I truly enjoyed reading this book. It was a great page turner, and a true"whodunit" that will leave you on the edge of your seat. Each chapter left me guessing, and I definitely did not see the end coming. Lots of great twists and turns, plus a compelling + interesting story.

In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

With surprising twists, spine-tingling turns, and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another taut and intense read in The Woman in Cabin 10—one that will leave even the most sure-footed reader restlessly uneasy long after the last page is turned.

Rating: 3/5.  I found the main character to be unlikable, but relatable. It's a fast read with some unexpected twists, and the end was one I definitely did not see coming. Also, who doesn't like daydreaming about being a travel writer and sailing on an exclusive cruise ship? Overall, summary is a lot more intriguing than the book. 

Dr. Kate English has it all. Not only is she the heiress to a large fortune; she has a gorgeous husband and daughter, a high-flying career, and a beautiful home anyone would envy.

But all that changes the night Kate’s mother, Lily, is found dead, brutally murdered in her own home. Heartbroken and distraught, Kate reaches out to her estranged best friend, Blaire Barrington, who rushes to her side for the funeral, where the years of distance between them are forgotten in a moment.

That evening, Kate’s grief turns to horror when she receives an anonymous text: You think you’re sad now, just wait. By the time I’m finished with you, you’ll wish you had been buried today. More than ever, Kate needs her old friend’s help.

Once Blaire decides to take the investigation into her own hands, it becomes clear that all is not as it seems in Baltimore high society. As infidelity, lies, and betrayals come to light, and tensions rise to a boiling point, she begins to alienate Kate’s friends and relatives with her relentless, accusatory questions, as she tries to find Lily’s killer. The murderer could be anyone—friend, neighbor, loved one. But whoever it is, it’s clear that Kate is next on their list. . .

In The Last Time I Saw You, Liv Constantine takes the lightning pace of The Last Mrs. Parrish and raises the stakes, creating an exquisitely tension-filled and absorbing tale of psychological suspense in which innocent lives—and one woman’s sanity—hang in the balance.

Rating: 4/5. I thoroughly enjoy Liv Constantine's books. I loved The Last Mrs. Parrish and reviewed it in my previous post. This book definitely didn't disappoint. It has an incredibly intriguing plot, and I loved how the author strung the pieces together.

The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning what’s been missing in her life. And when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

Rating: 5/5! This is the book from 2015 that I mentioned. I cannot sing it's praises enough. It's been four years since I read it, and literally every chance I get I recommend it to someone. Not only was it interesting learning the meaning behind every flower (yes, it's a thing, and there's a glossary at the end of the book), but the story was fantastic. The main character was relatable, and you could not help empathize with her and all that she'd been through. It also took place in San Francisco, so you know I loved that.

In the future, I'm debating whether I should do a book review after each book, or continue doing one large review after I've finished several. Definitely let me know what you think!


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