Meet Ashley. Do you have those people in your life that are so deeply woven into your story, you couldn't imagine life without? I hope you do. Ashley is my cousin, sister, closest companion, and career icon. She and I love the same things, cry during the same films, and send each other the same articles. Life is more beautiful with Ashley. Enjoy! xx
I wish there was a way to describe what reading means to me. The simplest way to encapsulate what I think is that reading, and what you read, molds you. It's a strand of DNA in how you think, what you say, the things you believe. And it legitimately makes you smarter.
Like Erika, I have seasons of life where I read more, others where I read less. My life has been more broken than others this past year, so reading has been a sanctuary. I generally favor fiction, but have challenged myself to pick up more non fiction. I'm currently reading Hillbilly Elegy. Some of the books I can't wait to read this year: Sweet Bitter, Chasing Slow, Primates of Park Avenue, When Breath Becomes Air and Always Pack a Party Dress.
On how you spend your Saturday afternoons:
My Saturday afternoons are almost always prefaced by waking up between 7:00 - 7:45 that morning. I've never been someone that enjoys sleeping in, and Saturday mornings are just as precious to me as the afternoon. I like to clean and do laundry in the AM, and start the afternoon by filling vases with fresh flowers. Next on the list is grabbing a fresh juice from t. Loft or The Mixx before shopping or running errands. After the to-do list is complete, I love to relax on my couch to read or catch up on a show before whatever that evening holds.
On your go-to dinner party plan:
This is one area of life where I'm better suited to tell you what not to do. I am someone with lofty dreams that reality crushes the second I'm too far in to go back. This crash + burn routine almost always starts with trying a complex recipe for the first time, followed by a series of unfortunate events like leaving work later than I intended, forgetting an ingredient, and/or needing to vacuum one more time before guests arrive. It's a trainwreck. Which is why I keep things ridiculously simple.
Chips with salsa and guac is the easiest crowd pleaser. If you want to serve an actual meal, this roasted corn, poblano pepper + chicken quesadilla recipe is one of my favorites. It's incredibly easy to serve and assemble for a group, and perfect if you're rolling with chips and salsa. When it comes to drinks, sparkling water with some fresh limes is non-negotiable. I don't drink often or have an extensive liquor collection, but I usually have a bottle of Bulleit or Jack Daniels on hand (Jack and Coke is my go-to "cocktail"). For wintertime parties, Moscow mules are my favorite. The ingredient list is short and simple, and copper mugs make a great Instagram photo.
Other dinner party essentials include a great smelling candle, Frank Sinatra, a vase filled with fresh flowers (keep your floral selection to a single color for a more classic look), lots of comfy seating, and a great movie or documentary.
On your personal uniform:
I'm answering this twice because I have two personal uniforms for weekdays (courtesy of corporate America) and weekends.
During the week, my beloved 8-5 uniform is ankle-length skinny trousers, a flowy blouse, these heels (I own multiple pairs, and they're my top recommendation for business babes that want style and comfort), and one of my Regent blazers for days I need to feel like a total boss. Jewelry is my one constant between workday and weekend, and super minimal - I wear a thin gold band on my left middle finger, and some gold or silver stud earrings.
During the weekend, I'm likely in Madewell denim and a cotton tee, with a cozy sweater during cooler months. I've tried a handful of mid-price denim brands like PAIGE, Joe's Jeans, Kut from the Kloth, AG, Topshop, etc., and Madewell continues to be my tried-and-true. The price is competitive, the quality is sound, and the 9 or 10" high-rise skinny skinny is a dream. If I've convinced you to give Madewell a try, remember to buy a size down. You might feel like you'll never escape during the first wear, but you'll thank me after the second, third and forty-third.
As for tees, some of my favorites are from Saint James. The stripes and structure of their tees make me feel put together when I still want to be comfortable. Loft, Leith, BP, Lush, Athleta and Free People are some of my other favorite brands for casual feminine tops.
Weekend footwear varies like everything else with each season, but my recent go-tos are a pair of leather ankle boots or Chuck Taylor Shorelines, and Sorel or Hunter boots for snow and rain.
On what speaks to you:
This prompt is easily the most challenging! I keep coming back to writing. Walter Fisher's narrative paradigm was my favorite communication theory in college because it related best to something I love doing - telling stories. I think it's why I am so strongly drawn to journalism, aside from the romanticism of being a journalist. The process of diving into a subject, uncovering facts and perspectives, and organizing the story in a way that flows and holds a reader is thrilling. My personal and professional writing go through this process, including multiple rounds of editing and rewriting until I feel whatever story I'm sharing is being told as best it could. And while it's validating to know when others have enjoyed something I've written, it's not the reason I love it. I am undoubtedly lucky that a big part of my job is doing something I love (and that it also stretches my knowledge and technique), but I get as much as joy from the writing I do for free as the writing I'm paid to do. Writing and reading what others write have this insane ability to create community and foster intelligent conversations, and I'm thankful I enjoy both.
These are some of the places, people and things that speak to me: New York City, my closest family members, interior design, skiing (don't get your hopes up, I'm a novice), a 'quality over quantity' lifestyle, giving thoughtful gifts, sipping a latte while reading Sunday's NY Times, after-dinner drinks and live jazz, black and white photography, my parents' farm, graphic design, the first "big" snowfall each year, "It's a Wonderful Life," E.E. Cummings, and dinners with my family where we spend more time laughing than eating.