5 European Summer Style Trends


 I’ve always admired European style and wanted to emulate that effortless elegance. From Paris to Milan to London to Madrid, it’s like they were all born with an eye for fashion. Europeans always appear so put together without overdoing it or trying too hard.  Me? I have to work at it. I have to find what I like, copy it,  and maybe embellish with my own unique take where I can. So you better believe that when I was recently traveling in Spain, I was observed and noted the summer style trends to bring home and replicate. Check out my roundup of the 5 European Summer Style Trends we can all replicate at home – wherever that may be!

1) Monochrome

One chic European summer style trend that I saw everywhere was monochrome. I spotted this look on women walking into their office buildings, having a late night cocktail, and also just doing some casual shopping. This was typically executed with a monochromatic set like this one from ASOS. So many fabulous European ladies were rocking trouser pants like this option from Express paired with a matching extra long blazer or button up blouse. The colors ranged from elegant neutrals to bold jewel tones like this emerald green monochrome set.

Monochromatic Outfits

2) espadrilles

I’m sure your next question is, “well what shoes were they wearing with these outfits?” Loads and loads of espadrilles like these cuties. But like I mentioned before, I was in Spain, which is the birthplace of espadrilles (true fact!). So keep in mind that espadrilles will naturally be more prevalent there. They ranged from wedge espadrilles versions like this to simple flat espadrilles like this to more intricate lace up versions like this, which definitely seemed to be more of a European summer style trend. There were massive lines outside of the espadrille making shops where you could pick your height, color, heel, and strap and get a totally customized pair of espadrilles – the perfect souvenir and summer staple!

Summer Espadrilles

3) linen

Not unique to Europe, but certainly more prevalent, I’ve included Linen in my 5 European Summer Style Trends. I noticed many women wearing either linen slacks like these or linen shorts like these. But also cute linen sets like this one! These linen outfits really seemed to elevate any look, while also offering a LITTLE relief from the insane Spanish heat! The most common linen wardrobe staple were the classic white linen pants, which would look SO cute paired with these classic yet edgy espadrille heels.

Linen Summer Outfits

4) Neutral Sneakers and high tops

Another European summer style trend that I noticed and swooned over was the popularity of simple sneakers. They were paired with dresses, trousers, shorts, and everything in between! These were by far the most popular pair of little white sneakers worn with everything. Some pairs had cute embellishments like studs or foil and some were super simple. I also saw a ton of ladies wearing my favorite Converse high tops, which I had actually brought along so I felt like a local. Surprisingly, sandals really were not a big thing being worn in Europe, but I’m not sure I can give those up as much as I’d like to appear European chic 😉

White Summer Sneakers

5) satin dresses

The last of my 5 European Summer Style Trend roundup is satin dresses like this and satin maxi skirts like this. I loved the pairing of a sexy satin summer dress paired with cute little white sneakers. This is the epitome of that effortless fashion sense I was talking about before! The satin dresses that really caught my eye were bold colors like this one or subtle texture prints like this or bold florals like this one.

Satin Dresses

Whether you’re European fashion obsessed like me or you’re just looking for some Summery outfit inspiration, I hope you found some styles you’d like to recreate in your own wardrobe! If you enjoyed this roundup of 5 European Summer Style Trends and would like more summer outfit inspiration then check out this post on Amazon Summer Neutrals

Thanks for reading! 

Xx, Ashley

5 Ways to Style Amazon Spring Neutral Outfits


Are you ready to transition from heavy flannels and dreary colors to the easy breezy fabrics and hues of Spring? Me too! Typically, I’m one for fun florals and pastels, but this year I’m gravitating toward neutrals. I used to think that dressing in neutrals was boring and lacked creativity, but now that I’m playing around with them, I’m realizing how wrong I was! If you’re interested in how to style Spring neutrals, then check out these beautiful Amazon Spring neutral outfits I’m loving and my 5 ways to style Spring neutrals!

1. Texture Mixing:

Avoid your spring neutral outfits going “blah” by mixing up the textures to add a little more intrigue. This Amazon Spring neutral outfit is put together with a white eyelet crop top and a nude pleated midi skirt. Both textures are delicate and complement each other to maintain the softness of the colors. You could also do this with satins, linens, denims, and chiffons.  

2. Surprising Accessories:

Another way to jazz up your Spring neutrals is to add a surprising accessory! Here I have paired a delicately feminine Amazon Spring dress with some little white cowgirl boots – an unlikely pairing that elevates the look and makes it more interesting. Another shoe I love to pair with sweet dresses are this pair of high tops. You could also try a silk scarf in your hair or around your neck, statement earrings like these, or fun bag like these.

3. Same Pieces Multiple Ways:

It’s easy to fall into the habit of wearing one piece of clothing the same way every time your wear it, but break that habit to maximize your wardrobe! Below is an example of styling this Amazon Spring neutral crop top for a dressier occasion vs. a more casual occasion. I’ve also taken this neutral graphic t-shirt and styled with the same denim jacket and high tops, but different bottoms. Avoid the wardrobe rut at all costs!

4. Dresses with Details:

Spring neutral outfits can easily become boring so keep an eye out for pieces that have interesting details. Take this neutral maxi dress for example, at first look it’s just a tan maxi dress, but look closer and you’ll see the beautiful white details on all the hems – which also makes it look a lot more premium than something you found on Amazon. Another example is this ombre hi-low dress. The cut of the hem paired with the ombre neutral colors make the dress way more fun than hi-low that’s all one color or an ombre dress that’s just a midi length.

5. Black is Neutral:

Maybe this is common knowledge, but it took me a minute to realize that black is considered a neutral color – and hallelujah because it’s one of my favorite colors to style. Here are two creative ways to make black interesting: this fun Amazon Spring jumpsuit and this maxi skirt that I hiked up and styled as a dress. Yes I’m serious! See the picture above 😊

Amazon shorts romper
Maxi skirt worn as a dress

I hope this was helpful and gave you some inspiration for how to style your Spring neutrals! Even if bright colors and prints are your thing, it’s fun to change it up from time to time! If you loved this post of 5 ways to style Amazon Spring Neutrals then what is something else you’d like some tips on styling? Let me know!

xx, Ashley



Have a Christmas or New Year’s Eve party on the calendar, but nothing to wear? Here are six festive party outfit ideas all from Amazon so they can get to you quickly if you’re pinched for time! Each outfit is very affordable coming in at $50 or less! Bonus is that all of these festive party outfits are midsize gal friendly. Don’t hide those curves, flaunt them!

1. Hollywood glam christmas party dress

Festive party outfits for midsize ladies

This gorgeous red velvet wrap maxi dress is under $50, but looks way more lush. I’m wearing a size 14 here and am usually a size 12 so be sure to size up one size. This dress offers some warmth too so if it’s cold where you are during the holidays it will be perfect. I totally get Hollywood glam vibes and I love that. I’ve paired with some sparkly, dangly earrings, a sleek hair syle, red lip, and comfy but cute heels. This pair of heels with the bow detail would look so good with this dress and are under $40.  

2. edgy meets festive christmas party outfit

Edgy holiday outfit

You may already have everything needed to recreate this festive party outfit for midsize ladies. Pair your favorite faux leather skirt with a festive flannel and some fun jewelry for an edgier festive look. If you don’t already have these things on hand then I recommend this faux leather skirt and be sure to size up. If you don’t have a red flannel then this is a great option for $24. I’m obsessed with these faux crocodile black combat booths with buckles, unfortunately they are sold out. But this pair of shiny black combat boots are super affordable ($35)  and super similar to mine shown here! Also, don’t forget the red and green Gucci inspired headband for a little more festive flair. 

3. Baby spice festive party outfit

Bubble sleeve dress

This is one of my new favorite dresses because it is so versatile and so flattering. I love off-the-shoulder dresses to add a little bit of allure, but the a-line silhouette and bubble sleeves adds a fun and girly vibe. This cute dress is only $35 and comes in quite a few colors. The red or green would be super festive too! I’m wearing a size L. I’ve styled the black dress with a pair of maroon mary jane heels and festive headband!

4. New year's eve baddie

New year's eve outfit

This was a fave on my instagram @sweethomeashley! I won’t lie, when I put this outfit on to film my reel and take photos I was feelin myself. I strutted around the house with no where to go for a solid few hours lol. This festive holiday outfit is perfect for my fellow midsize gals as the long blazer makes us appear a little taller. This cape blazer is such a unique piece and shockingly only $44! Sequins are always festive and so on trend this year. These sequined leggings are so fun and only $30. Don’t worry, they aren’t as scratchy as they look! I styled this outfit with this lacy white tank top and love the mixing of textures. I promise you this outfit will immediately make you feel like the confident, baddie that you are!

5. Classic Emerald Christmas dress

Emerald green maxi dress

This emerald green wrap dress would look great on any body type. I love that it is a faux wrap sewn together to keep all your bits in place. The emerald color is so beautiful you’ll be sure to catch some eyes. This festive holiday dress would be perfect for a professional Christmas party or festive family gathering. It’s $33 and runs true to size. I’ve paired with a classic nude heel like this pair. 

6. chic & cozy sweater dress

For those chillier nights try this beautiful wine red sweater dress. I recommend sizing down one size. The fabric of this dress is so luxe that it’s hard to believe it’s only $45! This would be another great option for a professional holiday event, or a family Christmas dinner. I’ve also paired this with a classic nude heel. 

All of these festive holiday outfits for midsize gals are under $50 on Amazon. If you still need something to wear to an upcoming Christmas event then these will be perfect if you have Amazon Prime! Which one is your favorite?

Also! If you are still looking for the perfect Christmas gift for anyone on your list then check out my blog post which includes all of my gift guides!

XX, Ashley

Unique and Affordable Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List

Unique and affordable gift ideas for everyone

Gift giving is my number one love language. I always hate to share that because I think it makes me sound greedy, but I literally mean if you found a rock in the dirt that made you think of me and you give that to me – I would love it, mainly for the fact that you thought of me. And sure while I love to receive a good gift, I love even more to give a good gift, one that you are just so excited to see your loved one open up. I am notorious for spilling the beans on gifts I buy for my friends and family before we ever make it to the holidays. True story – I already told my husband what I got for him because I was just so proud and excited about what I’d found. Because I can’t keep a secret to save my life, it’s so hard for me to shop for Christmas gifts early and keep the secret to myself that much longer, but this year that’s a must! If gifts are more of a chore to you or you’re stumped about what to buy, don’t worry, I’ve compiled gift guides featuring unique and affordable gift ideas for everyone on your list. I hope this makes your 2021 shopping just a little easier and may the shipping gods be ever in your favor!

I polled my Instagram followers and asked them who is the most difficult person to shop for on their list. The top 3 responses were husbands/boyfriends, in-laws, and people they don’t know well but had to get a gift for. I’ve also pulled gift ideas for the traveler, techie, bookworm, fitness fanatic, homebody, best friend, sister, and decorators in your life, but I plan to add more gift guides below over the coming weeks so be sure to check back for more and happy shopping!

Gift ideas for husbands & boyfriends

Why are the guys so hard to shop for?! This was the number one requested gift guide and I totally commiserate. I tried to pull something for all types of guys from golfers, to whiskey lovers, to couch potatoes, to athletes. My husband and my bestie’s husband approved of this list so hopefully your man will too!

gift ideas for the traveler

If you follow me on Instagram you know I travel A LOT! The below are tried and true and must haves for any traveler. I’ve included unique and affordable gift ideas for the traveler below, but also an AirBnb gift card or a plane ticket would be perfect for travel lovers too!

gift ideas for in-laws & parents

In-laws and parents can be tough because they already have everything and they have way more money than us millennials – lol. I like to go for the heart strings on Christmas, so I’ve pulled a few sentimental picks. And I also like to try to spend a little more on them since they do so much for us! I’ve personally gifted the massager and the bucket list book to my mom and stepdad and they loved them both! Who wouldn’t love a set of luxurious sheets?! *adds*to*her*own*wishlist* 

Gift Ideas for girlfriends & sisters

This one gets me because my best friends are very preppy and I’m a bit of a free spirit so when I see trendy things I’m not sure how they will fly with my friends. Celestial pieces and the female form pieces are SO in right now and I love them! I’ve also included some classic items like the neutral crewneck, the funny candle, and the beautiful embroidered bag. A Little Words Project bracelet is always a special gift too! The lightning bolt BFF bracelets are something I swoon over, but they are the priciest item on this list. Definitely a keepsake item. If not for Christmas maybe a special birthday, wedding gift, or bridal shower gift?

gift ideas for someone you hardly know

These unique and affordable gift ideas stemmed from an Instagram request of gift ideas for “my brothers new gf I hardly know”, but I think it could also work for co-workers, your hair stylist or nail tech, a neighbor, your child’s teacher – that sort of contact in your life. The Himalayan salt alarm clock and sloth planter really depend on your audience, but I thought they were really cool find. The stove top fragrance kit is so unique – I think moms and friends would love that idea too!

gift ideas for techies & Gadget lovers

This gift guide is for the person who loves cool gadgets and technology. I think the apple air tags will be a huge hit this year. The USB rechargeable lighter is so cool to me and very ecofriendly as well. The retro phone holder actually has a speaker too and just is a fun little gadget someone may enjoy!

Gift ideas for bookworms

I created the booklover’s unique and affordable gift ideas guide somewhat out of selfishness haha. I’m a massive booklover and love any chance I get to cozy up with a good read. I never ever thought I’d be the type to buy an e-reader, but I did, and I hate to say I love it. I don’t read EVERYTHING on my Kindle Paperwhite, but I do read a lot on there and it hooks me because when I finish a book it provides suggestions for what I might like next and then it hooks me again! It’s a cool thing to have, but it will never replace the feel of actual books so I’ve included the cute page holder and the beautiful pressed flower bookmarks. When I think of reading, I think of being snuggled up and warm so I added some nice teas, a candle, a cute crewneck, and the famous Carhartt hat.

gift ideas for fitness fanatics

 For the gym rat in your life this gift guide is for them. I love this sweatshirt so much and the Etsy seller that makes it has a ton of other cute options and colors! The Dry Bar wet brush as well as the freshening up kit would be perfect for finishing up a workout and keeping in a gym bag, which is another great gift idea if they don’t have one!

gift ideas for homebodies

The homebody gift guide follows the same train of thought as the booklover’s gift guide – it’s all things cozy. A satin sleep set with pillowcase, scrunchie, and eye mask would be such a treat! The book shelf games are just so pretty, even if you didn’t actually play the game they would look so nice! And the heated slippers and/or heated plushie would be super cozy for the winter months ahead. 

gift ideas for home decor lovers

The unique and affordable home decor finds really make a statement. I personally have the jewelry stand and it’s an Instagram favorite that I get asked about a lot! I love these cocktail glasses giving me all of the Gatsby vibes. The lap desk is great for those of us still working from home. And I am obsessed with the Roman head vases (she says as she adds to cart). 

As mentioned up above I’ll be adding to this list of unique and affordable gift ideas for everyone on your list all season! If there is someone on your list that is particularly difficult to shop for just let me know in the comment below and I’ll pull some ideas for them! Wishing you the most wonderful holiday season!!! 

Also, if you’re looking for a homemade option check out my post on how to make quick and easy homemade ornaments!

Xx, Ashley

72 hours in Belgium – what to do and where to go

I can’t even explain how good it feels to finally be adding a post to the travel section of my blog! I started this blog one year ago with every intention of including regular travel articles – and then, well, we all know what happened. But YAY for a travel comeback!

Belgium has been at the top of me and my husband’s bucket list for some time now and we finally got to check it off with a quick 72 hours in Belgium! Why such a short trip abroad you ask? Well, that is because my husband works for an airline and we can fly standby with his flight perks, making it easy for us to do long weekends here and there and everywhere. We try to minimize the amount of vacation days we take at a time so that we can see more places – so that’s why it was only 72 hours in Belgium.

Naturally we figured that the capital of Belgium was a must-see, so Brussels was first on the itinerary. Next, literally all my Pinterest inspiration for Belgium featured Bruges, so that had to be added. And lastly, without rhyme or reason, we added Ghent and I am SO glad that we did.

Here is how we spent 72 hours in Belgium! I’ll start with some general information about Belgium and then go into more detail for each city that we visited.

What to Eat in Belgium

  1. Speculoos Macchiato
    Speculoos Macchiato

    I’m not sure why we didn’t know this ahead of time seeing as how Belgium is so close to the sea, but Belgium is a big seafood country! Try the mussels in Brussels, they’re pretty much everywhere, but beware of tourist traps – you’ll know them when you see them.

  2. WAFFLES – duh. You can take your pick between the Brussels waffle or the Leige waffle, my personal favorite, and you can add all sorts of toppings or just eat it plain. They are delicious no matter which way you eat them! Stop in the Maison Dandoy for a Speculoos Macchiato and a waffle.
  3. The Belgian chocolate is so decadent and a must try.
  4. Belgian beer! Think Stella Artois.
  5. Frites cones. Literally a paper cone full of French fries and your favorite toppings, what could even be better?

How to get Around Belgium

It’s very easy to walk everywhere you need to go! If you want to be a true Belgian, you could rent a bike or scooter and there are also taxis, but not many.

Taking the train is super easy and convenient as there are quite a few hotels close to Brussels Central. Of course, the airport is in Brussels and you can take the train directly from the airport to whichever city you are staying in. If Brussels is your base, you can simply take the train to most of the other main cities for the day! Ghent is only a 30 minute train ride from Brussels and Bruges is just an hour train ride from Brussels.



Where to Stay: The Dominican Brussels is only a 5 minute walk away from the train station. We stayed here for 2 out of our 3 nights in Belgium.

We were able to stay here using points since we are Marriott Bonvoy Members. The hotel was a whimsical modern, almost gothic vibe, but very cool. You had no idea you were at a Marriott property as it seemed much more boutique. The hotel breakfast was delicious, ours was not included, but it was very convenient for the day we had to leave and also affordable. We also really enjoyed the hotel bar for a night cap (open until midnight) and the waterfall showers were dreamy.

What to Do: To be quite honest with you, for a country capital, there was not a lot to do in Brussels. We were somewhat disappointed, but it wasn’t a total bust. We typically never plan out our activities or make an itinerary, we wake up when we want and walk all over the city only stopping when something really strikes our fancy. Here are the few stops I recommend in Brussels!

  1. Stroll down Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert for some shopping, a coffee break, and beautiful photos. Stop in the Maison Dandoy for a Speculoos Macchiato and marvel at the classically beautiful and perfectly instagrammable décor.
  2. Brussels Grand Place
    Brussels- Grand Place
    You cannot leave Brussels without visiting the Grand Place, Brussels magnificent city square surrounded by gothic architecture and gilded facades. I recommend checking it out during the day to see the gold sparkle, but also returning in the evening to see it glitter when it’s all lit up.
  3. Something I wanted to do, but ran out of time was to visit the Royal Palace of Brussels, which is open to the public to tour July 21st thru August. It looks spectacular and who wouldn’t want to tour a palace?!
  4. Lastly, and something we only came across because it was right next to our hotel, was Bath & Barley. Just like the name sounds, it is literally a beer spa. I never knew such a thing existed and now it’s something that I think EVERYONE should get to experience. We did the 2 people in 2 tubs for EUR 139 and added on a flight. The flights are paired with delicious Belgian chocolate making the experience that much more decadent. You get your own private room with robes, showers, your own tap, a bed of hay (like what?) and fresh fruit. It was incredibly romantic but could also be fun with a bunch of girlfriends in swimsuits if you’d prefer! I just can’t even explain how cool this was especially after a very long day of touring and walking all over the city. We booked our reservation for 8pm, the session lasted ~1.5 hours and then we headed across the street for an Italian dinner. So memorable and so glad we found this! Keep in mind it is only open Thurs-Sun when making your plans.

How much time should you spend there: One day.


BrugesWhere to Stay: We did not spend a night in Bruges, but if we had I would have stayed at the Hotel De Orangerie.  I had walked by it as the location is right in the city center and it immediately caught my eye. I love hotels with a historic, boutique vibe and this is exactly that. Plus they host an afternoon tea, which is one of my favorite things ever. You can sit on the terrace with beautiful views of the canal, sounds like a dream. Even if you are not staying there, you can still book the afternoon tea served every day from 2-5pm.

What to Do: Bruges is the type of city that requires no itinerary. Just walking around the sidewalks and observing its beauty is a priceless experience in and of itself. When you read fairytales and envision where the princess lives, you envision Bruges. But if you prefer to have some inspiration here are a few ideas:

  1. Visit the Basilica of the Holy Blood, a Roman Catholic minor basilica in Bruges. The church houses a venerated relic of the Holy Blood allegedly brought from the Holy Land. You can see this when you visit along with a beautiful altar and stained-glass windows. It is in an unexpected location making it that much more mysterious and beautiful.
  2. Belgian Waffle
    Belgian Waffle
    Visit Le Comptoir de Mathilde to get a true Belgian chocolate experience. This place has nothing on Willy Wonka. It is a great place to pick up souvenirs and gifts to bring back home.
  3. Stroll around the Vismarkt, which is technically a fish market, but don’t let that deter you. There are also local artisans selling beautiful paintings, drawings, and wood carvings.
  4. Yes, it’s touristy, but take a boat ride down one of the canals. How could you not?
  5. Stop by The Markt, the center of Bruges and hopefully if you’re lucky you’ll hear the beautiful bells from the Belfy, a medieval bell tower in the city center. If you’re feeling athletic, you can climb the 366 stairs to the top for amazing views.
  6. I did not know about this place before I was there, but wish I had! A friend of mine had been highly recommended Le Trappiste Brugge describing it as one of the coolest bars they’ve been to! It is underground and felt very medieval. I hope you can check it out for me!

How much time should you spend there: Forever, but if that’s not possible then 2-3 days.


GhentWhere to Stay: We stayed at the Ghent Marriott Hotel (again so that we could use points and save our dollar bills ya’ll). At first sight I was SO disappointed. The inside is the epitome of a sterile, business-like hotel. Nothing like my antique/boutique dreams. However, once we dropped off our bags the concierge instructed us to walk out “the back door” to get to the main attractions and OMG once I walked out that door my jaw dropped. The location was phenomenal as you literally walk out into the city center and right onto the canal’s edge. The location alone is worth it – trust me.

GhentWhat to Do: Ghent is very similar to Bruges in that it’s historical and filled with canals, it’s even called little Venice at times, but it is much more touristy than Bruges. Of course there are negatives and positives that come with that and it all depends on what you prefer.

  1. A travel tradition of ours whenever we go to Europe is to get a perfume that is made in the country we are visiting. It just so happened that Belgium’s first perfume house and top perfumier is in Ghent. Miglot fragrance lab was beautiful. You can watch the chemist make the perfumes on site and the staff was so friendly in helping us each choose a special scent. I’m thrilled we stumbled upon this place.
  2. Enjoying a Belgian beer (or two or three) while people watching or boat watching along the canal is a must. We were also shocked by how many bachelor and bachelorette parties were happening in Ghent, like SO many!
  3. Bavo’s Cathedral is spectacular and if there are any art history lovers reading this then you absolutely must see the Ghent Altarpiece. The altarpiece is considered a masterpiece of European art and one of the world’s treasures.
  4. The Gravensteen Castle was unexpectedly closed when we were there, but I so badly wanted to tour it! It was built in 1180 and had been a home for royals, a courthouse, and even a prison. It contains a torture museum, which is supposedly pretty cool.
  5. Something I love to do when traveling is to visit the open-air markets. It makes me feel like a local and there are always hidden treasures. Ghent has quite a few markets to explore.

How much time should you spend there:  2-3 days

And that is how we spent 72 hours in Belgium! Have you been or are you planning to go? Would love to hear your experiences in the comments. I hope you found this helpful. Be sure to check back for more travel inspiration as the world begins to reopen.

Xx, Ashley

5 Tips to Pack in just a Carry On

Many moons ago I was the girl that packed as much as she possibly could into the biggest piece of luggage I could find and prayed it was within the weight limitations once I got to the airport. Oh the STRESS of it all, not to mention the pulled back muscles from trying to lift the thing. I finally saw the light and now I only travel with a carry-on. Sure, sometimes you have to get creative, but it is so worth it! You no longer have to worry about weight limits, if your bag will actually get to your destination, or if you can physically lug it wherever you need to go – it is so freaking freeing! So here are my 5 tips to pack in just a carry-on based on what I’ve tried and learned over the years.


1. Best carry-on luggage.

HANDS DOWN NO QUESTIONS ASKED is the Away Bigger Carry-On bag. And bonus it is a smart bag so you always have a little extra battery power for your phone, etc. This bag fits EVERYTHING. When you think it won’t close, just sit on it and zip – trust me. It has a zipper of champions! It easily fits in the overhead bins, has 4 wheels that glide like a dream, and a built-in lock to keep your stuff safe. It is definitely an investment piece, but if you travel a lot then it is well worth the price. I use this and then a large tote bag that fits over the Away bag’s handle so that it doesn’t slide all around. This is seriously all you need!

Travel Hack: You are allowed to carry on with both pieces and a purse!

How to pack in only a carryon

2. Packing Cubes or Nah?

I love the organization that packing cubes brings to your luggage, especially on longer trips where you can simply remove the packing cube and put it into a dresser drawer. These are the kind I use and they come in a bunch of fun colors. However, I personally have found that sometimes you can’t fit as many things and there’s weird extra space around the cubes that is difficult to utilize. I have found that a mix of some cubes and some free space is the perfect balance when packing in only a carry-on bag.

Travel Hack: Bring an empty cube to put your dirty laundry in!

3. Fold or Roll?

Definitely roll. You can fit so much more when you are packing in just a carry-on bag if you roll all of your clothes. I do not understand the physics of this lol, but it is very true. It’s also easier to fit rolled up clothes around the bars of the luggage handles that are on one side of the suitcase. The only downside of rolling is that your clothes can get more wrinkled, but I have found literally the best wrinkle release solution if the place you’re going does not have an iron. Pro tip: buy the bigger size, not the travel size and then just pour a little bit into a travel size spray bottle.

Travel Hack: Put your undies in a small packing cube or bag, no need to roll those and it keeps them all organized.

Roll your clothes when packing

4. Choose a base color

This is the simplest tip that you will see across the board on all travel blogs. Pick one base color for your travel wardrobe so that you can easily mix and match different outfits. Personally, I love black and white so on my most recent trip I mixed and matched black, white, and denim and had two scarves that added a little color. This is also helpful if the weather is going to change a lot so that you can easily layer your outfits.

Travel Hack: Just because you wore it once doesn’t mean you can’t wear it again, use some Febreze if needed! This size is perfect.  

Crease Release

5. What about toiletries, hair dryers, straighteners, etc.

Regarding toiletries, I always bring a travel size of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion. I never feel like the hotel’s is super high quality and I have very sensitive skin – but it’s good in a pinch if you run out of space. As for hair dryers – I never pack a hair dryer because the hotel always has one, but I also don’t mind showering at night and letting my hair air dry. It saves SO much room in your carry-on because even the “travel hair dryers” are decently big. I do always bring my curling iron OR straightener, never both. They’re easy to tuck into the side of my suitcase. Make sure you bring a heat protection case so that you don’t burn your clothes or luggage. Also be sure to bring a converter if you are traveling abroad or it will be pointless to pack this! This one has 8,000 5-star reviews.

Travel Hack: Dry shampoo is your best friend when traveling and of course they do have travel size!

This one is my favorite.

Let me know if you give any of these a try or if you have your own tips for how to pack in only a carry-on!

You might also like this post on wardrobe basics that would be perfect to pack in your carry-on bag

Safe travels,



A Review: Amazon, Target, and Walmart Wardrobe Basics

Review: Wardrobe basics at Amazon, Target, Walmart

I love name brands as much as the next gal, but I love affordable fashion finds even more! There’s something super exciting about feeling as though you’ve scored an awesome deal and it’s so fun to share those finds with all of your friends! I’ve always been the type of shopper that buys a lot of items at a lower price point than buying one or two high price point items. Sure, sometimes you get what you pay for, but I really feel that stores like Target, Amazon, and Walmart are seriously leveling the playing field when it comes to value, quality, and style. To put this to the test, I decided to review wardrobe basics at Amazon, Target, and Walmart and what is more essential than jeans, white t-shirts, and flip flops? Keep reading to find out which brand really shined when it came to fit, feel, style, and price on affordable wardrobe basics.

I’m going to go in alphabetical order to avoid any spoilers… but if you just can’t wait then skip to the end! 😊

Amazon Wardrobe Basics

Amazon Wardrobe Essentials

Jeans: 0/5 Stars, Love the wash, but the fabric is quite stretchy and loses shape.

It was a little bit difficult to find cute enough looking skinny jeans that were the Amazon Essentials brand, but I finally did! Fair warning, the sizes go in and out of stock quite quickly so don’t get discouraged if you have your sights set on these. Truth be told these jeans are going straight back because they just didn’t fit my body quite right. I purchased a size 12 and probably could have tried either a 12S or a 10. They are quite stretchy and this led to weird bunchiness on my calves (and I have huge calves). They felt and looked cheap and so I do not recommend these at all.

T-Shirt: 3/5 Stars A forgiving fit, good for lounging.

I am of the opinion that you can never have too many plain white or black t-shirts. Even when they all look similar, they aren’t all the same. I love when things come in packs of two! Sure, I know I’m paying for both, but I feel like I’m not! I bought the Amazon Essentials t-shirts (which came in a pack of one black and one white) in a size large without realizing how stretchy they were. I could have gone with a medium, but the oversized fit is super cute tied in a knot to add a little shape. They would also make great lounging shirts. I gave them 3/5 star rating because they are not outstanding, but for the price, quality, and feel I thought they were worth keeping.

Sandals: 5/5 Stars, SO cute and SO comfortable, buy these right now!

There are not enough words to describe my love for these sandals!!! They are so stinkin cute, so comfortable, and so affordable (~$30). I will be wearing these all summer long. I went with the white pair, but without a doubt will be buying at least one more pair. I am just now deciding between the brown and the black or maybe both! These would be great for walking around the beach, a festival, a walk around the neighborhood, or even dressed up. They’re a must-have wardrobe essential.

Target Wardrobe Basics

Jeans: 5/5 the perfect fit, feel, price – I bought two pairs!

I’ve always been quite pleased by Target’s Universal Thread denim line and this pair was no exception. This particular pair is the curvy midrise style, which has a little extra room in the thigh and booty area and so they really complement my figure. I loved this distressed pair so much that I got the same style in a regular, non-distressed wash. They were only $25, which blows my mind. They feel like they will last for multiple seasons, were extremely affordable, and are quite stylish.

T-Shirt: 5/5 great fit, not too stretchy, quality fabric

I have two words for you: eight dollars. EIGHT DOLLARS for this adorable, simple white t-shirt. I love the fit and feel of the fabric. It’s not too stretchy, but not too structured so you could easily dress it up or down. The only negative about this t-shirt is that it shrunk ever so slightly in the dryer, so I’d recommend letting it air dry. If you like to have multiple, great quality white t-shirts on hand then I’d highly recommend stocking up on this piece.

Sandals: 2/5 very cute style, but not great for wide feet, very odd fit

I love the style of these sandals. I so badly wish I could love them, but they are a terrible fit. I have to pull the crisscross straps to slide down the wide part of my foot, but even then they still slide around and aren’t quite secure. They are seriously so cute though and I can tell they are great quality as well. They look much more premium than just $20! I do recommend these summer sandals, but only if you do not have wide feet.

Walmart Basics

Walmart Wardrobe Basics

Jeans: 5/5 absolutely love the fit, wash, distressing, fabric, and price!

This is the first time that I have ever tried the Sofia Jeans by Sofia Vergara at Walmart and I am completely in love. The fit, the wash, the feel, the style, the price – there is nothing not to love about these jeans. They are literally my new favorite pair. I think they would be particularly flattering on anyone with a little extra hip or booty, much like the Queen Sofia Vergara herself. I ordered this pair of jeans on Walmart.com and they arrived in two days – so quite comparable to Amazon Prime!

T-Shirt: 1/5 fabric is a bit see-through, more of what you’d expect from an under shirt

Like I said before, love a good two-pack, but these plain white t-shirts were disappointing. This was one of those moments when you do, in fact, get what you pay for. They were 2 for $10, but are a lot less like a basic white t-shirt and more like a men’s undershirt. I’m giving them 1 star because they aren’t bad enough to return, especially for the cost vs. hassle, but I wouldn’t recommend and I won’t be buying again.

Sandals: 4/5 super cute, very comfortable, don’t stay on very well

I love the look of these sandals! I love that you can get a super trendy summer sandal for only $14. These WOULD have been my top sandal choice, but I wore them to walk up the hill to a neighborhood restaurant and they were a bit hard to keep on my foot. I think they’d be perfect to wear out for a date or a picnic, anything that doesn’t involve a lot of walking. They’re seriously so cute and affordable, but just not the most practical.

the final results

So if you skipped ahead, want the Reader’s Digest Version, or just a brief summary – here is my review of wardrobe basics at Amazon, Target, and Walmart:

The best skinny jeans: The Sofia Jeans by Sofia Vergara at Walmart were such a pleasant surprise. I cannot believe that these jeans are only $24. They are so stylish, the fabric feels so nice, and I really think they will hold up. I ordered these online and they only took two days to arrive – so quite comparable to Amazon Prime! An added bonus is that as a girl with curves, jeans shopping can be quite brutal, but these felt like they were made for me. They make me feel sexy and I love them. I highly recommend.

I’ll also say that the Target pair were an extremely close second and I gave them 5/5 stars, but I just preferred the Walmart pair as far as fit and style. The Amazon Essentials jeans are going to be returned – enough said.

T-Shirt: The plain white t-shirt from Target was hands down the top choice. Each brand was comparable in price, but Target by far had the better quality and shape. The Amazon and Walmart white t-shirts were a bit more like undershirts rather than an everyday shirt to wear.

Neither of the plain white t-shirts that I got from Amazon or Walmart were very impressive.  Or at least the particular ones that I selected were not meant to be a casual t-shirt, but rather more of an undershirt.

Sandals: No question, the Amazon Essentials sandals were my top choice hitting high marks for quality, comfort, price, and style. I can’t say enough about these sandals – I am smitten. I’ll definitely be purchasing in other colors! They were slightly more expensive than the Target and Walmart sandals but only by about $10-$15.

I really loved both the style, quality, and price of the Target and Walmart sandals, but they were not very comfortable or practical. They’d be great for a date or anywhere that you don’t need to do a lot of walking, but definitely not strolling down the beach or up to the pool.

I believe that when a brand puts effort into the basics then you know that you can trust everything else that you get from them. The only big miss out of everything that I tried were the Amazon Essentials jeans, but overall I was quite impressed by these three big retailers. The sandals were by far the most impressive pieces from style to price at all three retailers, I’d honestly recommend all of them. And I absolutely can’t wait to try more of the Sofia Vergara collection from Walmart.

I hope you enjoyed this review because I really enjoyed pulling it together for you! Is there anything you’ve been wanting to try, but not sure if you should complete the purchase? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to be your resource.

Xx, Ashley

Reviewing wardrobe basics at Amazon, Target, Walmart

Skincare: Eight over-the-counter products my dermatologist bestie recommends

Differin cleanser

Eight over-the-counter skincare products my dermatologist recommends

They say taking care of your skin is an investment, but that doesn’t mean it has to break the bank. You can easily find quality skincare products at affordable prices right over-the-counter at your local drugstore or online. Though I don’t have the medical degree to back it up, my board certified bestie does, so take her word for it.

I try not to abuse my bestie for free medical advice as a general rule, but the older we get the more skincare is top of mind and something I would chat with her about anyway, regardless of that derm degree. Recently I pumped her for information on her “go-to” over-the-counter skincare recommendations and I wanted to share that knowledge with you! One of these products was brand new to me so I started using it about a month ago to put my money where my mouth is – all I can say is, I’m hooked.  If your skin is a priority along with your budget then this is the blog post for you! Check out these eight over-the-counter skincare products my dermatologist bestie recommends.



1)I’m kicking off this post with the most expensive/difficult to find item on the list, better to get the bad news out of the way first 🙂 That being said, I only use this in the morning and one little bottle lasts about two months or more, so the cost is not so bad if you think about it that way. I actually use this product mainly for acne issues, but it’s a double bonus that it works as an anti-aging treatment as well. The glycolic acid essentially works to break down the outer layer of your skin to create a smoother surface. Key benefits of this go-to over-the-counter skincare product: reduces fine lines and wrinkles, shrinks pores, fights acne before it starts, removes dead skin cells, and evens skin tone. 

Facial acne treatment

2) If you told me ten years ago that I’d still be dealing with acne in my 30s I’d never have believed you, and yet here we are, still popping pimples and paying a mortgage. Not so long ago you needed a scrip to get this acne treatment, but not anymore, and this is WONDERFUL news! It also used to be about 5 times as expensive – praise be! This over-the-counter skincare product that my dermatologist bestie recommends helps reduce the number and severity of pimples and can also help heal any break outs  that occur. I’ve been using it for years and am never without it – so take her board certification and my layman advice and add this to your acne arsenal.

Facial Moisturizer

3) I mentioned above that there was one over-the-counter skincare product my dermatologist bestie recommends that I had never tried, and now I’m hooked. Well that is this incredible moisturizing gel cream. I apply this every night after I wash my face and it is so cool and soothing on my skin, plus it smells amazing. I have to make sure my dog doesn’t lick off all of it’s super powers when I go to bed! Also as someone with extremely sensitive skin to literally everything – I can confirm this did not cause any breakouts or irritation. I literally buy one of these every time I’m at the store because I wouldn’t be able to cope if I ran out without having a backup 😉

Dove body wash and cerave cream product shot

General moisturizer

Be honest, do you use a daily moisturizer? I did not until a few years ago and then I’d hit periods of time where my skin got so dry and itchy that I couldn’t even sleep because of the discomfort. If you do not have a daily moisturizer already then consider adding one of these to your daily skincare regimen:

4) My bestie has two recommendations when it comes to over-the-counter moisturizers. The first is this Cerave lotion, a brand all dermatologists seem to love, so you know it’s good. She stresses that you need to get the cream, not the lotion, so double check when you go to buy it. This is the one that I personally use as opposed to the second, which I’m sure is just as great if she recommends it. 

5) The second over-the-counter moisturizer that my dermatologist bestie recommends is an Aveeno product that is especially helpful if you have particularly dry, itchy skin. 

Cerave product shot

Facial Cleanser

I recently did a poll on my Instagram stories asking if people washed their face every night before they go to bed and I was SHOCKED by the amount of people that do not. I am not trying to shame anyone, we all have different routines, but it truly gives me the heebie jeebies to think of all that build up going from your skin to your pillow every night – talk about a nightmare. Many experts recommend washing your face twice a day! So without further ado, here is the daily facial cleanser that my dermatologist bestie recommends:

6) I’ve used this cleanser at her recommendation for years and I swear by it. I wash my face in the morning, at night, and after any workouts. I’m aware that may be overkill, but it is recommended to wash your face twice a day. If you are acne prone like me then definitely pair this with the acne treatment above for a one-two punch on those breakouts. 

over-the-counter skincare products


7) If there is anything my dermatologist bestie wants me to tell you it is to USE SUNSCREEN! I’m certain if she could walk around and hand out free samples of sunscreen all day to everyone she sees, she totally would. Homegirl LOVES sunscreen and understandably so, telling people they have skin cancer is a really difficult part of her job. So if there is anything that you take away from this blog – make sure you apply sunscreen. If not every day, then at least when you plan to be out in the sun doing yardwork, swimming, laying on the beach, boating, golfing, running, walking the dog – anywhere, anytime, do it. These are the three over-the-counter suncreens my dermatologist bestie recommends: Elta MD, La Roche, Melt in Milk

Everything Else

8) For everything else, there is a magical elixir… just kidding it’s an ointment that soothes everything from burns, to chapped lips, to dry/irritated skin, and minor cuts. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve burned myself and when I ask my bestie what I should do this is always her answer – so now I just keep it on hand for any and everything! I also love the chapstick version too!

Final Thoughts

I would never write an entire post recommending things that I have never tried myself and I want you to know I’ve tried and truly use all of these (apart from the Aveeno lotion and the Elta MD/Melt in Milk sunscreens).  With that, my dermatologist bestie uses many of these herself as well, which is why she is confident to recommend them to patients and also to you! HOWEVER, none of the above is medical advice nor replaces any medical advice that you have received from your physician. Let me know if you end up trying any of the eight over-the-counter skincare products my dermatologist bestie recommends or if you find any at better prices, I’d love to share those links as well! Cheers to beautiful, healthy skin!

xx, Ashley

5 Ways to Prepare for a Kitchen Renovation

5 ways to prepare for a kitchen renovation
Please note that this page contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I truly appreciate your support in this way!

What do Doordash, Swiffer, and Icy Hot have in common?  A kitchen remodel! That’s right, we’ve finally broken ground on our kitchen remodel and good gravy I have so much to share about this process. When Andrew and I bought this home in June of 2020 we bought it knowing that we’d almost immediately be gutting the kitchen and our master bedroom and bathroom. Let me just tell you, the quotes that came in for these projects were well beyond what we anticipated. In true “adulting” fashion we had to make the tough decision of prioritizing which project we wanted and needed more. That was very glaringly the kitchen. I will just have to deal with my shower that is the size of a phone box and the giant jacuzzi tub (that doesn’t work) taking up more than half of the bathroom space for a little while longer.

Our house is 100 years old and our kitchen had clearly been renovated at some point in its history, but that was at least 40+ years ago. We know this because we discovered that the company who had built the cabinets went out of business before Andrew and I were even born! The sink faucet wouldn’t move, there was not a garbage disposal, the dishwasher leaked and hardly cleaned anything, the freezer in the refrigerator did not work, the cabinets were so narrow they’d barely shut with our plates inside, part of the floor was water damaged and rotting, there was an original radiator taking up about 25% of our cabinet space, and there was no pantry – among other things. So clearly, the kitchen won.

We had multiple companies in the area come out to quote our project and offer up their designs. We had hoped that the kitchen designers that came to see the space would offer up creative ideas for how we could tweak the layout and maximize space. Apparently, most of them were just there to try to sell us their “top of the line cabinets”. We didn’t get much creativity or ideas, but we did get some ridiculously expensive quotes. After some consideration we decided to take on the project ourselves, which will ultimately saves us about $30-40k! If you are willing and able and trying to save money, this is certainly the way to go!

We are only one week into the actual renovation itself, but I’ve already learned so much about how we could’ve prepared better and kept our house a bit cleaner in the process. So PLEASE, learn from our mistakes! 

Here are my 5 Ways to Prepare for a Kitchen Renovation:


Timeline for kitchen renovationTo best prepare for our kitchen renovation, Andrew and I mapped out a timeline before we because I was adamant about not letting this project linger for longer than necessary. Unfortunately, the permit situation has thrown a wrench in our plan, but that will happen with any project and we were mentally prepared for that! So along with your best laid plan, plan for disruptions and set your expectations accordingly! Don’t worry if issues creep up, that is pretty much expected with any big home improvement project.

Also, be sure to plan how you will eat, cook, and clean dishes. After all, you won’t have a kitchen for 6-8 weeks best case. Luckily, we have a spare refrigerator in our basement so we were able to keep things for sandwiches, snacks, and cold drinks in there. We are using our utility sink to rinse out cups as need and we also set up a little card table for our makeshift kitchen. I stocked it with plastic silverware, paper plates, paper towels, a can opener, bottle opener, wine opener (the important things hehe), the coffee maker, and a few of our coffee mugs. I also used a plastic bin to hold various non-perishables to snack on. But ultimately we are living on DoorDash and any friends or family who take pity on us! Invest in the DashPass if you plan to order a lot. It pays for itself!


Kitchen RenovationSomething we didn’t fully vet when preparing for our kitchen renovation was permits. Depending upon where you live you may need permits before you can begin work on a home renovation. Andrew had researched this before we started, and thought we had everything we needed until an inspector from The City of Cincinnati slapped a violation notice on our front door. Turns out we needed something called an “adjustment permit”, which basically means we are changing walls in our home. To be honest, this fired us up, why do we need permission to change a NON load bearing wall in our own home?! But se la vie. We also needed to get an HVAC permit since we were removing an old radiator and replacing with a new one. I guess I can understand that one.

The inspector told us to submit our plans to get the permit and that these could just be a very simple sketch. FALSE! After three different submissions (one rejected because it was on graph paper), the city finally accepted the sketch. ALSO, Andrew had to get a document notarized that basically states he’s the “contractor” of this project. All this to say, only certain places require this level of red tape. If you drive five minutes down our road you wouldn’t need it.

How to find out what permits you need for home renovation?

  • Google the name of your city + “development services” and find the residential renovations option.
  • Have a sketch (to scale) of the before and after of your project.
  • Make sure you budget for the fees, they can get pricey.
  • Schedule the necessary inspections.
  • Find more here!


This sounds pretty obvious, but honestly I didn’t even think about it until it showed up in our driveway. When you are preparing for a kitchen renovation, make sure you rent a dumpster to dispose of all the cabinets, counters, floors, wall, and old appliances. We’ve also used Bagster and loved the service, unfortunately power lines would be in the way of this project so we opted to rent a dumpster instead. They’ll drop it off, you fill it up, and then schedule for them to come pick it up.


Kitchen demolitionArguably the most important way to prepare for a kitchen renovation is to cover everything! I cannot stress this enough. Our house has plaster walls, which are notoriously messier to take down than drywall, but regardless of which type of wall you have – THERE WILL BE GOBS OF DUST. We bought plastic covers and taped them over the doorways where the work was being done and it still wasn’t enough. We have dust all the way up our stairs and in all of the bedroom up there. It is quite literally everywhere.

Additionally, we are using our dining room that is attached to the kitchen as a work room. We covered the dining room table with a moving blanket to protect it from dust and scratches and removed everything else. This is great, but we failed to address the hardwood floors in our dining room and they’ve succumbed to some pretty gnarly scratches.

How to protect your house from demolition dust?

  • Cover your air ducts and doorways and make sure the coverings are securely taped down.
  • Don’t get lazy! We got lazy and let one of the door coverings come down. It was at the back of the house and so we didn’t think it would make a difference, BUT IT DID!
  • Invest in booties to cover our shoes to prevent dust from being tracked everywhere when you leave the work area.
  • Cover your floors with cardboard and tape it down to avoid scratches from dropping anything during the demolition. You can just use any old broken-down boxes that you already have on hand.
  • Invest in a shopvac. It can suck up all the dust and even big chunks of wall and sediment to make cleaning up so much easier. Seriously, a miracle worker.
  • Buy ALL of the Swiffer wet wipes or the Swiffer wet jet. No matter how much you prep to cover the air ducts and doorways, there will be dust. The best way to get rid of it is to vacuum and then go over it with the Swiffer.


Something you may not think about, but absolutely should consider when preparing for a kitchen renovation is how to protect yourself. Along with dust flying everywhere, there are wires, loose nails, chipped wood, and not only that, but it is literally what they call back breaking work! Andrew’s dad and I were using a crowbar to rip out the old hardwood floor and I don’t think I have ever been so sore or had more things flying at my face! Luckily, we were well prepared for this part.

How to protect yourself during a home renovation?

  • Make sure your eyes are protected with safety glasses. You’ll be amazed at home much flies up at your face.
  • When you’re crawling all around the floor to pull up nails you’ll be glad you had some knee pads. They don’t look beautiful, but they feel beautiful.
  • You will be sore in places of your body that you never knew existed! We stocked up on these and also had our massager running non-stop in the evening.
  • Stock up on Gatorade. It sounds silly, but it’s tough work and it’s so easy to forget to hydrate.
  • Get some masks so that you’re not inhaling all the bad stuff and dust when you’re tearing things out of the walls.

Throughout the process just remember to take some deep breaths and try not to stress too much. It is admittedly a stressful time and seems never ending, but it will be so worth it! As corny as it sounds, I’ve loved spending this time with my husband and learning all these new skills for how to renovate our home. I also have a massive sense of pride that we’re taking this on ourselves and I know you will too! It’s so worth it, friend! I hope these 5 ways to prepare for a kitchen renovation are super helpful and please let me know if you have any to add as you get going!

Good luck!


Liked this? Find more home inspiration on my post “How to turn a small room into a closet”

How to make quick and easy Homemade Clay Ornaments and Gift Tags

Handmade clay ornaments

One of my most favorite parts of Christmas time is the giving of gifts. Don’t get me wrong, I love
receiving them too, but giving someone something I just know they’ll love (or even make them cry happy tears) is what really excites me. To me, giving is what makes the season so magical. During this time of year, we aren’t so focused on ourselves, we’re focused on our loved ones and finding the perfect something to put a smile on their faces. What could be better than that?!

I think that homemade gifts can sometimes get a bad rep. I immediately picture lots of glitter, noodles, and glue. But they don’t have to be cheesy or tacky! I want to share with you how to make quick and easy homemade clay Christmas ornaments and gift tags. It’s a special and cute way to show someone you care and something they can keep for years to come! Plus, it’s affordable, quick, and not very messy. Win win win. 

If you’re looking for a last minute gift to really pull at the heartstrings then these quick and easy homemade clay Christmas ornaments and gift tags are it! You can find everything that you need to make them quite easily and some you may already have! Here’s what you’ll need and how to do it:

Supplies you will need

Supplies needed for making clay ornaments and gift tags

How to make clay ornaments and gift tags

  1. Roll out the dough – should be about ¼ inch thick, if it’s too thin it’ll curl up and/or break easily
  2. Place cookie cutters as desired
  3. Peel away extra dough
  4. Stamp your sayings – be careful to not push too far in otherwise you’ll get the rectangle of the stamp on your design
  5. Put a little hole wherever you’d like the ribbon to go through – the alphabet stamp set that I used came with the perfect little tool for this 
  6. Let dry for 24 hours – the clay will go from a light gray color to pure white when it’s totally dry
    1. You can put in the oven at 300 for 30 minutes to speed up the process
  7. Use a nail file to smoot the edges and any wrinkles that may have occurred while drying (this can get a little messy so hold over the sink or trash can)
  8. Tie the ribbon!

helpful hints

See! Easy peasy! You can also paint your clay ornaments and gift tags if you’d like, I chose not to because I preferred a minimalistic look. I thought I was going to love the Merry Christmas ones the most, but I actually love the Silent Night moons! I also made personalized stocking labels for our family and ornaments for a friend’s newborn baby and another friend who bought a new home. Get as creative as you like with your quick and easy homemade clay ornaments and gift tags. 

Be careful not to roll out your dough too thin. I made this mistake and the dough sort of wilted up and the stamped lettering went all the way through the ornament. Also, don’t skip the filing step, this made all of my ornaments look so much crisper and nicer. I was originally only going to file the edges, but I used the file to smooth out the top of the ornament for any fingerprints or wrinkles and it worked like a charm. Then I used a rollerball ink pen to sign the back.

Personalised Clay Ornaments

merry christmas and happy holidays!

There’s just a few days left until Christmas, but these quick and easy homemade clay ornaments and gift tags only took me about an hour to make! If you don’t have modeling clay on hand and it’s too late to order then try this easy three ingredient homemade dough recipe that I found! And if you’re too crunched for time then definitely bookmark this how-to for next year. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Xx Ashley

For more tutorials head here.