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5 Ways to Practice Self Care

Happy International Self Care Day! I hope you are able to find some time today for YOU. I know so many of us struggle with making time for ourselves. We get so busy, or we think we don’t deserve a break, or we just don’t make it a priority to actively treat ourselves to some self care. So, for whomever needs to hear this today or any day, YOU DESERVE IT! Which is why I’ve put together these 5 ways to practice self care.

When we take time for self care we ultimately make a better version of ourselves. By taking a pause for a much needed mental break, we allow room to become more present with family, friends, work, side hustle – everything! Think about it, when we get SO busy running from thing to thing, we’re usually just thinking about the next thing rather than the present thing. These pauses give us a chance to reset, regroup, and reflect.

Try your best not to buy into the lie that it’s selfish because that’s so far from the truth. Self care is an investment. You invest in your 401k to take care of your future self, so why not care for your present self in any little way that you can? A big part of investing in ourselves is investing in our mental heath – enter self care!

For me personally, I struggle with chronic anxiety and have since high school. Over the years I have had to learn various methods of self care and with that, being more mindful about intentionally setting time aside for self care. I can be a social butterfly, but quickly get exhausted, so I’ve learned to schedule self care nights every once in awhile and they are non-negotiable – I don’t flake out on myself! I encourage you to do the same. Make self care a priority. Today I’m outlining my top 5 ways to practice self care in the hopes that my suggestions will work for you too!


#1 Journaling

Gratitude journaling is just that – you write down all of the things that you’re thankful for. It is so grounding on days when you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. Just sit down and jot a few things that you’re thankful for – it can even be as simple as your cosy bed you get to cuddle up in at the end of the day – but suddenly it puts everything into perspective and you feel a little lighter.
For me, gratitude journaling evolved into list writing or bullet journaling on occasion. Whenever my mind is full of ideas or to-do lists I just write them all down and it is so freeing! It opens up space for me to be able to focus on other things or even conversations I’m having so then my mind doesn’t drift elsewhere.
Of course one of the best parts about journaling is the cute notebooks like this one and this one. I also keep lists in my planners. Yes, plural 🙂 I have one for work and one for my personal life/side hustle. And you can’t have a cute notebook without some fun and colourful pens. Who say you can’t accessorise for mental health?!

#2 Self spa time

Notice I called this section “self spa time” not “spa day”. The key here is that you’re not splurging by going to the spa (although if it’s in your budget then by all means have at it sister!) and you’re also not using an entire day, just a few intentional hours. For me this helps to minimise that nagging, guilty feeling of spending time on myself. I 100% believe that we should never feel guilty about investing time in ourselves and our mental health, but sometimes it sneaks in. Taking these precautions helps me squash that guilt. It may not be an issue for you and that’s great!

For my self spa time I LOVE to light A LOT of candles, I’m talking fire hazard quantities (jk), but I just find candles to be so calming. They really set the tone for my intentional me time. I love the Capri Blue Volcano candles and the Woodwick Candles the most. I think the Woodwick brand is even better for Fall/Winter because they sort of set a fireplace glow mood. 

Once I have the right vibe, I take this time to do beauty treatments I rarely ever do – like facemasks. I typically never have the time or patience to sit in a mask, but for my self spa time, masking is perfect to sit in and maybe even meditate while you let it work. It is so refreshing for your skin and so soothing. You will feel like a million bucks afterwards. 

Another thing I like to do to pamper my skin is spend a few minutes using a facial roller. I have the electronic version, but a simple roller also does wonders. Not only does it feel SO good (literally it’s as good as rocking a baby to sleep), but it has noticeably improved the elasticity of my skin – much more firm and lifted!

If I have more time, I love to give myself a mani/pedi! For me this just means using a scrub on my feet and then just putting on a fresh coat of polish (I love OPI) on my toes. I’m terrible at painting my own fingernails so I love to use the Impress or KISS press on nails. If I’m splurging I’ll go get a nice dip mani 🙂 Feel free to really get into your spa time. After all, this is YOUR time!


#3 read with a cosy beverage

There’s nothing better than a slow morning with a good book and a fancy coffee or tea. I LOVE to read, but lately haven’t been making enough time to get through my reading list. I realise I really miss it! Just like binge watching your favourite show, it’s such a good way to turn off the brain and get away from reality for a bit. If you’re not a reader then swap this suggestion for your favourite show or even a good movie!

I love to read pretty much everything, but my favourite genres are self-help and fiction. My favourites recently are: You Are a Badass, In Five Years, and The Happiness Project. I could write out all my favourite books, but that would take FOREVER – I see another blog post in my future 😉 If you’re in the market for a new read, I would check out one of those!

I also think a nice hot drink sets the cosy vibe even more! I’m a coffee AND tea drinker, but usually gravitate toward coffee. I recently picked up a milk frother and it is my new obsession. I feel like I’m treating myself to a fancy Starbucks coffee in my own home! I also have quite a mug collection and love to choose my morning mug like I love choosing my outfit of the day! Currently loving this mermaid mug


#4 organise your space

Organising is SO therapeutic! There’s something about living in a messy, chaotic space that just makes anxiety that much more stressful. I love setting aside time to organise something. A friendly warning though, don’t make this goal “organise the house”, make it much smaller like “organise the desk”. Just a small chunk of time every so often will do wonders.  I recently made it a priority to organise all of my beauty and makeup products. I find having the right tools really makes the job so much easier. So I found this rotating organiser to sit on my vanity as well as this small stackable organiser. I also bought these various drawer organisers to keep everything from rolling around inside my vanity drawers. It allows me to still be able to easily see everything without being inside a makeup bag. I also did quite a bit of purging, which is just so cathartic. Get rid of whatever doesn’t serve you anymore! 

This fourth tip of my top 5 ways to practice self care is also the gift that keeps on giving, because not only does it feel good to organise and set everything up just how you want it, but it also feels great every single time you come back to use the space. 


#5 take a nap or have some quiet time

Last but not least, and also my personal favourite of the 5 ways to practice self care, is napping/quiet time. I am truly the nap queen to the point that my college roommates used to call me Sleep Monster – lol. I used to think that something was wrong with me or that I was super lazy, but the more I analysed why I need this nap or quiet time, the more it made sense. 

Stress is exhausting! Anxiety = stress! Plain and simple. I find that even 20-30 minutes with my eyes closed is SO refreshing. I notice this especially on Fridays when the work week is done and we have plans to go out later, I just need a little time to reset and rid myself of any lingering work stress. It’s not laziness, it’s taking care of my mental health. We should never feel guilty or ashamed of this!

If you love naps and quiet time, make sure to set up a comfortable space. Whether that’s your couch, a cushy chair, or your bed. Mine is my bed 🙂 I have the best pillow you’ll ever try and it’s even customisable. I also use a lavender spray to make the room smell and feel so calming. Lighting a candle is also very cosy if you’re just resting and not sleeping. Occasionally I’ll use the headspace app for relaxing soundscapes. This is hands down my favourite way to care for myself. Cosy pjs and slippers are also a must!


self care is self love


I truly hope some or all of these suggestions for 5 ways to practice self care resonated with you! Mental Health Awareness is a cause that’s near and dear to my heart and whatever I can do to help you on a path towards better mental health I would love to do it! Always remember that self care is not selfish, it’s self love – and more than that, it helps you be able to love your loved ones even better! Let me know if you try any of these methods and I hope you have a wonderful International Self Care Day!

xx, Ashley

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How to Make New Friends as an Adult


It’s National Best Friend Day! This is one of my favourite days because I have some of the best friends in the whole wide world. But it wasn’t always that way! Making friends can be tricky, especially as an adult, so I want to offer up some advice on how to make new friends as an adult!

Being an only child, I’ve always always always wanted sisters, and at some point in my life I just decided that my besties would be my sisters. I truly treasure my friendships and make them a high priority. I didn’t always have this circle of sisters, in fact I struggled to make long lasting friendships in high school. Although I had a lot of friends, none were truly my soul sisters. Luckily that all changed when I went to college and made some of the best friends a girl could ever imagine! We did everything together!

OSU Besties
Ohio State Besties

After college we all went our separate ways for a bit, but then somehow we all ended up in the same city within a 1-mile radius of one another! Now, we are all married and whether they liked it our not, our husbands are super close too 😉. We hang out almost every weekend, do exercise classes together, go shopping together, meet for dinner, and even go on vacations together. 

We are truly a friend family.

Moving Away From the friend fam

We thought it would be this way forever, but about a year ago, my husband got a job in Chicago and we had to move away from Cincinnati. This meant relocating from both our family-family and our friend family, which was not easy. We tried to see the silver lining that Chicago and Cincinnati are only a 5 hour drive apart. We didn’t think this would be a huge deal, but it has definitely been a lot harder to cope with than we originally suspected. I miss that friend family dynamic more than I could possibly explain!

One thing you never really think about as you go through life is how to make new friends as an adult. Typically, you grow up with people who stick around forever; you meet people at school, your job, or church. But those relationships tend to have developed at a younger age. So when we found ourselves in a new city where we knew absolutely no one we of course wanted to make new friends – and boy has that been tricky!

Besties in Chicago
Besties in Chicago

At this age (30 something) most people have their crew and they aren’t really looking to broaden that circle. I completely get that because that’s exactly how we were back in Cincinnati, but it’s really hard to cope with as an outsider. A year and a half in to our Chicago experience and we are only just now starting to form stronger bonds.

I always joke that it’s almost like dating! I went out to dinner with a few girls on separate occasions and we just did not click, we had nothing in common! So I chose not to invest my time and energy in those relationships just like I would have done if it were a romantic interest. Always be protective of your time and your energy and don’t apologize for it!

Eventually, we have navigated this “will you be my friend” landscape at the ripe old age of 30 😉 So I wanted to share my tips and tricks on how to make new friends as an adult should you ever find yourself in a similar situation one day…

7 Tips for making new friends when you're new in town

  1. Put yourself out there. Don’t wait for an amazing new group of girls (or guys) to seek you out because you’ll be waiting forever. Like I mentioned, most of us already have our circle of besties and aren’t necessarily looking to expand. Go to the block party where you don’t know anyone, find a Meetup group you’re interested in and don’t flake out on it!, mention a team happy hour at your office. Be brave and take initative.
  2. Keep an open mind. Your new group of besties might look completely different from your group back home – and that actually makes a lot of sense! Most of us have had our besties for AGES and when we met we were probably one person that we might not be now. It’s natural to grow and evolve, but that original group of besties grew and evolved with you. This new group did not, so you’re starting fresh. Be open to befriending people with a different outlook on the world – who knows, you might learn something!
  3. Take an interest. If there’s someone at your office or in your neighbourhood that you find intriguing then be sure to take an active interest in their life. Whenever you see them, ask them about themselves, and the next time you see them be sure to reference those tidbits of information that you’d already learned. It shows that you care and grows a thread of trust, which as we know is the foundation of any relationship.
  4. Be selective. (But didn’t you just say to keep an open mind?!) What I mean is that if you have literally nothing to talk about, if you are the only one carrying the conversation or trying to hang out, then that tells you something about the future of this “friendship”. You wouldn’t want a romantic interest to make you do all the work; so don’t let a potential friend treat you that way just because you’re lonely.
  5. Stay attentive and in touch. Don’t just hang out once and then wait forever to make another plan. Keep the momentum going! If you find a funny meme or a pretty dress that your potential new friend might be interested in – send it! Once again, this goes along with taking an interest. It shows you care and that you’re truly invested, which is important because people’s time is precious.
  6. Don’t give up or get down on yourself. It’s not like everyone has a million besties and it’s not like those deep, meaningful relationships happened over night. They took time to develop and flourish. So if you don’t have 5 new best friends in the first month of living somewhere new THAT’S OKAY! You’re not weird or unlikeable it just takes time.
  7. Don’t go home every weekend. This sounds pretty obvious, but it really wasn’t for me at first. I missed my best friends in Cincinnati so much that I drove home almost every weekend to be with them. Well, how was I supposed to make new and meaningful relationships if I was never in Chicago to meet anyone?! I’m not saying NEVER go home, but just space it out. Your besties back home will never forget you and you will never mean less to them just because you’re in a different state. They will understand and even encourage you to try to lay down some roots. Also, when they come to visit you it’ll be much more fun when you have new people to introduce them to!
 Give yourself some grace to adjust to this whole new life you’ve made for yourself and try not to force anything. Once you take a deep breath and let things unfold, you’ll find you’ll start to attract exactly what you were looking for all along! Good luck and best wishes, girlfriend!
Bachelorette Besties
Bachelorette Besties

Xx, Ashley

P.S. Since you’re here and we’re basically besties 😉 I’m sure you love style! Check out my post on Must-Have Summer Style at Target!


Target Must-Have Styles for Spring & Summer

Scroll down for Spring and Summer style at Target!

Picture this: it’s a day ending in “-day”, you wake up, brush your teeth, maybe brush your hair, put on some tie-dye lounge-wear, do a a little bit of work, maybe a run if you’re feeling sassy, eat copious amounts of snacks, and browse the internet until you fall asleep. THEN you wake up and do the exact same thing. We are all living the same day on repeat and while many places are starting to reopen, Chicago is not one of them. Before I continue, I do want to note that I am in no way insensitive to the immense hardships many people are facing. My family has been hit both financially and physically, it’s a very difficult time and my heart goes out to all of you. I just hope this article adds a little levity to your day.

There are so many things that I miss being able to do and I know I’m not alone in this, which is actually really and strangely comforting, that we aren’t alone. [Whoever you are, wherever you are – please know you are not alone! We’re in this together. xx] I’ve realized that the things I miss most aren’t necessarily what I would have guessed, but are much more the little every day things that I take for granted. The Italian in me just wants to hug literally everyone at all times (more about me)! I really miss that human touch. I miss my family, my besties, that little Indian restaurant around the corner, and so much more…. like shopping! Yeah, yeah I know I can go online, but there’s something about browsing a store, finding hidden gems I didn’t even know I needed ;), that I really miss!


In this uncertain economic climate my brain knows that I should be saving, BUT EVERYTHING IS ON SALE!  I’ve truly found some absolute gems and amazing deals. I’m realizing that perusing the app, following influencer stories, and scrolling through  favorite store’s website has become a solid replacement for browsing in a real store. It’s definitely a welcome escape and I get so excited when the packages arrive. It’s like the opposite of instant gratification, but it makes the joy last even longer and I love that.


I ordered these affordable Spring dresses from Target during their sale about two weeks ago. I’m wearing the camo t-shirt dress in a large. The dress is extremely comfy and could definitely be dressed up with some nude/tan wedges and a tan moto jacket, cute sandals and a jean jacket, or even dressed down as a beach cover up! It runs a little large, I could have gone with a medium. For reference, I’m 5’2″, 38D, large booty!  It’s currently $20.00!

This lilac midi dress comes in blue, green, burgundy, and white. I nearly got white, but I’m really happy with this fun color. It looks pink on the Target website, but is much more lavender in person. I recommend sizing down as it’s a bit over-sized. It’s super floaty and soft, I can’t wait to wear this to a thousand places, a thousand different ways. It’s currently $34.99, but I purchased it on sale – so keep an eye out! One thing I love about Target is that you can set alerts for sales and even to get notified when your favorite styles come back into stock.


Spring and Summer style isn’t complete without the perfect white tee. I bought these daisy jeans recently from abercrombie and I knew I wanted to pair them with a plain white tee, but then I came across this gorgeous eyelit long sleeve t-shirt from Target and had to have it. The sleeves are so beautifully structured with a slight poof at the shoulder. The body of the top is light and flexible. I want one in every color! It comes in red and rust, TTS, only $19.99. I think this compliments my new, fave jeans so well and is perfect for Spring when there’s still a slight chill in the air.


Your Spring and Summer wardrobe isn’t complete without a few classic graphic tees. I cannot say this loudly enough: Target’s graphic t-shirt selection was amazing even before it was trendy. THEN they came out with this Taylor Swift Lover t-shirt. I swear I’d buy multiple just because I know I’m going to wear this one so much it’ll be tattered one day, and that day will be a very sad day. I bought this in an XL because I wanted it to be over-sized and it’s perfect. I think I’ve worn it three days this week #sorrynotsorry. Then I found this Guns N’ Roses t-shirt that I’ve seen circulating Instagram and it’s also fabulous, I’m wearing a L. Both were only $14.99, you really can’t beat it. 

The distressed shorts with the Taylor Swift T are super stretchy and have a lot of give, which is great if you overindulge at a summer bbq. I really like the longer inseam because I can’t stand when my shorts ride up between my legs. This pair is a size 12, but I would’ve preferred a 10, unfortunately they were out of stock and I needed something quickly. I’ll make them work!

Thanks for checking out my favorite recent Target purchases. So affordable, great quality, and extremely versatile which is everything I look for in my clothes. I hope this helps your future Target run! Happy shopping 🙂



Hi! It’s me, Ashley Rae!

Hi! I’m Ashley

Hi everyone!  Well, it’s a little awkward to introduce yourself virtually – but, with anything, you have to start somewhere! So here we go… I’m Ashley! I’m an Ohio transplant living in Chicago with my husband, Andrew, and our three year old golden retriever, Ruthie. By day I’m a marketer for a non-profit organisation, and by nights/weekends I’m a blogger! I have a business degree and an art history degree, random – I know! More on this later 😉 I love to shop, write, take pics of anything and everything, read, eat, and explore.

Meet my little family

My husband works for an airline so we are super blessed to be able to jetset for a long weekend every chance that we get. I’m planning to share those experiences with you in order to offer some tips for planning your itinerary, where to go, what to do do, how to avoid tourist traps, how to stick to your budget, and everything that goes along with having the perfect adventure.

When we aren’t off exploring some new and lovely place, we explore the city that we’ve called “home” for about a year now. I’m pretty sure you could live in Chicago for a decade and never repeat a restaurant twice. The food scene is phenom, which is perfect because we love wine, cocktails, all sorts of cuisine, and of course indulging every now and then. Plus, I’m super blessed to have a husband who loves to cook! He’s always trying new recipes and I’m always up for tasting them haha. Some of my favourites include his guacamole recipe, fried chicken, salmon and brussel sprout salad, just to name a few! I’ll share all of the delicious ones with you so that you can try them out too! I’ll also share the fails so that you don’t have to waste any calories on something icky.

Travel | Life | STYLE | Beauty | Health

 Always smiling!

Speaking of calories…you’ll see that I’m not a tiny girl and I’m not a plus size girl, I’m very much somewhere in the middle. So that’s the kind of styling that you’ll see from me!  I am a massive believer that EVERY BODY is beautiful. I fully embrace my curves, but I’m also on a constant battle to try to make healthier choices. Some days I’m the picture of health and others  I can’t stop/won’t stop with the snacking.  My hope is that this journey will resonate with you and that we can encourage each other and grow together. I’ll confess that my downfall is typically my diet, but my strength is exercise and I’m obsessed with my Peloton and the Peloton app as a whole. I’ll be sharing my favourite workouts, any exercise tips that might be helpful, and if any diet revelations strike me then I’ll be sure to pass those along!

So happy you're here!

I want this little corner of the Internet world to be an encouraging, positive, fun, safe, and inspiring place for all of us! I want to put a smile on your face and offer some inspiration whether it’s for your next trip, your next outfit or home decor purchase, your next DIY project, or your next diet & exercise step. This blog is 100% here to provide some sunshine and encourage us all in living our best, authentic life.

All this being said, I also want to hear from you! What do you like, where do you want to go, what do you want to learn more about, where do you shop, what do you need help and encouragement with? I’m here for you and I am listening. Never hesitate to reach out with whatever is on your mind!

I’m so excited you’re here, let the adventure begin…

xo, Ashley