Ask Me Anything, March ’21

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1 month ago

Hi! I hope your day has been a good one!

As I continue to say—I’m very focused on collecting most all content and things I share on other platforms to my site. Instagram feels SO fleeting these days (I really don’t like that) and highlights… can be like looking for a needle in a haystack if you have something in particular you’re seeking out. Kind of over how they reach max capacity at 100 frames, too… having to create part II highlight categories is starting to feel a bit OTT.

Anyways, you get the idea! My blog is where I can lay things out on the table in a more thoughtful way. That said, I have been doing a monthly Q&A when the mood strikes (which I love to do!) and I decided to move them here as well…

I get a lot of questions sent along via DM each day, so figure this can be a nice way to streamline things and check in to see if something you’ve been pondering has been answered. So here we go… March’s ask me anything.

How do you keep track of all the brands you’ve come to love?

There are 2 ways I go about keeping tabs on favorite brands/designers that are super helpful for when I am looking to shop! First, I have a bookmark bar on Google Chrome where I have a saved list of all sites I like to visit. If you want to be super organized about it, you could even have 3 separate category folders: retailer, everyday brands, and investment designers.

Second, I have a secret wishlist board on Pinterest where I save pieces that I am considering. This is super helpful to see which pieces stay close to heart and which you feel you can go on without, or find something even better!

Thoughts on Beatrice Valenzuela Sandals?

I’ve had for a few years now and love them! I have the nude and I’m not gonna lie, they are pretty run into the ground at this point… but I am a little bit of a klutz. I think I want to get the black version which might hide flaws a bit better with time. Also, one thing to note with these, I went with my true size and I needed a little wearing-in time (I have a wider foot, they are pretty narrow!) but once broken in/stretched slightly after a few wears they have been so comfy. I think they are worth it.

Which company are you using for your French drainage and outdoor tiling?

I will share this soon—as with everything I make note of and share, I want to make sure I am 100% happy before I refer them! This is our first ever home renovation, new to this… fingers crossed.

How have you stayed creative during the course of the pandemic?

I was so worried about this in early days pandemic, but creativity is what has kept me sane! And gotten me through this very crazy year we’ve lived through. I kind of feel as though I’ve been nudged to expand my horizons to keep my mind moving and curiosities alive. Looking back, my site has changed quite a lot—changed my blog name to my name, honed in on the series that stick, have really found my niche in what I like to share and who I am. I’ve also tried new hobbies, started new collections, and have taken on side projects.

This year has taught me to follow my gut and run with whatever is inspiring in the moment at full speed. I have the time to dive into interests deeply and immerse myself and learn. This in itself has helped to keep my creative flame.

Will you remind me the discount code for Scribe, please?

Scribe very very rarely offers codes, in fact, I only think this has happened once during the start of the pandemic. They sent a code along to members to share with friends and I asked them if it was okay to share with you and it was a GO, so that was the only time I did share. We heard that quite a lot of you got to enjoy it, and I am so glad! If you’re interested in a discount, I highly recommend considering a membership! They are one of the best.

I think what you are referring to, though (I get this question a lot and people reference his code!), is the discount code for The Wonderland Project. Matt Ahern has worked with Scribe since the beginning and The Wonderland Project is his personal project. His Pinot and Chard are two of my weekly go-to’s (when I’m not with child, haha). His instagram handle has the word Scribe in it, so I think that is what causes some confusion. The code on his website is LEGACY25 and it’s always available for you to use. 🙂

What daily habits have you implemented into your life that you look forward to?

I love this question! I find that I am always changing up my rituals based on phases I am going through, seasons, etc. A handful right now that are making me happy:

I am waking up so early during pregnancy, I feel the most energized and creative first thing each day and I love my morning routine. Scout and I are out of bed around 5:30 or 6 to feed him / make my coffee and then I head to my office, light a candle, turn on jazz, and do my morning pages. Writing has been my therapy the last couple of months and keeping my mind so clear.

A late morning iced matcha in the garden with a book.

Laughing at myself now about how much I’ve talked about limonata, but making a fun mocktail around 4pm when I am starting to hit a wall is something I’ve really been looking forward to—it’s become my mental signal to shut off, relax, and lounge for the evening.

Pizza Friday. The best ritual there ever was… we will never tire of it—such a treat.

Sunday french cafe trip has become such a fun family ritual. We discovered a local bakery that is so incredibly good, and we look forward to it each week!

Lastly, feeling my baby girl’s kicks every night before bed.

If you could only eat one of your recipes on your blog forever, which would it be?

I don’t think I could live without this salad—I will never ever tire of it!

How are you liking Orinda? We are moving there in June!

I love it so much. I grew up in the Bay Area from 6th grade on (Danville) and I had never been over to the Lamorinda area. I was just telling Matt while we were on a walk in our neighborhood, how much I love that our area doesn’t remind me of anywhere I’ve been—it feels brand new to me and that feeling is so exciting. I feel like sometimes suburban areas can remind me of a certain vibe from somewhere I’ve lived in the past, but our area really feels like it’s own special entity.

I love how hilly and green it is, how different the houses are, how a lot of the homes are old and charming. I love the arched tree lined roads, the views of Mount Diablo, the vibes of nearby downtown areas. I find that with time, I feel happier and happier with our decision to move here. Also, the nicest people ever! All of our neighbors, every person I’ve encountered at grocery markets, etc. we’ve had a really warm and wonderful experience so far…

I think you are going to love it!!

Secrets to your photography style?

I get this question often around photos and editing—I like to keep it simple! I don’t use filters, I simply let the light do the heavy lifting.

I mentioned here how much light inspires me, it’s what prompts A LOT of the imagery I end up bringing to life. I will see a beautiful light scene opportunity and run with it. I mainly just tweak brightness/contract/highlight. In terms of photography style tips… my advice is to tweak an image to how you think it looks best! If you love it, that’s all that matters. This is how I operate with images… I don’t like overly touched and I edit lightly until I feel it looks beautiful in my eyes. Think this also really helps with consistency and establishing your photography style as you will continue to lean a certain way with how you edit.

Where are you from originally? How long did you live in SF for?

My parents grew up in Akron Ohio, it’s where I was born and lived up until I was 5 or so. We moved to Cherry Creek area in Colorado and lived there during my elementary school years and then moved to California right before I went into sixth grade. We were in Danville from that point on until I moved to San Diego for school (FIDM) and then moved back up to the bay in 2008 and moved to San Francisco in 2009. I lived in the city for 11 years!

If I were to get a Jenni Kayne Cocoon Cardigan, which color would you start out with?

I have oatmeal and ivory and love them both, however, if I had to pick one that I wear more, I personally love the ivory! I just think the rich warm hue looks so nice and lush with just about anything. They are actually having a 25% off sale (code is refresh25) until 3/10, but in case you see this post after the fact—I have an always active code with them to use whenever you please! It’s ashleyk15

Why did you decide not to do the kitchen renovation first?

Oh man, I wish we could have jumped the gun on that project first, but drainage was an urgent matter. It was in our house disclosure and we had to have it looked at quickly upon moving in as the drainage needed major help to ensure that the foundation of our house remains safe. The kitchen is going to be a BIG one to take on… a full gut, expansion, and we are going to have to get a new roof as well. It just wasn’t in the budget after buying our first home and having to deal with drainage issues… and with the baby on the way, we just have to wait a bit on this one. I am hoping we can get things somewhat moving in the fall/winter (I feel this is very unrealistic, but a girl can dream) but if not definitely a 2022 priority.

Are you still taking on design consulting clients and planning to share these projects?

I actually decided not to take on anymore design clients. I took on 4 projects this past summer up until recently and got to work with such lovely people who fully trusted my vision and each one was a delight to work with! However, I just felt in my gut that it wasn’t what I’m meant to be doing.

Growing up, interior design was one of two career directions of mine, but ultimately I opted to keep it for myself. When I decided to take on a few design side projects this summer, I felt that timing could be better now for me and become something bigger down the road, but I realized (again) that I really just enjoy keeping this part of me for me, a personal passion.

A bit also has to do with the fact that I found out I was pregnant a few months into it and I started to think about my work / mom life balance and how focusing on my blog makes the most sense. It’s what makes me happy, so got to make sure it is the no.1 priority work-wise.

When did you tell your families that you were expecting?

We told them early on. I was with my sister right before taking a test so I told her immediately (shared the story here!). We told Matt’s family two weeks into knowing because we were going to have an early Thanksgiving dinner in October while they were in town (they live in AZ in the winter, and we usually go there for Thanksgiving but didn’t this time bc of covid) and we knew if I didn’t have wine they would know…

I told my mom and dad after my first appointment just to make sure all was good, etc. so around 8 weeks.

I had a bit of a weird scare that I don’t think I’ve shared before. When I called to schedule my first appointment, they estimated how far along I was and made my appointment at (what they thought was) the 7 week mark. I went in and in the ultrasound there was a gestational sac, but no embryo. I was left in the dark for a few weeks (morning sickness and not knowing if you’re even actually pregnant is pretty upsetting) as the doctor said I could or could not be pregnant and that I may still experience pregnancy symptoms even if I’m not because it is my body doing it’s thing. Very hard few weeks for me. Obviously things worked out for the very positive and I am so grateful! That ultrasound my heart grew, I was in tears and my whole world changed on the spot. When I had gone in the first time, I was actually 5 weeks, which can sometimes be too early—which is why most clinics will have you come in at 8-10 weeks. This kind of annoyed me to be honest since they assumed I was 7 weeks, but were 2 weeks off and caused such an unnecessary hurdle. We moved and I switched OBGYN so much happier now, but wanted to share this in case you are early on and can avoid this happening to you! Better to wait for a more promising timeframe for that ultrasound.

I brought this up as I waited a bit longer to tell close friends than I think I would have. Pregnancy can feel so isolating early on so I was wanting to tell all my people!

What are some items to invest in when young and have a low income salary still?

I would slowly collect everyday pieces that make a simple outfit feel special. Quality denim (I love Agolde!) and luxe basics (Vince is a good example), dainty jewelry you cherish, and save up for 1 versatile handbag.

Also… keep an eye on retailers like The Outnet, RealReal, Vestaire Co., Etsy, and eBay for vintage finds!

What did you do before blogging? How did you start your journey?

Going to share my about page here! It shared a lot of this and then some.

What is one item you have in a shopping cart right now?

Love this one! I have a few… I am buying a few affordable dresses to treat myself to warm-weather ahead—Mango has such cute things right now, this dress is in my car. Faithfull also has really good dresses right now on their site, love this one, too! Lastly, the Stella McCartney x Adidas sneakers I mentioned earlier… a bunch of you guys found on another site in all sizes, so I am seriously considering. I don’t *need* new sneakers but they are so cute!!!!

Can you recommend an affordable straw bag or brand that makes cute styles for spring?

I just saved a bunch by Mar y Sol, a few really cute styles around $100/$150. Also, Caterina Bertini! Two in particular to note (was saving both for my end of the week product round up but will share early for you! How cute is this and this!!!)

What are some of your favorite coffee table books?

I have so many favorites (I collect them!), most of them listed here! But I would say if you want a new one now, go for Atelier AM.

A recent favorite quote?

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away”. — Pablo Picasso

I have a whole quote list saved on my phone notepad (I’ve collected inspiring words my whole life, I LOVE a good quote) and this one is an always favorite. A reader sent me this recently, too, and reminded me how much I love it.

Such a beautiful sentiment. When you find something in life you love so much—your gift, it’s made SO much better sharing it with others.

Is there room for new bloggers in the influencer space?

Absolutely. There is room for everyone… my one thought is that if you are feeling pulled to start a blog because it’s something that would make you happy, and you’re doing it for that reason alone, 100% dive in! And even if it’s just for your eyes to start, feel it out and see if you like it. From there, consistency and being genuine about what you are creating is key.

It is a very big sea, so my advice is to be authentically you! This is the only way to sustain keeping it up and to feel true joy and reward from blogging. Stay in your lane, keep your eyes on the road, and use nothing but the world around you and your personal curiosities in daily life as inspiration. This is the key to success in my opinion because you are essentially carving your own path/doing things in your own unique way… and authenticity and content created from the heart shines—especially these days.

How do you see your blog/brand evolving in the future?

I am still figuring this out! The past two or so years have been extremely pivotal for me… I’ve really found my ground and feel so good about what I create and the loveliest community I’ve cultivated. Ideas pop into mind quite a bit as I have this feeling that I am meant to do bigger things, I am still uncovering what that is.

I will always blog as it’s a part of me and something I’ve been spending time on since I was 15. It has shaped me as a person and creative and navigated me to where I am today.

My plan in place is to continue to trust my process and the direction it leads me, it has never led me astray… xx

 

Feel free to say hi / comment / send questions x
demi

What a great post! Thanks for this—so much authenticity!

Ashley

Thank you, Demi! I’m glad you enjoyed! xx

rachael

I just adore you and your aesthetic/vibe! That does sound like such a scary and lonely experience with your first ultrasound. Obviously so thankful that baby girl is healthy and thriving and all is well – it has been so fun to watch your journey, especially as my boys are 9 and 11, and I do so miss being pregnant and all of that. It is such a special and fleeting time. Thank you for taking the time to answer so many questions! I found myself really enjoying this post.