Monday, 10 December 2018

Holiday Gift Guide for the Fashionista

This holiday, give the fashionista in your life the perfect present. Don’t stress about finding the right gift with my holiday gift guide for the fashionista.

Photograph: A Walk in the Wild

Gift Guide for the Fashionista

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Friday, 7 December 2018

Holiday Gift Guide for the Beauty Obsessed

This holiday, give the beauty aficionado in your life this perfect gift with our gift guide for the beauty obsessed. Whether it means staying hydrated, adding a little extra to their skincare routine or getting them the perfect eyeshadow palette, I’ve got you covered.

These are some of the best beauty products around. Maybe give some of these as gifts this year as well! I love it. Therefore, happy holidays.

Photograph: A Walk in the Wild

Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for the Beauty Obsessed

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Thursday, 6 December 2018

12 Essentials to Create the Perfect Guest Room

blavk bed frame with white sheets

There’s an art to setting up the perfect guest room. Striking the right balance of making guests feel at home, while also making them feel like they’re on a relaxing vacay, isn’t an easy task. After thoughtful consideration, we’ve compiled a list of the 12 must-haves for creating the perfect guest room. While it may be up for debate whether we’ve crafted the formula for perfection, we can say with total confidence that we’ve come pretty darn close. 

1. Lay Out Cozy Bedding


Guest rooms are a place for resting, so this definitely isn’t the area to skimp out on or put on the backburner. Choose soft, breathable bed sheets made of cotton, microfiber or with bamboo. High-quality sheets can truly change the way you sleep. Top off crisp sheets with a pillowy-soft comforter set and a variety of pillows (from ultra-plush to firm). 

Pro tip: You can upgrade your air mattress situation to a memory foam mattress for as little as $149. Our Mattress in a Box kits are the perfect solution for creating a guest room that feels like a luxury hotel, no matter your budget.

2. Set Up a Hydration Station

One of the most common issues travelers experience is not drinking enough water. Make this an easier problem to solve for your guests by setting up a bar cart with water bottles. Or, if you’re entering super-host mode, pour an infused water concoction into a portable water dispenser for your cart. Classic combos like cucumber and lime or raspberry and mint are always hits.

Pro tip: Throw in some healthy snacks while you’re at it! Fresh fruit and protein bars are perfect choices.

3. Keep it Tech-Friendly

This is one most guests are sure to appreciate: Keep an extra phone charger in your guest room and leave a note with the Wi-Fi password. This little extra step will save lots of potential hassle.

Pro tip: A bedside nightstand with built-in USB charging stations is ultra-convenient.

4. Stock Up on the Necessities 

Shampoo, soap, toothpaste and a loofah are the toiletry basics you should have on hand. Arrange those along with an extra set of bed and bath linens and bundle it all into a basket. Neatly arranging it makes it feel like a care package especially for them!

Pro tip: If you can swing it, going beyond the basics with items like house slippers or moisturizing lotions can really make all the difference.

5. Get Lit…


With a bedside lamp! One of the most annoying experiences is fumbling about a dim room you’re unfamiliar with. Even if you already have a ceiling fan or floor lamp, adding a table lamp on a nightstand or desk is a smart choice. If your guest plans on doing any reading or work while traveling, that extra boost will come in handy.

Pro tip: If you’re short on surface space, consider hanging a pendant light over a nightstand. This option works just as well, and it’s so fashion-forward.

6.  Prevent Stubbed Toes

Have you ever tried walking the dark halls of someone else’s home at night? You can’t flick on the lights, you’re trying to stay as quiet as can be and then—ouch!—you’ve stubbed your toe on a corner. Prevent stubbed toes by plugging in a couple nightlights in the hallways of your home.

Pro tip: Buy automatic nightlights so you don’t have to turn them on and off every day.

7. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Not every guest room has space for a large dresser with mirror. But no matter the square footage of your spare room, you should always have a mirror for guests to make dressing in the mornings easier.

Pro tip: Opt for a full-length mirror and place it in a spot with good lighting.

8. Tick Tock, Tick Tock

Sure, most of us use our smartphones to check the time, but having a wall clock definitely helps—especially since some of us like to unplug while on vacation. A clock will help ensure your guests stay on track and don’t miss out on planned activities.

Pro tip: Keep an old-school alarm clock on hand. You never know—your guest might need a backup option!

9. Hang Up Some Curtains

For one, your guest should be able to control privacy and the amount of light coming in. Secondly, adding drapes creates a personal touch in any room, and your guests are sure to love the homey feel.

Pro tip: If lots of late nights are part of your guests’ plans, consider purchasing blackout drapes to block out the bright morning sun.

10. Freshen Up the Room With Flowers


It’s the little things that make one smile. A vase of freshly-cut flowers is the perfect thing to wake up to in the mornings—it only helps lift up your mood!

Pro tip: Some plants like Peace Lily or English Ivy have naturally detoxifying qualities, and they’re super easy to care for!

11. Reading Nook

Take a comfy chair, a plush pouf and a cozy throw, and you’ve got yourself the coziest reading nook. With all the hustle and bustle of travel, your guests will appreciate a private corner to themselves to unwind.

Pro tip: Invite your guests to relax by keeping a selection of interesting reading material in the guest room.

 12. Desk Space


Whether it’s hashing out details of their itinerary, or getting some emergency work done on their laptop, having some workable surface space will come in handy. The desk doesn’t have to be huge—something small, sleek and simple should suffice nicely.

Pro tip: Stash away a few essentials in the drawer, like pens and paper.

So, are you feeling prepared to host guests this year? Let us know, and make sure to subscribe to our email list for more useful tips delivered straight to your inbox!

 

 

 

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Tuesday, 4 December 2018

How to Redo Your Entryway for Under $500

entryway

Taking on any home decor project can be time-consuming, not to mention costly—and the entryway is no exception to the rule. Between the planning stages, swatching for paint colors and even browsing for that perfect bench, taking on an entryway redesign comes with its fair share of challenges.


That said, you can get the best of both worlds when it comes to style and cost—and it doesn’t have to be exorbitantly expensive. For the ultimate mudroom you’ll love coming home to every day, you can tackle this project for under $500. Read on to learn how.

Your Entryway Checklist

Large or small, wide or narrow, every foyer has the potential to make a great first impression on guests. Consider the following list to catalog the standard items in an entryway:

  • Paint, in case you want to redo the walls, or paint an accent wall
  • Indoor plants (real or fake) — greenery transcends every style
  • A light fixture, such as a pendant or table lamp (together they make layered beauty)
  • Accent bench (with storage underneath or inside as an option)
  • A runner rug or door rugs
  • Hooks or a rack for purses, keys and coats
  • Mirror or wall art to brighten up the space
  • Baskets or boxes for additional storage

With these items in mind, you can customize as you see fit for your space. Not every entryway needs all the items on the aforementioned list, especially if you’re limited on space. This will keep costs lower, and ensure you have all the elements needed for style and budget.

Entryway Options

No matter what your style, there’s a way to revamp your entryway on any budget. We’ve got 3 styles below to give you examples on ways you can spruce up your entryway area. Pair this with a bit of paint, wall hooks, and storage bins and organization, and it’ll be a perfectly posh space that’ll greet you with open arms!

Minimalist Style

The great thing about decorating with neutrals is you can adjust to fit holidays and special occasions with ease. Minimalist chic is renowned for its goldtone and/or silvertone accents, which add delicate beauty to any area. Pair that with colorful entryway rugs or runners, and you’ve got the perfect blend.

gray bench

The Kaviton accent bench: $89

mirror with gold border

Callie accent mirror: $59.99

multi colored rug

Serapi 2′ 7″ x 7′ 3″ Runner: $130

pendant light

Minto pendant light: $99.99

Total: $378.98

Boho Chic

Got a penchant for worldly charm? Then boho chic will make for captivating appeal in the entryway. Bursting with different colors, materials, and textures, it’s a fun style that isn’t afraid to go bold or eclectic.

gray and white bench

Arrowrock accent bench: $129

colorful rug

Harput 2′ 7″ x 7′ 3″ Runner: $109.99

mirror with blue border

Diza accent mirror: $89.99

Total: $328.98

Farmhouse

The farmhouse craze has become more popular than ever, and it’s not hard to see why—built with natural character, it’s family friendly and distinctive in so many ways. Burlap-like texturing and exposed, “deconstructed” elements make it extra warm and inviting, especially in an entryway.

white bench

Heron Ridge accent bench: $149.99

mirror

Carine accent mirror: $39.99

wooden light fixture

Jodene pendant light: $149.99

accent rug

FoFlor 2’1″ x 5′ Barnboard Accent Runner: $99.99

Total: $439.96

Curating a unique, yet inviting entryway is more realistic than ever. With a little paint, and new furniture additions and accents, you can transform your mudroom into a space you enjoy seeing as you walk through the front (or side) door every day.

Do you have a unique entryway you’d like to share with us? Use the hashtag #MyAshleyHome for a chance to be featured on our Instagram!

The post How to Redo Your Entryway for Under $500 appeared first on XO Ashley.

Friday, 30 November 2018

Trellis Sitting Room

I absolutely love this green trellis sitting room in Sara Ruffin Costello’s New Orleans home. I visited this house during design showcase years ago and stood in this very room and loved it. So much fun running upon it again!

Some of the ways to decorate your space inspired by this look.

Trellis Sitting Room in Green

 

Photography: Brittany Ambridge

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Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Holiday Gift Guide for Travelers

Give the gift of comfort and utility to those who are always on the go with this holiday gift guide for travelers.

Whether they’re flying off to new places or coming back for the holidays. Make the traveler in your life feel comfier with these gifts.

 

Photograph: PJ Havel

 

 

Gift Guide for Travelers

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Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Donating to Food Banks: Here’s What You Should Know

box of food for donations

The holiday season is a time to appreciate what we’re thankful for—and one of those things is always having food on the table. Not everyone is fortunate enough to know where their next meal is coming from, which is why now is a great opportunity to give back, and help families who are struggling this time of year.

However, you may not know where to donate, or what the best thing TO donate is. Well worry not—we’ve got you covered with plenty of resources and tips on finding the right food bank, what to donate and what not to donate.

box of food for donations

Finding the Right Food Bank

Many of us have donated canned goods to a local school, grocery store or charitable organization (often referred to as food drives), but there are plenty of reputable food banks in your area that you may not know about. Feeding America has a local food bank finder that’s very useful when conducting your search. With over 200 food banks across the country, there’s a variety of locations dedicated to helping end hunger in their specific area.

If you’re looking into other charities focused on feeding the underprivileged, check out this list of hunger fighting charities, including their ratings and insights.

Food Banks vs. Food Pantries

woman donating food to volunteers

Before we go further, it’s important to understand the distinction between a food bank and a food pantry, and the purposes of each.

A food bank is a storage hub that receives food directly from food drives and the food industry, and distributes it to agencies, local soup kitchens and shelters to those who need it.

A food pantry is a single location that gets food from a food bank and distributes it directly to people in need. These are usually standalone facilities that donate to families on a monthly basis.

Growing up, you may have mostly seen food drives, which are a charitable donation made by members of an organization or business to accumulate and distribute food to those in need. This often happens at schools and businesses who want to accumulate food to make a difference.

Although the names are different, they all carry a similar mission statement: ending hunger. In this article, we’re focusing on food banks for terminology, but the pointers mentioned can apply to food pantries as well! Now here’s what you can donate below:

What to Donate

non perishable food items

  • Canned goods, especially meats such as tuna or chicken
  • Canned or dried fruit
  • Pasta
  • Peanut butter
  • Rice
  • Powdered or shelf milk that doesn’t require refrigeration
  • Nuts
  • Cooking oil (olive and canola)
  • Whole grain cereal and granola
  • Crackers
  • Canned soup, stew or chili

Make sure before stocking up your cart that you check with your local food bank to see what items they need most. Also, opt for lower sodium options where possible, since there may be people with dietary restrictions needing help (and it’s also healthier for growing minds and bodies).

Consider a Cash Donation

jar with coins

While it might not seem obvious, a cash donation to Feeding America can make a huge difference. According to their website, for every dollar donated, they “secure and distribute 10 meals to people facing hunger.” This translates into at least 12 pounds of food! Rather than paying grocery store prices, organizations like Feeding America have access to large-scale donation programs so the money goes the farthest it possibly can to do the most good.

What NOT to Donate

  • Nothing in glass containers (things get transferred multiple times before they land in the hands of families, so glass being breakable complicates shipment)
  • Perishables
  • Expired food
  • A homemade dish or meal (unless a local food bank or pantry requests otherwise)

Knowing Where Your Donation Goes

There are plenty of ways you can make a difference in the lives of the hungry—but it’s smart to ensure your donation is going to the right place. Most times, all you need to do is look at a charity’s website, as nonprofits will display all their financial expenditures publicly for you to view. With this in mind, you’ll have full visibility on their budget, and, more importantly, understanding where your money is going. Charity Navigator has some stellar resources on what to consider before donating, as well as extremely thorough insights.

people serving food

Tip: If an organization is a registered nonprofit 501(c)(3), this means they do not pay federal taxes, but it also allows donors to have a write-off for donations up to a certain amount.

Protect Yourself Against Potential Scams

Unfortunately, there are scams that masquerade as charity organizations in order to take money. Many of these happen over the phone or online—such as sending to an overseas bank, or hearing directly from a victim affected.

Before jumping to give a credit card number over the phone, do your homework and go to an official website that’s trusted. Charity Navigator also has a very informative page on how to prevent these scams from happening to you.

Fighting Hunger Together

Donating to your local food bank makes a huge impact on the lives around you—but together, giving food has the power to change lives and end hunger in the U.S. and beyond. We hope this blog was helpful for accruing the right resources and food items to donate this coming holiday season (or any day of the year).

Feel free to share your facts or insights about food banks in the comments below that we may have missed!

 

 

 

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