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SWIMSUIT CONFIDENCE...FOR ALL WOMEN AT EVERY AGE



Women are on a constant quest to find the perfect swimsuit that flatters their shape. There are so many different body types. Women go through so many changes including puberty, pregnancy, post pregnancy, weight gain and loss…We have so many souvenirs in our pockets: wrinkles, age spots, scars, baby bulges... The good news is that there are many suits today that flatter, flatten, and fix problem areas (not flaws). We need to celebrate that women come in all different shapes and sizes.

It’s all about confidence! We don’t want our daughters to pick up any of our bad habits. It begins when we’re pregnant and right away we start taking better care of our bodies, then that care carries over on to our daughters and teaching them to have a healthy approach to food. If a mother has confidence, it is likely her daughter will too. All mothers want their children to be happy and proud of who they are and comfortable in their skin.
Most swimsuit patterns are designed to bring the focus up to the face. If you think about watching a ballet dancer, as beautiful as her feet are, your eyes still go to the face.
A swimsuit should fit comfortably and show your personal style and if it’s not comfortable, it’s not working! I used to lifeguard and remember after all day in just a suit, I didn’t even notice it wasn’t part of me; that’s because I had a comfortable one-piece that suited me the way a suit should.
I think of Europe and their carefree attitude about their bodies. It’s part of their culture that they are natural and free. America can take a cue and relax; the pool is fun, the beach is fabulous and if you’re lucky enough to go with the ones you love, they’ll just be looking at your face.


I’ve always believed with fashion, if it feels good and you love it then it’s working!
Just like my mom always told me growing up…shoulders back, chin up, and smile! It goes a long way! 

 Très Ashley Tips:

Don’t be afraid of color! I love the vivid blue one-piece above by JCPenney's A.N.A. because it's a slimming silhouette.
For bikinis-lightly padded tops give a flattering shape and boost. Embellishments like ruffles, beading, or vivid colors emphasize this part of your body (great if you’re small up top). String bikinis are adjustable for the perfect fit.
I love JCrew swimwear! This nautical bikini is très French and chic! Janie and Jack also has that très French style for your little girl.

I adore old Hollywood glamour and the Juicy Couture one piece above screams Ava Gardner! The rouching softens what you don't want to see!   

Apricot Lane: Fashion is art...contests and more!

Shopping in the spring/summer season means: romantic florals with a touch of leopard print, flowy peasant blouses, colors like navy, purple, and coral. You might be working in an office or heading to the playground for a play date. The good news is you can find it all here with a staff that can show you how to work both ends in the same day. 
Tim Gunn recently said, When we look good, we feel better. That’s true for everyone… You feel better able to tackle the world. No matter your profession, you do a better job when you feel good about what you're wearing.

Photos: I feel good wearing these feminine pieces that can work day and night. It makes me want to sing the Cover Girl commercial...Easy, Breezy, Beautiful!
The Internet is a fashionable accessory! Trends are more accessible and affordable for everyone now and technology improves where and when we can shop. There are certain stores you so wish you could shop online like H&M and Apricot Lane; but after shopping in the store you are reminded of just how powerful a knowledgeable staff can be. As a working mom I know how easy it is to just click a button on the computer and be done. What you can’t get on the internet is the sixth sense that a retail staff has; they know what you need before you know it. What I love that Apricot Lane offers is their Facebook page 

Social media is a wonderful thing!  Twitter and Facebook can provide that sixth sense in your pocket; providing real-time feedback on the looks that work, and those that don’t.  I love that column in Lucky magazine “Does this outfit work?” On Apricot Lane’s Facebook page, you can get instant feedback.  I think it’s similar to looking at a magazine or catalog to preview what you think might work on you. When you go into Apricot Lane, you can say I heard about this item from your page, can you set me up in a dressing room? You have to “Like” to be in-the-know! In these times, you can’t beat quick and easy. In some instances to “like” is better than to “tweet” because an instant picture is worth a thousand words.
It is impressive to me that owner of four local Apricot Lane boutiques, Cristi Hargroves, works with the University of North Texas to place fashion students in her stores. So much of Apricot Lane’s philosophy is about giving back to the community. It just feels right to shop here! Walking into Apricot Lane you can instantly feel that Texas courtesy. In the Highland Village store, Karen and Katie greet you with smiles; they are warm, down to earth, and extremely helpful.
When I ran in to Apricot Lane over Spring Break I had my children (who are two and four) with me. Their stores are welcoming and created for moms who might be shopping with their children. PR representative, Stacey Graham says that's the "norm" in Apricot Lane. They even had an activity box for my children to play with in the dressing room with me. This immediately made me feel comfortable and at ease. Being a mom and a second grade teacher I’m around children all of the time, but I feel very sensitive to others who might not want them around. I never got that feeling at Apricot Lane; they had the “children make the world go round” kind of attitude.  This is that store your daughter, mother, and grandmother can find something that is age suitable and fashion forward fabulous.

You can always find unique items at Apricot Lane (some that help charitable causes); they also stay true to Texas, true to sports, and true to the times.



I’m thrilled to share with you three exciting ways you can get involved in the social “fashion” media with Apricot Lane:

·         Apricot Lane DFW is having a stylist contest that starts on Wednesday, March 23 and runs through the end of the month. Entry is simple! Log onto Apricot Lane and become a fan.  Upload pictures of your most stylish Apricot Lane ensemble, accessories...and show off your favorite "Spring" trend. There will be three categories for the contest:
1.       Stylish student
2.       Edgy entrepreneur
3.       Modern mom
Anyone can vote on their favorite post and the fashionista with the most votes in each category by the end of the contest will receive a pair of Miss Me jeans!  The winner will also get the title of "Apricot Lane's Stylist" and get the chance to come into the store to try on the newest fashions!  The outfit you choose will be featured the following month as Apricot Lane's Fashion Forecaster Look.
·      The next contest is Très Ashley for Apricot Lane! Fashion IS art! How can you translate it to readers? Through a poem, sketch, photograph, video…Email it to me at tresashley@gmail.com and I will post your “fashion is art” creation. This is a contest for all ages. Go on and open up your creative “crayon box” of fun. We work so hard these days that sometimes the only chance our creative side comes through is through fashion. I challenge you to find the time to be creative in another media. I will post contest winners and you will win a gold humanity bracelet (featured in the photo above) from Apricot Lane with inspirational words that remind you to find your creativity in everyday tasks. Coco Chanel once said, Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. Dare to think outside the box!

·         Très Ashley Bonus: If you go into Apricot Lane and mention this blog, you can receive 20% off one regularly priced item. Happy Shopping!


Locations:

  • Apricot Lane at The Shops At Highland Village   972.325.1530
  • Apricot Lane at Firewheel Town Center in Garland   972.325.1662
  • Apricot Lane at Stonebriar Centre in Frisco (inside mall)   972.325.2598
  • Apricot Lane at Watters Creek in Allen  972.535.6516

MAY THE ROAD RISE TO MEET YOU

 
My husband and I recently watched the NBC show, Who Do You Think You Are? In the episode, Rosie O’Donnell travels to Ireland to find out more about her mother’s family. I kept thinking how I would love to go to Ireland and trace my relatives like Rosie. I've had many vivid dreams of Ireland and it’s always the same; I’m sitting on top of a high cliff overlooking the sea and smelling the fresh air.
I am proud to claim a wee bit of Irish in my blood. My grandmother’s grandfather was from County Cork, Ireland. It’s a very southern thing to ask someone what your grandmother’s maiden name is. I have always been happy to answer, O’Shaughnessy.
Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! We celebrate the patron saint of Ireland on March 17th (the day he died) with all things green (including leprechauns and shamrocks) to honor the Emerald Isle.
Saint Patrick was not born in Ireland, but Britain around 380. He was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave to herd sheep. Years later Patrick escaped back to Britain and felt a calling to study religion. He went to France and became a priest then a bishop eventually returning to Ireland to build churches and schools. I have read that one of his teaching methods included using the shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to the Irish people. Saint Patrick is loved and celebrated around the world. Who doesn’t love to say, “Kiss me I’m Irish?”
There are many popular places to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day, but four favorites that are sure to put you in the Irish spirit. I’ve been lucky enough to spend Saint Patrick’s Day in three out of four of the hot spots. Dublin is first on my list and the one place I haven’t had the chance to visit yet. Perhaps I’ll go one day and trace the O’Shaughnessy family.
The number one place to enjoy the St. Patrick's Day festivities would be Ireland’s own capital, Dublin. With a five day St Patrick's Festival you will have plenty an opportunity to enjoy a pint or two especially if you visit  the famous Guinness Brewery. You will hear real Irish music and Irish dancing at an unforgettable parade. When I go, I would like to stay at Bono’s The Clarence Hotel in honor of my favorite Irish band, U2.
Another popular place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is in NYC. Once for Spring Break my husband and I flew into NYC the morning the world’s largest parade had begun. The taxi stopped many blocks away from our hotel because the streets were blocked off and we were swept into a sea of green with our bags (good thing they’re green). There is always an effervescent energy in NYC, but on Saint Patrick’s Day it radiates green! Our hotel was conveniently located by an Irish Pup, O’Casey’s where we spent a good part of our day drinking beer and listening to Irish sing-a-longs.
In San Antonio, the beer is as colorful as the river because every year the city begins its celebrations by dyeing the San Antonio River a bright emerald green and temporarily re-naming the river “Shannon.” Durty Nelly’s Pup is the place to be. The world famous Irish Pub features nightly sing-a-longs, shell-your-own peanuts and an endless selection beers. Did you know that San Antonio is the biggest consumer of Guinness in the United States?
Florence is another popular St Patrick's Day celebration city. The Italian’s call it 'Irlanda in Festa' where you can find concerts, typical Irish food and beer. Finnegan's Irish Pub is the place to be.
As a second grade teacher I love to decorate my classroom for St. Patrick’s Day with Shamrocks and read Irish children’s books. Here are a few of my favorites that I read to my class and my own children: Eve Bunting’s St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning, Tomie DePaola’s Jamie O’Rourke and the Pooka, and Gail Gibbon’s St. Patrick’s Day.
The Irish Blessings are some of the most beautiful. I like to do a countdown to Saint Patrick’s Day with one a day. I think you will enjoy them.
May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon your fields and, until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.
May you live a long life full of gladness and health, with a pocket full of gold as the least of your wealth. May the dreams you hold dearest, be those which come true. And kindness you spread, keep returning to you.
May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks, may your heart be as light as a song, may each day bring you bright, happy hours, that stay with you all the year long.
May you get all your wishes but one, so you always have something to strive for.
May you be rich in blessings, poor in misfortune, slow to make enemies, quick to make friends. But rich or poor, slow or quick, may you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.
May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light. May good luck pursue you each morning and night.
May you always walk in sunshine. May you never want for more. May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door.
There are good ships, and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea.
But the best ships are friendships, and may they always be.
If you're enough lucky to be Irish, you're lucky enough!
A best friend is like a four leaf clover: hard to find and lucky to have.
May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.
It’s always nice to bless the belly as well! Irish food is not the most well known but it is some of the most comforting: Sheppard’s pie, corned beef and cabbage, beef stew, soda bread, and lots of potatoes. I like to continue the tradition my mom started for my brother and sister and I when we were little and make green pancakes, green eggs and green milk for breakfast while listening to a little Maura O’Connell.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Slàinte!

Our Daily Juice: Sweep the Kitchen


My husband says there’s just something about fresh juice, it sets you right! It feels so good to give it to the ones I love knowing that what I give them will love them back.
My juicer was a birthday present from my husband almost five years ago when I was pregnant with my first child. It is by far my favorite kitchen appliance.
I’ve always loved fresh juice but my first awe inspiring experience was at the airport in Venice. It was five o’clock in the morning and I ordered an orange juice thinking I’d get a plastic bottle of minute maid; boy was I in for a treat! Watching a little Italian lady put whole oranges in a giant contraption, my jaw dropped. When I tasted the mouthwatering tang of frothy freshly squeezed orange juice, I knew I had to have one of those magical machines!
There are certain restaurants that offer specialty juice drinks like The Noho Star in New York City. I remember eating there with my mom before we went to visit my cousin who lived down the street off Bleecker. I remember feeling like a weary traveler until I ordered fresh carrot, celery, parsley and apple juice and was transformed into the energizer bunny.  
Fresh juice has magical qualities, not only do you get pleasure from the taste but you feel good instantly. The raw fruit and vegetables you fill the juicer with are loaded with vitamins, minerals, enzymes that happen to be supremely good for you. There’s not a better start to the day. There's a basic human instinct to be healthier and happier and what better time than the morning for a fresh start to the day. 
Once you get into the habit of making your own fresh juice the combinations are endless and there’s no way you’ll ever crave minute maid again. You’ll start to feel a little like a bartender, and it’s fun to create. I love that my children prefer fresh over carton juice. My daughter loves orange juice, my son prefers apple. I mix in other fruits and vegetables like accessories: orange/strawberry/blueberry or apple/carrot/celery both make nice combinations. It’s fun for the kids to make up our own juice names like “grapple” or “pearple.” I can also throw in a handful of spinach or kale so I don’t have to worry about vegetables the rest of the day. You can make your own V8 and have the best Bloody Mary ever!
Another great thing is that nothing in my kitchen is wasted. Everything gets used or juiced; I literally “sweep the kitchen” into the juicer! I make small batches and we drink it immediately because juices don’t save well, plus the nutrients start to decline the longer it sits.
I like to dilute my juice with a little Pellegrino because it gives a zippy quality and is even more hydrating.
If you decide to invest in a juicer, I highly recommend the Breville . It’s durable, beautiful, fabulous accessory to your kitchen, and it’s Italian (è molto buono)!  Don’t wait to squeeze the juice out of уουr fruit and veggies and into your life. Remember, the only way to have a really great day is to get a really great start on it. Cheers or Cin cin!