May your Dreams Take Flight + Saint Martin Vacation Style

May your dreams take flight and flourish and may your hopes be limitless! I was initially on the fence about going on vacation. The cautious part of me said stay home and save your money because you have a baby coming in a few months. Then the other part of me said book the flight and take the babymoon/family vacation you deserve because you work hard and you've earned it. I'm glad I listened to myself and booked the trip because this vacation and the beautiful experiences my family and I had were so worth it. I took a week off from work and my responsibilities at home to just be, breathe, and luxuriate in Saint Martin. Travel is a luxury I love to enjoy, even if I don't do it as often as I'd like to. 

I am so grateful for this life God blesses me to live each day. This trip made me realize I want my life to feel different, and that is okay. It's okay to enjoy where you are and have a healthy desire for more goodness, abundance, and areas of change. In my experience, the life you want does not get handed to you. You have to work for it, pray for it, and manifest it. Working and praying for a goal or desire is a form of manifestation in my opinion. 

One of the biggest things I want to change is my relationship to work. I want more freedom, flexibility, and financial security for my family and I, and I believe it's possible because of the way God has consistently elevated my life over the past two years. So when I returned home from vacation, I sat down and made a vision board with personal goals and desires, as well as desires for my family. Then I prayed on those things, and I do so often. Something about writing down my vision for my life at this moment makes it feel more attainable. So as you walk through this week, remember that it's okay to enjoy where you are in life while having a healthy desire for more goodness, abundance and areas of change. 


I saw this Farm Rio dress months ago and fell in love with it but refused to pay full price! Then, I started planning my vacation and searched for it but it was so out. So I went hunting for it on Ebay and got it brand new for nearly half the price! I love this dress because its colorful, comfortable, and I can wear it during and after my pregnancy (although I won't be able to fit it too much longer because mama is still growing this baby). Have you ever found some gems on Ebay?

Bask in Your Blessings + Styling Spring Maxi Dresses

As you walk through this week, I hope you make room to bask in the beauty and joy of all your blessings. You don't have to strive to earn anything God has given you or is preparing to bless you with, just be yourself and walk confidently in your purpose. As a black woman who has now experienced two pregnancies while working full time, I've often felt extra pressure to prove myself. Being a mother doesn't stop me from showing up with excellence but it does impact how I choose to show up. I used to take pride in working myself to the point of exhaustion and then coming home to give my child and husband what's left of me. However, myself has shifted. This pregnancy is very different from my first one and has forced me to slow down and be more present for the people and experiences that money can't buy. 

One life change I've made this year was to release myself from the pressure to show up "perfectly" at the expense of my mental and physical health. I now use my vacation and PTO days regularly and pre-schedule random self-care days because rest is my right and I deserve it. Rest is your right as well, so I encourage you to examine your life and think about ways to make room for your wellness!

This dress is an old favorite of mine! I got it a few years ago from Forever 21 for around $40 if I recall correctly. I was immediately drawn to the colors and how this dress can be easily styled in warmer months as well as layered under a jacket on a fall day. This weekend was my first time styling this dress with my baby bump and I think it's the perfect fit! Maxi dresses are of those things that look great on multiple body types whether pregnant or not and I'm happy to be getting good maternity use out of a non-maternity dress.

The Beauty of Growing Pains: Pregnancy Update

I'm so happy to share that my little family is growing! This pregnancy coupled with the first quarter of 2022 pushed me to re-evaluate my life. When I found out I was pregnant, I was so excited. My husband and I have discussed growing our family and we knew we wanted Avery to have a sibling but we left the exact timing to God. I have many emotions with this pregnancy. I feel joy thinking about the life growing within me, I feel peace and gratitude to God knowing that we are more established financially this time than we were when I was pregnant with Avery, and I'm so excited for this new chapter in our family journey.

Despite all the amazing feelings I felt with this new blessing, the first trimester sucked and I feel no need to sugarcoat it. I dealt with nausea and fatigue almost every day between November and early February. I got to participate in some exciting projects at work during November, December, and part of January that were valuable to my career, but also left me feeling exhausted working through constant sickness. Every day I woke up hoping I would feel good only to quickly be greeted with nausea and bouts of vomiting. I wasn't depressed but feeling sick every day with no relief in sight had me feeling down. On top of that, work was extremely stressful during February. I was more stressed out and sleep-deprived during February than I have been in months. Juggling all the first trimester symptoms while pushing myself to perform at a high level at work was hard. PSA, give working moms grace because we are exhausted a lot even when we present like all is well. 

Feeling sick, the pressures of work, lack of sleep all while trying to show up the best way I could for my family was taking a toll on me. I barely found any time for myself during the work week. There was a point in time during 2020 when I felt overwhelmed and I remember my mom asking me, "Ashley, what can you put down?" So at the start of February, I decided to become more intentional about prioritizing my wellness wherever I could make space; I started a tradition of taking off the first Sunday of every month of work for my self-care, I decided to take a break from my beloved Instagram time after work because the hour and a half I was spending the app each day was better spent resting, sleeping and trying to nurture my body through the changes of pregnancy and stress of life. I made time to see close friends I had not seen since last year. I spent more time with God outside of the rushed prayers where I often found myself falling asleep while giving Him my list of requests. I got way more present with my son and found myself often giving in to his requests to sit on the floor and play. 

People-pleasing at the expense of my wellness is something I'm no longer interested in. My big act of self-love in March was resigning from a position I didn't have the bandwidth to perform. I wrestled with that decision for weeks and when I finally made my decision, I felt peace and immense relief. I got even more comfortable saying the word no without further explanation. Work became less stressful, the pregnancy-related sickness lifted and things started looking up. I'm excited for the newness of spring and the warmth this season will bring. I'm excited about continuing to show up in the ways that are best for me while honoring my boundaries. I'm excited about the plane tickets I booked to give my family and I a beautiful and restful vacation experience we have earned. I look forward to sharing more of this journey and my stories with you. Thank you to everyone who thought of me and/or reached out to me during my online absence and for being patient with me during this time. I love you all. Talk soon!

Never Settle for the Bare Minimum in Life or Style + Snakeskin Style

Don't settle for the bare minimum! As you walk through this week remember that you are worthy of the best life has to offer. Sometimes you are blessed with it due to no extra effort on your own part and sometimes you have to work for it. There are times when you only get the bare minimum out of a situation because you don't enter it situation expecting more, asking for more, or with a willingness to work for more. I call that operating from a place of lack instead of a place of abundance. If I decided to settle for the bare minimum alone this past week I would have: missed out on an incredible 7-course meal where I was able to network and spend time with some amazing people (I'm an introvert at heart so networking doesn't come naturally to me but I decided to step outside my comfort zone), missed out on an opportunity to negotiate the terms of a business deal I'm excited about, and I would have spent less quality time with my son. This list could go on and on but I want to make not settling for the bare minimum real to YOU in case you needed some motivation.

When you have an abundance mindset you understand that there is always room for more and more will always make room for you. Remember to be clear on your desires and expectations for yourself and the situations you find yourself in. You deserve way more than the bare minimum so don't settle for it ever in jobs and careers, relationships, your finances, etc.

While we're on the subject of not settling, I don't believe we should ever settle when it comes to the things we wear. Only wearing something one time because you think it only goes with one outfit is settling for the bare minimum in your style. Have fun with your style and if you really want to get the most boom for your buck, buy things that can be styled in a variety of ways. I have so much fun wearing this outfit because I did a monochromatic snakeskin look and this print is one of my favorite neutrals. When I first bought these boots last year, I envisioned wearing them with a bunch of solid neutrals but decided to have fun this time around and pair them with the same print! How do you style animal prints?

Top & Skirt - Zara (sold out) | Boots-Steve Madden | Shop this look below

Standout Sneaker Style + The Power of your Personality

As you walk through this week, stand confident in who you are. You have the power to bring light and color into every room and situation you walk into just by being yourself! There was a time when I was depressed three years ago and questioned that, especially in my career. But God has shown me over and over again in so many situations throughout the years that He has given me the perfect personality to make a positive difference. I know I use career stories a lot and that's because God has taught me so much about me, Him, His power, and the power He has equipped me with throughout my 6.5 year career. Feel feel to read my promotion story from this year to understand more and be encouraged. 

Okay, let's get back to discussing the power of personality! So about a week and a half ago, I got a message from my director (my boss's boss's boss) to do a short-term assignment. I never saw this assignment coming and definitely never thought I would have the opportunity to do that kind of work, but that's just how blessings work sometimes. When we're busy staying in our lane and minding our business, God decides to bless us with an opportunity to use the skills we already possess. This role allows me to do something I absolutely love so even though it's work, it doesn't feel like work. It really feels like walking in purpose. 

The coolest thing about this assignment is that it allows me to do something I love and have a passion for, connecting with people. When my director and later my senior manager shared why I was chosen for the opportunity they both said my personality and the unique skills I possess. WOW! When they told me that I had to pause and thank God because I prayed for this moment. No, I didn't pray for this specific opportunity, but I did pray for God to allow me to find favor with my superiors, all whom I need to excel and to enlarge my territory. The answer is this temporary assignment. Now, it comes with its fair share of challenges but I know God has placed me there for such a time as this. If God can give a self-proclaimed introvert like me the gift of forming meaningful connections with people and guiding them to see their power and strengths, just imagine what God can do for you!

Now let's talk style! I don't buy sneakers often, but when I do they must be cute and comfortable because shoes are meant for walking! The Nike Dunk Cashmere "Lemon Twist" sneakers are the first pair of dunks I've gotten since high school and I think I'm in love with them lol. When it comes to buying new shoes, one of my main deciding factors is can they be styled with multiple things I already own. Well, these dunks definitely can and that's one of the reasons I'm so excited about them. As you can see, they are the perfect shoe to bring these cream Target sweatpants, sweatshirt, and pink Banana Republic coat together for an easy, comfortable and casual fall/winter look. 

Sweatpants-Target | Sweatshirt-Target | Coat-Banana Republic (old) | Sneakers-Nike sold out but available brand new at Farfetch and StockX

Pink Power Suit + Preparing to Slay Your Battles

Every woman needs some clothes that make her feel powerful, and sometimes a pink suit is the set of clothes to handle the powerful assignment. Needless to say, this suit makes me feel powerful and my favorite aspect of the suit is that the blazer also doubles as a dress. I'm so glad the blazer is long because I have gained a few pounds since I bought this suit early last year when I was a few pounds lighter and definitely ripped the pants while putting them on! Shop my favorite pink power blazers and pants below!

As you walk through this week, remember that batters are won through strategy, not by surprise. So sit down, create a plan, execute your plan and prepare to win! When setbacks and detours come your way, learn to pivot and pace yourself, not quit. If you quit when times get hard, you'll never know all that you are truly capable of.  You may be feeling pressure like you need to do the most because we're in the final quarter of 2021 but remember that constant striving will leave you feeling exhausted and unfulfilled. Take some time this week to reflect on your goals and create a plan to achieve them if you have not done so already. 

I want to encourage you to get more attached to the process of accomplishing your goals than timelines because not achieving something by a certain timeline can be discouraging and downright depressing at times if we're being 100% honest. But one thing I have learned on my journey over the past three years is that our timelines are no match for God's timelines. Sometimes our goals don't happen when we want them because we need to develop in some or many areas first. I felt like I waited too long for my first promotion when I was in my waiting season, but the skills I learned during the period of waiting propelled me so far in my career and led me to my second promotion a year later. So trust your process and the things it's teaching you!

Shop the look here:

Styling Snakeskin Boots + Embracing Change

One of my favorite thing to wear in the fall is boots and these snakeskin boots are the perfect pair to instantly elevate any outfit! I actually got them on sale in Macy's last year for around $50 and I've loved them ever since. Not only are these Steve Madden boots comfortable, they are also functional because of the neutral print. I opted to style these with a utility shirt dress from Pretty Little Thing and Green sunglasses from Asos. How would you style these boots? I linked a few of my favorite pairs below.

Now let's talk about change. If you follow me on Instagram, then you know my post on Monday was all about change and it said: As you walk through this week, remember that you are allowed to embrace change, evolve and grow. You are allowed to change your mindset. you are allowed to adjust or reinstate new boundaries. You are allowed to exit your comfort zone. You are allowed to do whatever you need to do to live your best life. Personally changing my mindset has been one of the biggest things that allowed God to elevate my life and has brought me so much peace and happiness this year. Now what I do not like is when I have no control over the changes that occur in my life. 

Like most people, I like to have control over my life and one of my favorite things about adulthood is that control. So you can imagine how I felt this week when my senior regional manager at work informed me that he decided to make a regional schedule change that would require myself and all the other operations managers at my level to work the night shift. I understood the assignment and that he was making the change because he understands my gift and talent to create positive change and improve processes but I felt so crushed. I've been off of the night shift since August and it had felt SO GOOD to actually eat dinner with my family every night, have bathtime and bedtime stories with my son, and to actually sleep in my bed at night. Like not working nights has brought my family so much in this season. But then I had to remind myself that God has not brought me this far to leave me and I choose to believe this change will be temporary. Sure it may complicate my personal life and limit the time I spend with my son during the work week but I have faith to believe that it's also a setup for a blessing.

Get the look: